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Last-minute donations: where the stars are giving this season

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We know everyone gets tired of hearing celebs promote one cause or another, but come on, this time of year it’s for the kids! Education and charities that promote children’s causes are at the top of many stars’ wish lists this year. If you’re anything like me, you’ve waited until the last minute to write those tax-deductible checks, so here are some worthy foundations that just happen to have some do-gooder friends in high places, plus a few celebs who are donating their wares to some great organizations. Like I said, it’s for the kids!!

Pencils of Promise: Pencils of Promise’s mission is to build schools around the world. So far, the organization has completed over 30 new buildings in the developing world. To raise funds this season, they are holding an auction of artwork from celebrities including Hugh Jackman, Jaden Smith, and Mariah Carey.

Actress Sophia Bush has volunteered in Laos with the organization, and told EW, “I’m thrilled by the commitments each village makes before construction begins, as it creates pride in the school with community investment.”

Bush also shared that she’s well aware being a celebrity doesn’t mean people will automatically support what she supports. “Not everyone who follows me on Twitter cares about education. Not everyone cares about cancer. Or the environment. But everyone cares about something! And it’s my goal to find a lot of those ‘something’s’ and put the information out there.”

DonorsChoose: Closer to home, DonorsChoose allows teachers to post projects that they need donations to complete in their classrooms and you can then donate to a specific school or classroom. John Legend has been extremely active in helping get more music into schools and even tweeted about a donation he made to DonorsChoose this week:

“Thx 2 @WassermanFDN just donated percussion instruments to Mr. Medina’s class. Make some music! #DonorsChooseLA http://bit.ly/w57vOD

Legend’s own ShowMe campaign helps disadvantaged communities use education to fight poverty.

Downloadable Charity: Some musicians are donating download fees of their music to charity this season, so you can get some tunes and do good at the same time.

Cat Power just released a single called “King Rides By,” featuring boxer Manny Pacquiao. You can donate any amount from 99 cents upwards and the proceeds will go to the Festival of Children Foundation, which supports kids’ charities, and the Ali Forney Center, which helps gay and lesbian teens. The video is pretty awesome and the song is definitely iPod-worthy.

Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga topped the DoSomething.org celebrity do-gooder list this year, so it’s no surprise that they each have planned to donate a portion of the proceeds from their work this season to charity. Bieber is donating some of the money from his holiday album Under the Mistletoe to causes like the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Pencils of Promise, and the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Gaga’s experimental showcase at Barneys New York, Gaga’s Workshop, will donate 25 percent of its earnings to her new cause, the Born This Way Foundation.

Have you made your donations for 2011? Do stars’ giving habits ever influence your own?

Follow Laura on Twitter @laurahertzfeld

Read more:

Go inside Gaga’s Workshop

Justin Bieber ‘Mistletoe’ video debuts

Demi Levato performs at VH1 ‘Do Something’ awards

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