Cher at an amfAR event, 2015
Beginning in 1990, Cher served as a donor and as the National Chairperson and Honorary Spokesperson for the Children‘s Craniofacial Association, whose mission is to “empower and give hope to facially disfigured children and their families“. The annual Cher‘s Family Retreat is held each June to provide cranio facial patients, their siblings and parents an opportunity to interact with others who have endured similar experiences. She supports and promotes Get A-Head Charitable Trust, which aims to improve the quality of life for people with head and neck diseases.
Cher is a donor, fundraiser, and international spokesperson for Keep a ChildAlive, an organization that seeks to accelerate action to combat the AIDS pandemic, including the provision of antiretroviral medicine to children and their families with HIV/AIDS. In 1996, she hosted the American Foundation for AIDS Research(am fAR) Benefit alongside Elizabeth Taylor at the Cannes Film Festival. In 2015, she received the am fAR Award of Inspiration for “her willingness and ability to use her fame for the greater good“ and for being “one of the great champions in the fight against AIDS“.
Cher has been a vocal supporter of American soldiers and returning veterans. She has contributed resources to Operation Helmet, an organization that provides free helmet upgrade kits to troops in Iraqand Afghanistan. She has contributed to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, which serves military personnel who have been disabled in operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and those severely injured in other operations. In 1993, she participated in a humanitarian effort in Armenia, taking food and medical supplies to the war-torn region.
Cher has engaged in the construction of houses with Habitat for Humanity and served as the Honorary National Chair of a Habitat‘s elimination of poverty housing initiative “Raise the Roof“, an effort to engage artists in the organization‘s work while on tour.
In 2007, Cher became the primary supporter of the Peace Village School (PVS) in Ukunda, Kenya, which “provides nutritious food, medical care, education and extracurricular activities for more than 300 orphans and vulnerable children, ages 2 to 13 years.“ Her support enabled the school to acquire land and build permanent housing and school facilities, and in partnership with Malaria No More and other organizations, she piloted an effort to eliminate malaria mortality and morbidity for the children, their caregivers and the surrounding community.
In 2016, after the discovery of lead contamination in the drinking water of Flint,Michigan, Cher donated more than 180,000 bottles of water to the city as part of a partnership with Icelandic Glacial.
Cher‘s older child, Chaz Bono (born Chastity Bono), first came out as a lesbian at age 17, which reportedly caused Cher to feel “guilt, fear and pain“. However, she soon came to accept Chaz‘s sexual orientation, and came to the conclusion that LGBT people “didn’t have the same rights as everyone else, and she thought that was unfair“. She was the keynote speaker for the 1997 national Parents, Families, & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) convention, and has since become one of the LGBT community‘s most vocal advocates. In May 1998, she received the GLAAD Vanguard Award for having “made a significant difference in promoting equal rights for lesbians and gay men“. On June 11,2009, Chaz came out as a transgender man, and his transition from female to malewas legally finalized on May 6, 2010.