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When away from the public eye and the rigors of performing, Beyoncé has revealed herself to be a quiet humanitarian at heart. She often visits orphanages and children's hospitals to spend time with those in need. And on her tours she works extensively with the Kids Wish Network and Make a Wish Foundation, granting the wishes of sick fans who receive special time with her prior to her performances.

In 2001, along with Destiny's Child, Beyoncé supported The Candie's Foundation, which raises awareness about teen pregnancy in the United States, and performed at a special benefit concert. She also performed at the 2004 Carousel of Hope Gala to benefit the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes, the country's leading care and research center for type 1 diabetes, and at the Entertainment Industry Foundation's Colon Cancer Benefit. The following year, she joined Bono on-stage at Greenpoint Stadium in Capetown as part of Nelson Mandela's 46664 initiative to treat and eradicate HIV/AIDS in South Africa.

With the motto, "Where There's A Will, We Help Make A Way," Beyoncé along with her family formed the Survivor Foundation in 2005, a charitable entity initially set up to provide transitional housing for Hurricane Katrina victims. The Survivor Foundation is an organization designed to assist displaced persons whose lives have been affected by disasters, natural or otherwise. The foundation also provides assistance to children and to those suffering from AIDS. The Survivor Foundation extends the philanthropic mission of the Knowles-Rowland Youth Center, a multi-purpose community outreach facility in downtown Houston. Beyoncé also walked the runway at the Fashion for Relief fashion show, with proceeds going to aid Hurricane Katrina victims. Additionally, she donated $100,000 to the Gulf Coast Ike Relief Fund, which benefits victims of Hurricane Ike in the Houston area. She organized a fund raising benefit for Hurricane Ike relief through the Survivor Foundation.

Along with her Destiny's Child bandmates, Beyoncé was a global ambassador for The Ronald McDonald House Charities in 2005, visiting Ronald McDonald Houses all over the world, to provide support and hope to terminally ill children. In addition to this, part of the proceeds from Destiny's Child ticket sales went directly to the Ronald McDonald House Charities. The same year, Love Our Children USA held an online auction to celebrate the second annual Love Our Children Day and raise money for programs to protect children. Beyoncé donated a signed photo of her for the auction. Destiny's Child also lent their voices and support for the 2005 World Children's Day, an event which takes place annually around the world on November 20 to raise awareness and funds for children's causes worldwide. Their song "Stand Up for Love" served as the anthem of the day.

In celebration of the launch of her fashion brand, House of Deréon, Beyoncé auctioned off her iconic dresses and costumes from her most memorable video, television and film appearances raising over $75,000 to help VH1 Save The Music Foundation fund three instrumental music education programs in public schools. She also appeared in a PSA for the foundation, speaking about the importance of music education. The same year, she donated a handbag to an auction benefiting Women's Fund for Scotland and partnered with Clothes Off Our Back, an organization that auctions off celebrity clothing with proceeds going to benefit children's charities.

During several stops on The Beyoncé Experience Tour in 2007, Beyoncé conducted food drives in conjunction with Pastor Rudy Rasmus, Capital Area Food Bank, and the Survivor Foundation. Also in 2007, a unique pair of Beyoncé's House of Deréon diamond-studded jeans, specially made and signed by the singer, was auctioned off at the Musicians on Call Benefit Concert. On behalf of House of Deréon, Bee also designed a special lunchbox for the 2007 Lunchbox Fund auction to benefit the New York City Food Bank.

On October 4, 2008, Beyoncé attended the Miami Children's Hospital Diamond Ball & Private Concert at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, where she was inducted into the International Pediatric Hall of Fame for her contributions to the betterment of children through the Survivor Foundation. Seven-year-old Ethan Bortnick dedicated and performed "Over the Rainbow" to her.

After completing work on Cadillac Records (2008), Beyoncé donated her entire salary to Phoenix House, an organization of rehabilitation centers around the country. She visited a Brooklyn, New York site in preparation for portraying singer Etta James, who was once addicted to heroin. During this time, she recorded with other artists "Just Stand Up!", a charity single for the Stand Up to Cancer charity. Joining Bee on the song were Mariah Carey, Leona Lewis, Rihanna, LeAnn Rimes and Mary J. Blige, among others.

Beyoncé showed her support for The Samburu Project, an organization that provides clean drinking water and community empowerment to the families of the Samburu District in Kenya, when she was spotted wearing a Samburu Hope Tee at the LAX International Airport on January 25th, 2009. In February, Bee contributed an autographed iPod loaded with her personal playlist to be auctioned off by Tonic, with all proceeds benefiting Music Rising, a campaign founded in 2005 to replace lost or destroyed instruments of musicians in the Gulf Coast Region after the hurricane disasters.

On the North American leg of her I Am... World Tour, Beyoncé sponsored food drives as part of the Show Your Helping Hand initiative, a national hunger relief campaign created by General Mills in partnership with Beyoncé and her Survivor Foundation. The campaign helped Feeding America's goal of delivering more than 3.5 million meals to local food banks.

In January 2010, Beyoncé lent her voice as a performer on "Hope For Haiti," the live telethon organized by actor George Clooney and MTV just days after a massive earthquake violently shook the island nation. She was named the official face of the limited edition "Fashion For Haiti" T-shirt by the Council of Fashion Designers of America. The shirt, which reads: "To Haiti With Love", was designed by Peter Arnell and benefited the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. Around that time, Artists for Peace and Justice, an organization created to address issues of poverty around the world, especially in Haiti, held a charity auction featuring, among others, a Gibson Guitar from the Grammy Awards signed by Beyoncé and other celebrities. Bee also made a generous personal donation to aid the relief efforts in Haiti and joined forces with the Cultural Diversity Network to auction off a pair of her I Am... Tour shoes.

On March 5, 2010, Beyoncé opened the Beyoncé Cosmetology Center at Phoenix House Career Academy in Brooklyn, New York. The Cosmetology Center offers a seven-month cosmetology training course helping former addicts gain the career skills they need to lead productive, rewarding lives in recovery. Additionally, Bee has pledged to donate $100,000 annually to the center. Also in 2010, she donated a House of Deréon dress along with a necklace from her personal collection and a framed image to the Oxfam Curiosity Shop, a charity pop-up shop benefiting Oxfam's women's projects across the world.

In April 2011, she joined forces with US First Lady Michelle Obama and the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation to help boost her campaign against child obesity. Beyoncé reworked her single "Get Me Bodied" and renamed it to "Move Your Body" for the Let's Move! Flash Workout initiative. She released a music video of her version of the exercise routine for the song. Following the death of Osama bin Laden, Bee released a charity single titled "God Bless the USA", to help raise funds for the New York Police and Fire Widows' and Children's Benefit Fund.

On July 27, 2012, it was announced that Beyoncé would become an ambassador for the 2012 World Humanitarian Day campaign, and that she would be donating her song "I Was Here" and its music video to the campaign. The campaign asked people around the world to pledge to help another person on World Humanitarian Day. The music video for "I Was Here" was directed by Kenzo Digital and Sophie Muller, and filmed in front of a live audience at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. On August 19, Knowles helped the campaign make social media history as more than one billion messages were shared at the same time in relation to the event.