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Rock, Roll and Philanthropy

Updated: Sep 30

by: F. Duke Haddad



I love music, especially rock and roll. I had planned to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland in 2019. Because of life events, I had to delay this trip. I only recently decided to go. I live in Indianapolis, so this visit turned into a quick round trip. I went to Cleveland early on a Friday and returned to Indianapolis late Saturday. The weather was perfect and so was the trip. I was excited to see the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, located on Lake Erie, and I was not disappointed.


Of course, besides the museum, I was just as interested in rock and roll philanthropy. I was thrilled to see a large colorful guitar in the lobby of my hotel. A sign next to it said that GuitarMania is a Greater Cleveland public art project that has generated over $2 million thus far for the United Way of Greater Cleveland and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum education programs. That beautiful large colorful work of art guitar was titled “Freedom by Means of Expression” by Ryan Oddo, and it can be purchased.


According to Boston’s Rock Station WAAF 93.7 Radio, charitable rock stars that love to give back include Ronnie James Dio, U2, Dave Navarro, Pearl Jam and Smashing Pumpkins.


Liveaboutdotcom documented a list of 10 rock bands who are true philanthropic performers.

These include U2, who built a task force to combat poverty worldwide. Their Product (RED) campaign has reportedly raised $300 million for Aids Research. Smashing Pumpkins provided at least $2 million for local charities and military veterans. Pearl Jam runs the Vitalogy Foundation that provides funds for humanitarian aid.


Dave Navarro supports domestic violence efforts and cancer relief. Rob Thomas provides charitable relief aid for pets and childhood wellness causes. Sheryl Crow volunteers at food banks and supports Feeding America. Tracy Bonham supports programs that teach music for children. The Dave Matthews Band has raised over $40 million for many local charities wherever they perform. Everclear’s charitable focus is providing arts education.


Money Inc. notes that the top 20 most charitable musicians in the world today include Taylor Swift, Elton John, Rihanna, Beyonce, Garth Brooks and more.


Regardless of the amount of funds given, I am glad many rock stars give back to the communities they serve. I am certain countless musical artists have and continue to provide free concerts for charity, make personal appearances to support a variety of charitable causes and supply funds to those in need.


Many people in this country and around the world are hurting. I always hope that those that have means give back to others without means, especially those with the means and visibility to make the greatest impact. I hope current and future rock and roll artists continue to promote philanthropy! It is needed and much appreciated.

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