As cliche as this sounds, the holidays are always about giving more than getting. Thanksgiving is a particular holiday that reminds people of what they’re thankful for. Famous artists have a lot to be thankful for, whether it’s their discography, fans, or overall success. However, many of these artists also give more than they receive. Thanksgiving is a holiday to spend thinking about what you’re grateful for. This time of year, festive values such as family and tradition are under the spotlight. Philanthropy, charity work, and social issues are hugely important to many of the industry’s biggest musicians. However, our list includes some well-known philanthropists as well as some who might have flown under the public’s radar. At Ticket Liquidator, we’re giving (thanks) to artists who are (giving) back. Whether it’s during the holiday or all year round, artists truly make a difference.
Rapper Future, from Atlanta, held his 4th annual Golden Wishes Thanksgiving Gala on November 19th. The rapper, his mother Stephanie Jester, and his sister Tia Wilburn founded the FreeWishes Foundation. Their mission is to “deliver a message of hope, perseverance, and resilience to Atlanta’s community by lending support and making dreams come alive.”
This year, the Golden Wishes Thanksgiving Gala celebrated Atlanta’s senior citizens. According the event’s press release, “They will be invited to join us for an evening filled with food and dancing with a live band and DJ, alongside some influential leaders in our community. This year, we will be honoring two seniors who have been nominated and recognized for their lifelong contributions within their community.” The event also provides a full Thanksgiving meal to each citizen for the holidays.
Therefore, the focus of the event was to celebrate the positive impacts that the elderly contribute to the Atlanta community. It was about fun and festivity as well as helping those in need. Walmart also usually pitches in to Future’s event. A few days before the gala, the FreeWishes Foundation led a food drive with Hot 107.9 and Walmart to collect Thanksgiving meal items. By doing so, it was a great lead off to the week of Thanksgiving.
Jon Bon Jovi
Jon Bon Jovi, the longtime lead singer of the band Bon Jovi, is a philanthropist as well as a musician. The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, founded in 2006, fights against the issues that force citizens into an economic downfall. This leans towards the values of family and meals on Thanksgiving, as the Soul Foundation created two JBJ Soul Kitchens.
The first JBJ Soul Kitchen, founded in 2011, is located in Red Bank, NJ. According to the website, it is a “community restaurant where patrons pay what they can afford for their meals, either with money or volunteer work.” Therefore, thought food is not free, it is not an unobtainable as a typical restaurant meal. The average donation amount is $20, but patrons also clean dishes and do other chores to earn their meal.
In addition, the community restaurant’s second location is in Toms River N.J., and it is part of BEAT (Bringing Everyone All Together). It is even larger and includes job training and resources for those trying to get back in the job hunt game. The B.E.A.T. Center is a one-stop shop with The FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties and The Peoples Pantry. It has many different functionalities: food distribution, a kitchen for at-risk children in after school programs, access to SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), healthcare, free tax preparation, a supermarket-style pantry, and a culinary program where students earn internship credit towards a culinary career.
Country music certainly bands together, particularly for a good cause. In March 2016, Big Machine Label Group, General Mills, and Feeding America announced 2016’s Outnumber Hunger campaign. Jennifer Nettles, a country superstar, is the spokesperson for the campaign this year. Food brands’ boxes, like Cheerios, feature Nettles along with other Big Machine Label Group artists. These boxes all have a code on them. To pitch in, a customer enters the code and their zip code to help Feeding America secure 5 meals on behalf of their local food bank. Therefore, the steps are simple, but the width of those who can take part is great.
Country music has a history of sticking to values and giving back. Feeding America itself is a huge network of 200 food banks that help combat hunger in the United States. The powerful combination of country music and a big organization can create smashing results. Furthermore, Nettles feels passionately about this issue, and during this time of year, hunger is particularly disheartening. Nettles stated, “I was raised in a family who put importance in giving back to others. I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of Outnumber Hunger and help provide for our neighbors in need.”
In 2014, Eric Church started Chief Cares. Church and his wife Katherine founded Chief Cares, a charity fund, in order to give back to communities on a local and international level. Projects have included aid to underprivileged families and children in Tennessee and North Carolina, a personal cause to the couple. Furthermore, international projects have included a Nepal orphanage, Haiti, and the Humane Society. For Thanksgiving, Chief Cares rings true because its focus on the unprivileged becomes extremely important during the a holidays, a time many focus on consumer gift-giving. The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee administers the charity.
Even in its young state, Chief Cares has already collected and donated millions. In late October 2016, Chief Cares made its biggest donation: $1 million at JDFR’s Hope Gala in honor of Church’s mother and her battle with type 1 diabetes. Church is a country sensation. His latest album Mr. Misunderstood won Album of the Year at the Country Music Awards, and his “Holdin’ My Own” Tour plows into next year. However, Church is not known for flashiness or luxury. His dedication to Chief Cares and country-roots persona make Church a down-to-earth musician who knows how to give more than he receives.