The Heartwarming Reason Beyoncé Donated Her Entire ‘Cadillac Records’ Salary to Charity

It’s no secret that Beyoncé often donates to charity. Since she was a child, the singer’s been admired for her philanthropical work and contributions to the betterment of society. Today, she’s known as one of the most charitable celebrities in the industry — donating millions of dollars to various causes and organizations each year.

Though Beyoncé’s made many generous donations throughout her career, one of her greatest contributions to date is when she gifted her entire Cadillac Records salary to a rehabilitation center for recovering drug addicts.

Beyoncé
Beyoncé | Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Beyoncé donated $4 million to Phoenix House

Oprah may still be the most charitable celebrity – by a huge margin — but Beyoncé isn’t too far behind her.

Throughout the years, the “Halo” singer has made some incredibly generous donations to various foundations, including Feeding America, The Housten Food Bank, and National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation.

While she has quite a long history of giving back to those less fortunate, a few of Bey’s philanthropic acts stand out from the rest.

One contribution in particular that showed the world just how giving Beyoncé really is was when she donated her $4 million Cadillac Records salary to a drug treatment center.

In the 2009 biographical drama, Beyoncé played Etta James, the blues and soul singer who was continuously in out of rehab during the early 70s for her heroin addiction.

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While prepping to play the well-known singer, Bey spent two weeks at Phoenix House, a rehabilitation center that runs 98 residential and outpatient rehab programs throughout the United States and treats over 5,000 drug addicts a day.

During that time, the Grammy winner was able to meet with female patients, who’s personal stories really touched her heart.

“Through their stories, I realized that all of us have our personal struggles and we all have something to overcome,” the singer said at the opening of Beyoncé Cosmetology Center at Phoenix House Career Academy in Brooklyn in 2010. “Drug addiction… has a stigma that must be removed. Addiction is a disease and these beautiful women I met did not choose to become addicts, but they have chosen to get better.”

Beyoncé gives to causes that move her

After raking in a healthy paycheck from Cadillac Records, Beyoncé decided not to keep all of the money for herself.

Instead, she donated her entire $4 million salary to Phoenix House.

Beyoncé and her mother, Tina Knowles-Lawson, even created an affiliated cosmetology school that offers Phoenix House residents a seven-month training program to learn real-world skills.

Beyoncé
Beyoncé and her mom Tina Knowles| Heidi Gutman/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

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“The first sign of recovery is caring about your appearance,” Bey said during the center’s opening. “And hopefully, this Center will be a place that will change lots of lives every year.”

Though Beyoncé is known for giving back to the community, she became enthralled with the rehab facility and wanted to help as many women as possible.

“‘[Beyoncé’s] incredibly generous gesture to Phoenix House comes as no big surprise to those close to her,” a source told The Daily Star (via Marie Claire) in 2009. “Without fanfare or publicity of any kind she has quietly given away millions to causes that move her. I don’t think she’s ever before given away such a large amount to one organization but she clearly believes that many people, possibly thousands, would die without their help.

The insider added, “Beyoncé has acted, like she always does, from the heart and if she’s helped save even one life over Christmas she’ll consider every last cent well spent.”