Musicians are best positioned to lead a social movement, using their celebrity position to advocate for causes and raise funds for charity. Yes, even Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift are using their fundraising power to draw their fans to donate to charities as diverse as disaster relief and cancer research.
Beyond using star-power to raise money, so called senior statesmen of rock are going a step further and developing strategic programs so their philanthropy has more measurable outcomes beyond writing checks. The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation is a great model for community activism. It has a clear mission: to combat issues that force families and individuals into economic despair. The foundation not only writes checks, but also creates programs and partnerships that support innovative community efforts to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness, from Soul Kitchen where patrons pay what they can for best quality food and support for homeless shelters that provide safety nets for at-risk-teens as well as tools to improve their futures. Hear him talk about what drives him to support the movement in this CNBC interview.
Not to be upstaged, fellow New Jersey rocker Bruce Springsteen was just selected by the Recording Academy to be its 2013 MusiCares Person of the Year. Since releasing Greetings from Asbury Park Springsteen has been an advocate for the everyman and tackled a host of social issues. He was among the first to encourage non profits to set up information tables at concerts to educate fans and enlist them in their movements. Could it be something in the New Jersey water?