Since its inception, Jon Bon Jovi’s ability to leverage his superstar status for access to people and organizations that can partner with JBJSF has allowed both Jon and the foundation to expand their scope, and ultimately, their impact.
Interestingly, when he invested in the Arena Football League team and decided to name it the Philadelphia Soul, the name stuck out because it wasn’t the usual macho moniker of a typical sports franchise. As revealed on the JBJSF web site, Bon Jovi chose this name because:
“good players play with their head, great players play with their hearts, but extraordinary players play with soul”.
As the activities of the JBJSF have grown, so has Bon Jovi’s involvement in other charitable causes.
Though too numerous to do justice to in this space, he has worked on behalf of the Special Olympics, the American Red Cross, and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Working with Habitat for Humanity in 2006, he made a $1 million donation to build 28 homes in Louisiana in partnership with low-income families decimated by hurricane Katrina; and, in 2005 he and the band donated $1 million to the Angel Network Foundation during an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show.
Despite Bon Jovi’s good works, there are negative nay-sayers in print and broadcast media who accuse him of using his charitable work to raise awareness for Bon Jovi and his career, instead of for the causes he champions. He aptly answers such critics in his book “When We Were Beautiful”:
“My music and my philanthropic work are two different worlds. I don’t feel the need to preach about what the Foundation does from the concert stage nor do I feel the need to talk about my music and concerts during a site dedication or groundbreaking. Keep them separate: two different aspects of the same life. And they’re both fulfilling”.
Bon Jovi may keep his professional and personal identities segregated, but there is no denying that the marquee of his name lends credibility and publicity and legitimacy to any cause he champions. That is why something as simple as a new album release and the announcement of a new world tour—as he did in November, 2009 with the release of “The Circle“—infuses the work of the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation and its’ partners with a new energy and a heightened sense of purpose.
Considering everyone labeled him as just another glam-rock hair band in the 1980’s, Jon Bon Jovi has proved nay-sayers wrong with a vibrant, continuing musical juggernaut that brings joy to his legions of fans, and hope and faith to the millions of the world’s needy.
“I just feel the need to be a more well-rounded person, t o stop suffering from LSD—lead singer’s disease: me, me, me, me, me. That’s a shallow existence”, he says.
Did you miss Parts 1 and 2? Read them here