When it comes to charity, Alec Baldwin has a soft spot for the arts.

The 52-year-old recently opened his wallet to both the New York Philharmonic and Roundabout Theatre Company, giving away $1 million and $500,000 respectively.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Baldwin says such donations are easy because companies are eager for him to push their brand through television commercials.

“When I did that Hulu spot in 2009, I gave all the money I received to my alma mater, New York University,” he told the Journal. “I had a couple of people come to me to do more advertisements. When you do commercials in the U.S., people don’t always smile on that. There’s a perceived negative frailty."

Baldwin says, however, that now instead of just donating his paychecks, he partners with companies to make a difference. He points to a recent Capital One spot as an example.

"With Capital One, the point isn't me getting money and then giving it to charity," he says. "It's about Capital One partnering with me. They're joining me with this online component and this is something I want to build with them."

Baldwin goes on to add that the only reason he's publicizing his charity is because he wants others to take notice — particularly those with even larger wallets.

"My giving something might be in the paper, but I'm not Bloomberg or the Koch family or Ronald Perelman," he says. "I'm not in that league, but I'm hoping this dialogue will bring more attention to arts coverage. There are some people in New York who can see $1 million as what 100 would mean to you. My hope is that nine other men who can do that can give a check for a million."

You can check out the rest of the fantastic interview over at the Wall Street Journal. And yes, there's even a bit of a tease regarding Baldwin's potential career in politics.

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Alec Baldwin's donations help fund the arts
Alec Baldwin has handed out $1.5 million recently to help organizations feeling the pain of budget cuts.