Ryan Leslie: Paying It Forward

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Growing up the son of Salvation Army officers, I learned very early on that true value is created when you are in the service of others. For as long as I can remember, every Thanksgiving and Christmas I’ve spent at home has been shared with an extended family made up of those in the community that turned to The Salvation Army for encouragement and support.

As early as 14, I began volunteering in Salvation Army sponsored programs – from tutoring youth to traveling as a musical ambassador on missionary service in Asia. My parents, like my grandparents before them, continue to serve.

The Salvation Army
Fuck Cancer
All As One
New York University

After years of deliberate practice and a run in with good fortune, I finally had a financial breakthrough in terms of what I was able to earn as a musician and entertainer. Nevertheless, I firmly believe that I and so many others in my field earn outsize rewards for our talents. Cognizant of this, I began actively mentoring youth from the moment I earned my first $450,000 advance payment in 2003. Rewarded by watching them attain success, I continue to invest in young people around the world and have also thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to work with students at the Clive Davis Institute at NYU.

As with my previous work with the Salvation Army, my other philanthropic interests have been introduced to me by those with whom I am close. Please visit and to learn more about the work of these incredible causes and why I’ve chosen to support them.