Robin Williams Once Secretly Donated $50K to a Food Bank

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

While he was known as one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, Robin Williams was also one of the most charitable actors as well. Prior to his death in 2014, the Patch Adams star raised $50,000 for a food bank in Seattle.

According to Upworthy, Robin Williams secretly donated the $50,000 without ever seeking recognition for his generosity. Executive Director of the Seattle Food Bank, Fran Yeatts, revealed to USA Today that the actor performed shows in 2007 and 2008 to raise the funds for the organization.

Robin Williams is the type of person who “really understands there are a lot of people who are really, really struggling,” Yeatts stated at the time. One of the food banks volunteers, Bill Bacon, also shared with the media outlet, “In spite of the problems that some people have, they can still aspire to great things. I think Robin Williams is a classic example of that.”

Robin Williams’ charitable attitude also inspired others. Another volunteer at the Seattle Food Bank, Aaron Ellis, told USA Today that he met the late actor backstage at the Showbox. Much like Williams, Ellis had struggled with depression and addiction. He stated that it was Williams’ humanity, his willingness to share details about his shortcomings. And being a reliable human that inspired Ellis to even fight his own demons. 

Ellis further revealed that he was sober one decade after his conversation with Robin Williams. “He said it was an honor for him to be able to do these things, to give back,” Ellis reflected. “That meant the world to me. It solidified my sobriety to this day.”

Robin Williams Was Known For His Charity Work

Along with his generosity and career success, Robin Williams also was known for his charity work. According to LA Times, the late actor worked with various non-profit organizations through the years. This includes Comic Relief; the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation; the LiveStrong Foundation; and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. 

While discussing Robin Williams’ charity work with the media outlet, DreamWorks Animation Chief Executive Jeffrey Katzenberg stated, “There were so many times and so many things he did for so many people. He really had just a giant heart and that’s what makes me so sad.”

Bob Zmuda, the creator of Comic Relief, also shared with the LA Times that Robin Williams teamed up with Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg to host TV specials for the organization so that money could go to America’s homeless. “When we started [Comic Relief], we had to figure out what would be a suitable cause,” Zmuda explained. “Nobody was more adamant than Robin that it should help the homeless.”