Clara Lionel Foundation

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Clara Lionel Foundation
Type501(c)3 organization

The Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF) is an American nonprofit organization founded in 2012 by singer Rihanna, to benefit impoverished communities across the globe, with healthcare, and education, among other various programs.[1][2]


Rihanna founded the Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF) in 2012, in honor of her grandparents, Clara and Lionel Braithwaite. Programs include the Clara Braithwaite Center for Oncology and Nuclear Medicine at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Barbados, and education programs.[3][4] The foundation was set up in order to reach "across borders to fight together for basic rights to education and health." The foundation supports and funds innovative and effective education and health programs around the world, aiming to improve the quality of life for young people everywhere.[5]



I feel strongly that all children everywhere should be afforded the opportunity of a quality education, therefore I'm proud to announce Clara Lionel Foundation's partnership with education advocacy leaders like the Global Partnership for Education and Global Citizen. Working together, I know we can amplify our efforts and ensure that millions of children gain access to education globally.

 — Rihanna, discussing the Clara Lionel Foundation's partnership with the Global Partnership for Education[6]

In September 2016, the Clara Lionel Foundation has partnered up with Global Partnership for Education and Global Citizen on a multi-year initiative to support education across the world. Through this push, Rihanna hoped to advocate for more than a quarter of a billion children who are not currently in school as well as about 330 million students who aren't learning in the schools they're in. As GPE's new Global Ambassador, Rihanna aimed to reach more than 60 developing countries, prioritizing those with the most need, including children in conflict and crisis areas.[7]

In early May 2016, Rihanna announced a scholarship program through the Clara Lionel Foundation, that will award students attending college in the United States. The scholarship is need-based, with scholarships ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 and may be renewed for up to three more years or until they earn their bachelor's degree. The only requirements for eligibility were that applicants have been accepted into a bachelor's degree program at an accredited four-year U.S. college or university for the 2016-17 year and that they are residents of either Barbados, Brazil, Cuba, Haiti, Guyana, Jamaica, or the U.S. Speaking to USA Today College Rihanna stated, "To be able to give the gift of an education is actually an honor, higher education will help provide perspective, opportunities and learning to a group of kids who really deserve it. I am thrilled to be able to do this."[8][9]

In January 2017, Rihanna visited Malawi, an impoverished southeast African country, along with the foundation, where she met with educators, government officials and students. Eight months later in August, Rihanna announced a partnership with bike-share platform ofo to fund scholarships for girls in Malawi through the foundation's Global Scholarship Program, as well as donate bikes to those students to relieve transportation challenges in getting to class. The first batch of ofo bikes had already been put into use in Malawi, starting the five-year partnership.[10]

Other Partnerships[edit]

On February 28, 2017 fashion house Dior announced it would be partnering with Rihanna's organization, The Clara Lionel Foundation. Dior will be donating a percentage of proceeds from each "We Should All Be Feminists" t-shirt – made famous on their Spring 2017 runway and by Rihanna's social media – to the foundation. The t-shirts were made available in all Dior retail boutiques worldwide for fourteen days.[11]

On May 5, 2017 it was announced that Rihanna would be teaming up with the Parsons School of Design, one the world's leading art and design schools, Donna Karan and her Urban Zen Foundation, and Haitian artisans to develop a merchandise line. The new collection will be a collaborative effort between Parsons design students and local artisans at the Design, Organization, Training Center in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Alison Mears, director of the Healthy Materials Lab at Parsons, stated that the school "are ecstatic that students will have the opportunity to work with and develop a merchandise line for Rihanna's Clara Lionel Foundation, that, like Parsons, shares a strong commitment to creating positive social change. Through this partnership with Donna Karan and Urban Zen, students will live Parsons' mission, taking a multidisciplinary collaborative approach and utilizing local sustainable practices and healthier materials to create products that benefit Haiti and the Clara Lionel Foundation."[12]

Diamond Ball[edit]

The inaugural Diamond Ball was held in December 2014 at The Vineyard in Beverly Hills, California, and included performances by Rihanna and guest speech from Brad Pitt. In December 2015, Rihanna held her second annual Diamond Ball at Santa Monica Airport's Barker Hangar. The Ball was hosted by Kevin Hart and included performances from singer Lionel Richie. The ball went on to raise $3 million in order to help those in need through health, education, arts and culture.[13]

The third Diamond Ball was held in New York City at Cipriani Wall Street on September 14, 2017. In a press release, Rihanna stated "New York always offers the perfect backdrop for an amazing event, which is why I am thrilled to have Diamond Ball there. It's a great way to celebrate the Clara Lionel Foundation's accomplishments as well as bring awareness to our mission globally."[14] The ball featured appearances from Kendrick Lamar, Dave Chappelle, and—via video link, Barack Obama. In his speech, Obama thanked Rihanna for her philanthropic work, which included the ball itself—an auction including personalized items from Rihanna, JAY-Z, and others.[15] The fourth Diamond Ball was held in September 2018 with a fifth planned for September 2019.


In February 2017, Rihanna was named Harvard University's "Humanitarian of the Year" by the Harvard Foundation.[16]


  1. ^ Barsamian, Edward (November 25, 2015). "Rihanna's Clara Lionel Foundation Heats Up With a Paddle8 Auction". Vogue. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
  2. ^ Doggett, Jolie (November 6, 2014). "Rihanna Announces First Annual Diamond Ball For Clara Lionel Foundation". Essence. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
  3. ^ "Mission / Vision of CLF". Archived from the original on May 1, 2016. Retrieved April 21, 2016.
  4. ^ "Rihanna Donates $1.75 Million to Barbados Hospital in Honor of Her Late Grandma". E!. Retrieved April 21, 2016.
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  16. ^ "Rihanna named Humanitarian of Year". Harvard Gazette.