George Clooney may have gotten the latest award for it, but he's not the only Hollywood star who's been putting his money (and celebrity) where his mouth is.
And while there's no arguing that Sandra Bullock has been through the roughest of years (Elin Nordegren notwithstanding), she's nevertheless found the time and strength to use her celebrity to put some much-needed positivity back into the world.
Of course, having her newly adopted "little Cajun cookie" along for the ride made it all the more worthwhile.
In a sitdown set to air on the Today show tomorrow morning, Bullock chatted up Matt Lauer to discuss her landmark year, ostensibly to discuss her work with New Orleans' Warren Easton Charter High School and the opening of the school's new on-campus health clinic, but also to discuss the inevitable lingering questions about her well-chronicled year.
Of her work with the school, Sandra said that it was she who actively sought out participating in its rebuilding and came to the party well-researched in the behind-the-scenes goings-on…all because she'd been burned by her goodwill before.
"I'd had some experiences where you give money, and there's no accounting for it," she said. "If someone can't tell you where every dime went—and every dime should go to the cause—that pisses me off. And I did my homework."
Although giving and helping raise money wasn't her only job description.
"I was a cheerleader," she said of her enthusiasm and passion for the project. "Not a very good one in high school, but I did my best.
"I don't know why I was always drawn to this city…I just have been coming here for so long when this hit"—this being Hurricane Katrina, which left its devastating mark five years ago yesterday—"I though, 'Gosh, I've taken away so much from this city.'"
Meeting those in charge of the school and getting ignited by their own passion for the project, Bullock joined forces in an attempt to right at least one wrong.
"They did it with such power and love and integrity," she said. "Integrity. There's so much integrity here. And I've never been around that much integrity."
Particularly not in the past year.
The topic of conversation inevitably rolled around to Bullock's recent personal travails, including the highlight of the past few months, the finalization of her adoption of son Louis.
"He's from New Orleans," she beamed. "He's a little Cajun cookie.
"It felt like it was time, you know?" she said of the long adoption process, which she made clear she did not circumvent. "I wanted to do everything exactly the same way everyone else did."
Bullock said that throughout the process, she didn't care if her child was a boy or girl, black or white or even if it was perfectly healthy. She just had faith that whatever child she received was the one she was meant to parent.
"I think everything works out the way the universe wants it to work out. And—and we—we had always said that it didn't matter where the child came from. If they had issues that were medical issues, we didn't care. It's like the child that needed us in the home is the child that's going to be placed."
And yes, she said we.
Speaking of Jesse James, that glib Lauer did in fact go there, albeit not all the way, instead easing her into the topic by complimenting Bullock on how she had managed to keep the adoption private despite the whirlwind of unwanted publicity she received earlier this year.
"It takes—it takes good people with integrity," she said. "I mean, I read something like, how did someone keep a secret, and it's—you know—human beings exist that have integrity that know how to keep their mouth shut. That know the bigger picture, that don't sell out their friends." Ahem.
"Those people are all over the place. But again, we don't like to talk about it, because it doesn't sell a magazine.
"And you know, it—everything passes. It all passes."
And it passes a lot quicker thanks to the quality people she now has in her life.
"I have friends and family that are filled with massive amounts of integrity. And it shouldn't be an oddity." And hopefully from now on, for Bullock, it won't be.