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10 celebrity charities: From four-stars to flops

This 1985  file photo shows Lionel Richie, clockwise from left, Daryl Hall, Quincy Jones, Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder record "We Are The World" by USA for Africa.

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The highs and lows in celebrity giving

Celebrities and charity. It's a hot topic for both good and bad reasons—on the part of celebrities and the public. Some celebrities just can't get enough of themselves, and some Americans just can't get enough of seeing celebrities dragged through the mud.

But when it comes to celebrities trying to do good, the results are actually all over the map, according to Ken Berger, the president and CEO of Charity Navigator, a watchdog organization that has developed a scoring system to rate charities on their governance and financial performance to better help the public invest in not just the right causes but well-run advocates.

"There are really outstanding and passionate celebrities that give their all for a cause they care about and give personal time, money and really are voices for the organization, but at the other end of the spectrum, it's a debacle," Berger said.

You can learn a lot about how to identify well-run charities through a quick review of the highs and lows in recent celebrity efforts to lead with their hearts.

Here are 10 celebrity charities that run the gamut, from four-stars (Charity Navigator's highest score) to complete flops. Below its lowest score of zero, there are some philanthropies that Charity Navigator simply stops rating.

—By Nicholas Duva, special to CNBC.com
Posted 19 December 2014

AP