Chef/Author Mario Batali and Susan Cahn Co-Chair
Food Bank For New York City — which provides 300,000 free meals a day to New Yorkers in need — announced today it will honor iconic musician and philanthropist, Jon Bon Jovi, for his philanthropic efforts at the organizations Sixth Annual Can-Do Awards Dinner on Tuesday, April 21, at Abigail Kirsch’s Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers on the Hudson River. Co-chairing the dinner is Chef/Author Mario Batali and his wife Susan Cahn. The evening will include cocktails followed by dinner, awards, a live auction and yet-to-be announced musical performances. Previous Can-Do honorees include the Edge of U2, Gwyneth Paltrow, Michael Stipe, Helena Christensen, Mario Batali and Stanley Tucci.
Self-reliance, optimism and community are key concepts Jon Bon Jovi refers to, not just in his music, but also when articulating his desire to aid Americans without affordable housing, job training, counseling and other such services. These concepts are a common thread among all the charities, corporations, and private donors that he has united in unique partnerships over the past several years. Jon Bon Jovi’s on-going support for local, national and international organizations has resulted in millions of dollars raised while bringing heightened awareness to the issues that adversely impact humanity.
Some of Jon Bon Jovi’s notable charitable works include the Habitat for Humanity; Kenneth Cole’s RSVP to Help campaign, as well as the launch of a limited edition outerwear collection with Kenneth Cole New York with proceeds benefiting HELP USA; Project HOME in Philadelphia, and of course his own Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation. Founded in 2006, the Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing about positive change and helping the lives of those in need “one Soul at a time.” The Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation exists to combat issues that force families and individuals into economic despair with programs and partnerships targeted at breaking the cycle of poverty and homelessness. Through 2008, Jon Bon Jovi and the Soul Foundation have provided funding to provide 140 units of affordable housing for low-income individuals and families.
As a result of his efforts, Jon Bon Jovi and his foundation were recently honored at the 2008 Billboard Touring Awards with the Humanitarian Award, which recognizes the philanthropic efforts of a touring professional, and named 2008 Sponsor of the Year by Habitat For Humanity Detroit, in recognition of his many outstanding contributions to HFH Detroit and its mission of providing a simple, decent place to live. Additionally, he recently performed “A Change Is Gonna Come” duet with Bettye LaVette on the Lincoln Memorial steps at the “We Are One” Obama Inauguration Concert in Washington, DC, and was the featured performer at the Commander in Chief Inaugural Ball.
The Can-Do Awards Dinner is instrumental in helping to provide support for the 1.3 million New Yorkers who rely on soup kitchens and food pantries to survive. Every dollar donated to the Food Bank provides five meals. This is a pivotal year for the Can-Do Gala as the recession deepens and unemployment continues to rise. Already the level of need has reached crisis proportions. The number of New York City residents having difficulty affording needed food has spiked to nearly 4 million — doubling from approximately 2 million in 2003 — representing almost half of all New York City residents.
“Jon Bon Jovi has demonstrated an uncommon commitment to ending hunger. We applaud his passion, his compassion and his generosity of spirit,” said Dr. Lucy Cabrera, President and CEO of the Food Bank For New York City. “These are dark days. Never in the history of the Food Bank have we seen so many New Yorkers struggling to put food on the table, a trend we anticipate will worsen in the coming year. We could not do what we do without the support of people like Jon who continuously say, I ‘Can Do.’ His presence here tonight will certainly insure that many more New Yorkers will truly ‘Have A Nice Day’.”
Food Bank For New York City recognizes 26 years as the city’s major provider of food to New Yorkers in need. The organization works to end food poverty and increase access to affordable, nutritious food for low-income New Yorkers through a range of programs and services that focus on food sourcing and distribution, education and nutrition, financial empowerment, disaster relief, policy and research.
Food Bank For New York City sources and distributes food to more than 1,000 food assistance programs, assisting the approximately 1.3 million New Yorkers who access emergency food. The Food Bank provides food safety, networking and capacity-building workshops; manages nutrition education programs for schools, after-school and emergency food programs; operates food stamp outreach and education programs; operates senior programs, a soup kitchen and food pantry; coordinates the largest civilian Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program in the country; and develops policy and conducts research to inform community and government efforts to end food poverty throughout New York City. For every dollar donated to the Food Bank, 96 cents goes toward food acquisition, distribution and programs. For additional information, visit www.foodbanknyc.org
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