Singer-songwriter Carrie Underwood has two dogs — Ace and Penny, both chihuahua mixes — that she rescued through adoption. But these aren’t the only pups who now have a place to call home because of the country superstar.
In 2009, she also opened an animal shelter in her hometown of Checotah, Oklahoma, so that more dogs can be rescued and more families can find joy.
This is the shape that Underwood’s philanthropy and advocacy has taken over the years. She walks the walk by donating and helping out in her own capacity, but then she also scales this generosity through community investments.
The dog shelter is a project of her hometown charity Checotah Animal, Home, and School, known as the CATS Foundation, which invests in the community and helps kids and their families achieve their goals.
“My hometown is extremely supportive of me and I feel blessed to be able to create something as a way of giving back; to say thank you,” said Underwood, following the shelter’s construction.
Underwood is one of the most celebrated and beloved stars in recent country music history. She has sold more than 70 million albums over more than a decade of production.
Now she’s bringing her artistic gravitas and her open-hearted worldview to Global Citizen Prize — having previously performed during the Global Citizen Festival in New York City’s Central Park in 2014 — where she’ll be performing alongside artists such as Alessia Cara, Common, Gwen Stefani, John Legend, JoJo, and Tori Kelly to help honor 2020’s most inspirational activists and leaders who are working to achieve the United Nations’ Global Goals.
The award ceremony — which will broadcast and stream around the world from Dec. 19 — will showcase these figures and spur people around the world to take action. And Underwood’s own activism and philanthropy sets an example that viewers can follow.
The American Idol winner supports an estimated 25 different charities, including Red Cross, PETA, Habitat for Humanity, the Humane Society, and Music for Relief, according to the celebrity philanthropy website Look to the Stars.
In 2018, she helped raise $600,000 for Danita’s Children, an organization based in Haiti that improves education opportunities for children.
Education is an issue that’s close to Underwood’s heart.
In 2012, she also donated $350,000 to schools in Checotah and, earlier this year, she donated another $100,000 to the school district to help students get supplies during COVID-19. The country singer has also supported college scholarships.
Local initiatives in general are a primary focus on Underwood. When tornados devastated part of Oklahoma in 2013, she donated $1 million to relief efforts. Meanwhile, she’s also a steadfast advocate for women’s rights.
Her approach to advocacy bleeds into her music as well. In her hit song “Change,” Underwood sings about people taking action in their own lives.
"This is a world so big it can break your heart," she told the Los Angeles Philharmonic, referencing a lyric in the song. "It just seems like there are so many problems. What do you do? Where do you start? Well, there are opportunities every day, so many things around you where you can make a difference. Sometimes it's the smallest thing — the person in this song had just 36 cents, you know? — and I'm really anticipating being able to do some good with this song."
Later in the interview, Underwood summed up her attitude on improving the world.
"Everybody has the power to do something, to be a contributing force," she says. "And I would rather people look back on my life and say, 'She made the world a better place’. We can all do things like that, and I believe that when opportunities arise for you to do good, you should do good."
Join Global Citizen in December 2020 to celebrate the leaders among us who have stepped up against a backdrop of unprecedented global challenges to take action for the world we want — a world that is fair, just, and equal.
The broadcast and digitally streamed award ceremony will also feature inspirational stories of human strength and unforgettable performances that will bring together artists, activists, and global leaders to remind each of us that, together, we will come out of this year stronger. Find out more about the Global Citizen Prize here.