Homemade Jams concert series
When most people hear the phrase “homemade jams,” the first images that comes to mind are mason jars filled with fruit preservatives. The WhyHunger organization knows a very different meaning of the phrase, though. Their definition of “homemade jams” is not a food at all. It is, rather, a method for providing food for those experiencing hunger worldwide.

WhyHunger’s “Homemade Jams” is a concert series started by the organization’s Artists Against Hunger & Poverty program. The program created the Homemade Jams concert series in response to many Americans’ desire to help alleviate world hunger on a personal level. Participants in the Homemade Jams campaign register to host house concerts to raise money for WhyHunger.

The campaign, which began last June, set a goal of receiving donations from 100 house concert hosts. Since then, the concerts have ranged from showcases of budding artists that want to use their own talents to raise money to performances hosted by fans of more well-known artists. One house concert in California featured local artists with enough credibility to charge 100 dollars per ticket.  All proceeds went to WhyHunger.

Artists hosting house concerts through Homemade Jams can be sure that their donations will be used effectively. WhyHunger, formerly known as World Hunger Year, provides relief to people experiencing hunger in the United States and in underprivileged areas around the world. After 28 years of advocacy, the organization has been ranked the highest in terms of donations, financial standing and accountability by Charity Navigator when compared to organizations that support similar causes.

The Artists Against Hunger & Poverty program specifically channels the power of music and the arts to fight global poverty. Among the many performers linked to WhyHunger’s AAH&P program are Chicago, O.A.R.  and Bruce Springsteen.

Springsteen is one of the program’s founders. He has donated funds and raised awareness for WhyHunger for over 20 years. In 2009, when Springsteen released the 25th anniversary edition of his “Born in the U.S.A.” album, he sold commemorative hats, pins and t-shirts to raise money for AAH&P.

While famous artists can generate awareness and raise money on a very large scale, the AAH&P program enables Americans to make a difference by gathering donations from local communities. By registering to become one of the 100 concerts to end hunger with the Homemade Jams concert series, anyone can join artists like Springsteen in the fight against world hunger.

– Emily Walthouse

Sources: WhyHunger 1, WhyHunger, Homemade Jams, Charity Navigator
Photo: Homemade Jams

“Grassroots” is a favorite term of WhyHunger, a New York-based nonprofit addressing hunger and poverty in the United States, and worldwide. The organization supports over 8,000 community-based projects that are helping to create “a just food system that provides universal access to nutritious and affordable food.”

WhyHunger was founded in 1975 by musicians Harry Chapin and Bill Ayres in response to rampant hunger in Africa, and elsewhere. The friends decided that their new charity would need to go beyond providing emergency food aid if it were to create a just and sustainable food system. Chapin and Ayres became dedicated to digging deep to the roots of poverty in order to find long-term solutions to the global problem of hunger.

In an open letter, co-founder and current Executive Director Bill Ayres defines WhyHunger’s global mission as “[helping] people to help themselves through food production, job-training programs, nutrition education, community economic development, healthcare, youth programming, leadership development and more.”

WhyHunger brings much-needed publicity and funding to small, community-based organizations that are working hard to chip away at hunger in their communities. This feat is accomplished through WhyHunger’s various programs, including Artists Against Hunger & Poverty.

AAH&P partners with accomplished and rising musical artists to raise funds for outstanding local projects that are fighting hunger. So far, the campaign has funneled close to 10 million dollars into grassroots initiatives.

Some of the artists involved with AAH&P and WhyHunger include Bruce Springsteen, Carlos Santana, Chicago, Brandi Carlile and O.A.R., among many others. WhyHunger connects the management of the different artists to organizations that focus on hunger and poverty in towns near their tour stops. The artists then set aside time during their concerts to speak about the different nonprofits, and to collect donations. Typically the organizations are given the best tickets in the house to auction off, and the artists generally donate to the cause, as well.

“I’ve always said that working with WhyHunger is the perfect antidote to dealing with the whims and challenges of the music industry,” says Jen Chapin, an artist-supporter and longtime board member of WhyHunger. “In the food justice movement, you always get to interact with inspired and intelligent people who are driven by a sense of mission, which is — ahem — not always the case in the music biz.”

Artists Against Hunger & Poverty is a strategic program that utilizes the existing charisma surrounding musical artists to draw in fans and mobilize support for small-scale nonprofits that would otherwise not have access to such large audiences.

WhyHunger has received a four-star rating on Charity Navigator. The nonprofit places a great emphasis on keeping profits at the grassroots level, in community-based nonprofits that are helping eradicate hunger and poverty, person-by-person.

-Kayla Strickland

Sources: WhyHunger, American Songwriter, Charity Navigator, AAH&P
Photo: WhyHunger Twitter

bruno mars sings for poverty relief
Bruno Mars isn’t just another handsome face singing catchy love songs. He — along with over 70 artists — is partnering with the Global Poverty Project to address poverty worldwide by using a fanbase to raise awareness and funds.

Global Citizen is a website managed by the Global Poverty Project that centralizes information about global poverty and opportunities to help. Its ultimate goal is to increase the number of citizens actively advocating for change. The site is comprised of actions related to education and advocacy campaigning, all of which address 13 key issues:

  • Food and Hunger
  • Primary Education
  • Gender Equality
  • Child Mortality
  • Maternal Health
  • Fighting Diseases
  • Water and Sanitation
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Global Partnerships
  • Fighting Corruption
  • Effective Governance
  • Polio Eradication
  • Fair Trade

Participation in Global Citizen actions such as watching a video about extreme poverty, signing petitions, contacting representatives or volunteering time or money earn points for users, which can be redeemed for prizes.

14-time Grammy Award nominee Bruno Mars is one of over 70 artists who realize the importance of ending global poverty. As touring recording artists, they are exposed to areas of the world that suffer the effects of extreme poverty in outrageous percentages. Recognizing the power of their celebrity, they have stood up to support the movement. Mars joins a group of industry power-players like Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Kings of Leon, Kesha, Kanye West, John Mayer and more who have donated at least 2 tickets from each show scheduled in their current tour, resulting in over 20,000 tickets donated to Global Citizen. Once users reach enough points, they can enter a drawing for a chance to win concert tickets. Another option is simply redeeming a higher number of points for tickets, similar to the ‘Buy It Now’ feature on eBay.

Extreme poverty has been cut in half in the last 30 years, and the knowledge and resources necessary to end the crisis completely within a generation are available. It won’t happen overnight, but Global Citizen is breeding an army: an army with the power to end extreme poverty by making informed consumer decisions and advocating for change. Global Citizen and artists like Bruno Mars are helping people to see that every voice counts and every person is capable of changing lives around the world.

– Dana Johnson

Source: Global Citizen, New York Times
Photo: Smash Vault

Music fans all over the country are constantly scrounging for those rare ticket opportunities that make the concert-going lifestyle more affordable. Especially for those still in school, ticket prices represent a significant obstacle to enjoying a favorite band or a killer night out with friends. So, whether it’s through a radio contest, ticket lottery, or sponsored corporate giveaway, free tickets are always nice. Now artists are making it possible to score those free tickets and tackle global poverty at the same time.

The Rolling Stones reports that major artists, like Pearl Jam and Bruce Springsteen, have joined Global Citizen Ticket Drive to donate two tickets from every show they play to inspire social activism. The idea is to place the tickets in a lottery where fans can use points they have gathered as the entry fee. The tickets come from the artists’ personal stash. So, there’s no worry about the shows selling out beforehand.

Fans collect points by setting up an account on Global Citizen’s webpage and posting poverty awareness videos on social media websites, signing petitions, or contacting local politicians among many other ways. Once an account holder has earned points, he or she can search local venues for their favorite artists and dump their easily-earned points into a lottery for the two available tickets. It’s that easy!

Not only are the usual suspects involved in the charity drive – Pearl Jam has a long history of donating to such drives, others were quick to answer the call: Kanye West, My Morning Jacket, and Black Sabbath have agreed to contribute two tickets a piece from their shows. Actually, the list is really impressive. Even major festivals, like Coachella and Bonnaroo, are on board.

For Black Sabbath, the move is a timely one, as they also just released a new album and are already plotting their next world tour. The album features a hit song, “God Is Dead,” which Ozzy notes is a commentary on global terrorism. In line with their general attention to global issues, it’s no wonder that the band is backing Global Citizen Ticket Drive.

The ticket donation drive is only one of Global Citizen’s means to address global poverty; they also put on a concert just last year that netted $1.3 billion for the cause. Headlining the show were Neil Young and Crazy Horse, the Foo Fighters, and the Black Keys.

– Herman Watson

Sources: The Rolling Stone, Global Citizen, Look to the Stars, CBS News, Loudwire

Springsteen Joins Academy of Arts and SciencesAdd a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences to Bruce Springsteen’s already impressive resume. The rock star/philanthropist was elected to the prestigious and selective honorary society for his philanthropic efforts towards social causes, and now joins the likes of actor Robert De Niro, actress Sally Field, fellow singer-songwriter Pete Seeger and Pulitzer Prize-winning poets Annie Dillard and U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey.

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences boasts the membership of some of the most accomplished individuals in the fields of arts, science, academics, writing, and civil, corporate, and philanthropic leadership. “Election to the Academy honors individual accomplishment and calls upon members to serve the public good,” said Academy President Leslie C. Berlowitz. “We look forward to drawing on the knowledge and expertise of these distinguished men and women to advance solutions to the pressing policy challenges of the day.”

In January, Springsteen was named MusiCares, Person of the Year. The nonprofit organization was set up in the ’80s by the same entity that gives out the Grammys — the National Academy of Recording Arts and Science.

The new class will be inducted at an October 12 ceremony at the Academy’s headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Katie Brockman

Source NJ