I was asked this week to "briefly" summarize Amy's philanthropic efforts and ties to charity organizations. How does one squeeze 30 years of charitable efforts into a one or two paragraph overview and yet still do justice to Amy's efforts? Well, I'm sure I was more wordy than what they had asked for but I thought it turned out to be a nice little piece and thought those of you who follow Amy might like to know what I had to say……….
Amy Grant is a singer/songwriter by profession and a philanthropist at heart. In addition to selling over 30 million albums worldwide and becoming one of the most acclaimed and honored artist in pop/contemporary Christian music history, Amy has spent the last 30 years of her career giving away her time, talent, and resources to help promote charities of all kinds, whether they be national organization or small grassroots operations that need a helping hand.
In Amy’s memoir titled “Mosaic..Pieces of My Life So Far,” she writes an entire chapter on philanthropy. She was raised in a family where giving back was modeled from early on, especially by her very successful and wealthy grandfather, A.M. Burton:
“Life is made of of golden chances, opportunities to do good. One lost is lost forever. If we miss doing a kindness to a friend, we can never do that kindness again. If we might speak a pleasant word, or offer a bit of worthwhile counsel or advice and fail to do so, we can never have just that opportunity again. Giving is a way of life.” (from the writings of A.M. Burton 1879-1966).
The list of organizations that have benefited from the generosity of Amy Grant is long and impressive. It ranges from organizations that focus on medical research and treatment (St. Jude Research Hospital, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, Woman’s Cancer Research Fund, Sarah Cannon Cancer Center, etc.) to organizaitons that exist to support/encourage people with disabilities or terminal diseases (Challenge America, Make-A-Wish) etc.) to those organizations that exist to support people in need, great and small, here in the US and across the world (The Red Cross, Second Harvest Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity, Compassion International) to organizations that focus on the importance of the arts for the survival and advancement of our culture (The Nashville Symphony, etc.) And beyond those organizations listed above, all of which have widely recognized name value, Amy is constantly involved with smaller organizations that most people will never hear about but that need the support of someone like her – Metropolitan Ministries, Soles for Souls, Hope Center for Women, Under The Bridge, etc.
For her philanthropic efforts, many organizations have tried to find ways to thank her. Target Stores and St. Jude worked together to name the entertainment room at the Target House the "Amy Grant Room," in honor of all she had given back. Two years ago, at the grand opening of the new symphony hall in Nashville, Amy was surprised on stage with the honor of finding out that the stage has been named "The Amy Grant Performance Stage." During her late 1990's "House of Love" 50+ city tour, Amy partnered with Target Stores to dedicate the proceeds of her concerts in every city to build houses for people in need through Habitat for Humanity. Over 100 "houses of love" were built across the US. AS a thank you, Habitat for Humanity built several houses a few miles away from Amy's home in Nashville and dedicated the street where they were built, "Amy Grant Drive." But as much as all of these beautiful tokens of appreciation have meant to Amy, nothing means more to her than knowing her efforts and finances were able to meet the needs of strangers she will never meet.
The charity affiliation list is as long as it is wide. But the list exists not solely because giving back was something that was instilled in her early on, the list is a direct result of her faith and her deep belief that God uses all of us to be the "helping hand" that another person might be desperately needing.
My attitude and approach to giving cannot be separated from how I view God and, consequently, my fellow man. Do I believe in God? Do I believe that my needs are met by God? And if he can supply my needs, what about everybody else’s? God provides through people. Am I willing to be connected to the people in my world, the people at work, the people in my house, the people I encounter in everyday patterns of living? Am I open to the possibility of my life, my gifts, touching another life? My life touching another; the domino effect of God’s goodness rippling through so many other lives, is a powerful, far-reaching concept. Giving never happens by accident; it’s always intentional. The apostle Paul says, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Cor 9:6-7). All of us want our lives to be meaningful. The answer to that longing will never be found in a bigger flat-screen television, a new wardrobe, the perfect figure, or a perfect house. The secret to a life well lived is in giving. When we give, our lives are touched and changed.” (from “Mosaic…Pieces of My Life So Far)
For more information about several of the charities Amy Grant is involved in, please visit the partners page on www.amygrant.com.