Chris Cornell used his influence to help children and refugees. That's a rock star move.

Blessed with the voice of an angel, it's easy to forget Chris Cornell had the heart of one as well.

On May 17, 2017, the singer known for his work with bands like Soundgarden and Audioslave died a "sudden and unexpected" death following a Detroit concert. Cornell's death is being reported as an apparent suicide, leaving behind his three children and wife, Vicky.

As a rock star, he influenced the lives of millions with his art. Lesser known, however, is the life-changing work he did for others offstage.


A 2015 portrait of Cornell. Photo by Casey Curry/InVision/AP.

In April of this year, Cornell traveled to Greece to help refugees. That's just the kind of man he was, using his own resources to help others.

On April 10, Page Six reported Cornell departed from the London premiere of a film to go to an Athens refugee camp.

While there, Cornell met "refugee families and [heard] firsthand the harrowing stories of their escapes, the separation of children from their parents and the stress and uncertainty of day-to-day life," the news outlet reported.

Since 2012, Cornell helped lead the Chris & Vicky Cornell Foundation, a charity dedicated to raising funds to support children facing homelessness, abuse, poverty, and neglect. He'd often set aside a portion of his tour income to go toward the foundation, which would then go to support a variety of child-specific causes.

In the weeks leading up to his death, Cornell was making the rounds on TV shows ranging from "CBS This Morning" to NBC's "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" performing the title track from "The Promise," a film about the Armenian genocide, an issue close to his heart. All proceeds from the song's sales go to the International Rescue Committee.

The man who inspired countless people to pick up a guitar and start singing can help inspire the world to do something just as important: pay it forward.

"I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to make a career doing something I love," Cornell said, according to a story with Alternative Nation. "Not every kid gets those opportunities. I’m in a fortunate position to use music to support important causes that help foster change."

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.