Friday, August 10, 2007

Celebrity Philanthropy: Beyonce

D.C. was celeb central yesterday - the arrival of David Beckham and the LA Galaxy to play the D.C. United and The Beyonce Experience concert. I'm not a huge soccer fan so I didn't attend the game, nor did I attend Beyonce's concert because I saw her perform last month in New Orleans (great show by the way).

As I was watching our local morning news, it was announced that the first 1,000 fans to drop off non-perishable food items would receive an autographed photo of Beyonce. Ticketholders that bring items as they enter the venue would be given a raffle ticket for a chance to have their seats upgraded. The D.C. food drive was a collaboration of America's Second Harvest, the nation's food bank network, the Capital Area Food Bank of Washington, D.C. and Gilbert Arenas' Zero to Hero Foundation. Other cities that will participate in the pre concert food donation drives are Houston, Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Beyonce said in a statement: "Hunger affects every community in the United States, so I'm using my tour and Survivor Foundation to bring attention to domestic hunger. I'm joining forces with Pastor Rudy and America's Second Harvest – The Nation's Food Bank Network to fight hunger."

Beyonce grew up attending St. John’s Church in Houston with Pastor Rudy, where she learned at a young age the importance of reaching out and helping those who are less fortunate. It’s that upbringing that spurred the birth of her Survivor Foundation.

The food drive was not the only charitable effort while Beyonce was in D.C. Before her concert, she stopped by the forum, Defining our Own Destiny, to chat with girls who were participating in an anti-violence gathering. The forum was devoted to stopping violence in the girls' troubled neighborhoods and spreading the message that they can overcome any challenges. There were presentations on perseverance despite obstacles, maintaining a healthy self-image and trying to become a peacemaker in the community.

Organizations that participated included Covenant House Washington, Peaceoholics/C.H.O.I.C.E. and the Mayor's Youth Leadership Institute.

The Survivor Foundation was established in 2005 by Destiny Child members Beyonce Knowles and Kelly Rowland--along with Mathew Knowles, Tina Knowles and Solange Knowles to provide transitional housing for Hurricane Katrina victims and storm evacuees in the Houston, Texas area. The Foundation extends the philanthropic mission with the Knowles-Rowland Center for Youth, a multi-purpose community outreach facility in downtown Houston.

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