Paul Newman died yesterday at the age of 83.

He’ll be remembered most as an iconic actor of the 20th century (and a damn handsome one), but I hope he’ll be remembered, too, for his philanthropic work in the U.S. and abroad.

Through his foundation, which he established in 1982, the actor gave away more than $250 million to charities and social projects around the world. Here are just a few:

Organic Farming Research Foundation: Based in the U.S., the OFRF promotes research, education, and public policy initiatives, all intended to expand organic farming and improve economic opportunities for organic farmers. The $220,000 grant that Newman’s Own gave to OFRF in 2006 was the single largest contribution OFRF had ever received.

Hole in the Wall Camps: Newman, who died of cancer, was passionate about life and helping others with chronic or terminal illnesses live to the fullest. One of the charities closest to his heart was his Hole in the Wall Camps, summer camps designed especially for kids with serious medical illnesses. In 2007, Hole in the Wall Camps were offered in almost 40 countries to more than 11,000 kids.

Manukau City Symphony Orchestra: One of more than 700 charities in Australia and New Zealand that have received funding through Newman’s foundation, the Manukau City Symphony Orchestra is a community orchestra offering programming to professional and amateur musicians, including youth.

No one can summarize Newman’s mission better than the man himself:

“I wanted to acknowledge luck; the chance and benevolence of it in my life, and the brutality of it in the lives of others, who might not be allowed the good fortune of a lifetime to correct it.”

It’s a good message, and one worth remembering.

Photo: Jose Manuel-ViPeR (Flickr creative commons)