Angelina Jolie, Jewelry Line

Courtesy of REUTERS/Fred Prouser

Angelina Jolie's announcement that she underwent a double mastectomy has brought an awareness to cancer and women's health that can't be measured in numbers.

Her courage to go public has everyone thinking—and talking.

This certainly isn't the first time Jolie has used her celebrity platform to help change the world. From the Jolie-Pitt Foundation to her work with UNHCR, Jolie's impact is felt here in the U.S. and abroad.

Here, we shine a light on just some of Jolie's activism and philanthropic work.

Women's and Children's Rights: Most recently, Jolie donated $200,000 to 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai's fund to promote women's rights to education in Pakistan after the teen survived a brutal attack by the Taliban that included getting shot in the head. At about the same time, Jolie announced she has opened an all-girls primary school in Afghanistan outside of Kabul. Profits from her jewelry collection, the Style of Jolie, will go to build more schools around the world.

Animal Endeavors: After spending Christmas at the N/a'an ku se Sanctuary's wildlife lodge in daughter Shiloh's birth country of Nambia, Jolie and Pitt pledged a whopping $2 million to support the animal group's work supporting land conservation and the protection of wildlife in the area.

Disaster Relief: Jolie and Pitt gave $500,000 to help rebuild the town of Joplin in Pitt's home state of Missouri after 30 percent of the buildings were destroyed and 150 people were killed by a tornado in 2011. The couple also donated $1 million to help earthquake relief efforts in Haiti and hosted a charity dinner in the tony Hamptons to raise funds for victims still in need of housing two years after Hurricane Katrina.

Gay Rights: Jolie and Pitt have said they wouldn't marry until everyone is allowed to wed in the U.S. While the lovebirds seemed to have had a change of heart when they announcement their engagement a little over a year ago, at least one gay rights group supported their wishes, arguing that getting hitched doesn't lessen their support for marriage equality.

Refugee Aid: Jolie has visited dozens of countries and refugee camps since she began working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 2001. Villa Angelina, a U.S.-funded apartment building named after Jolie, opened about two years ago in Rogatica, Bosnia for refugees of the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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