A new video produced by Project HOME‘s “The Francis Fund” discusses homelessness, poverty, and hunger throughout the Philadelphia and Camden regions, and features some extremely familiar faces.
The Francis Fund is “a special fund that seeks to raise at least $1.5 million for local organizations directly serving those struggling with hunger, homelessness, and poverty in the greater Philadelphia area and Camden. Project HOME is operating the fund in support of the World Meeting of Families and will not receive any funding ourselves.”
Project HOME is lead by the well-respected Sister Mary Scullion, who serves as the organization’s Executive Director and who is co-chair of the World Meeting of Families Hunger and Homelessness Committee. Clearly, she’s rallied the troops for this message, including appearances from Lily Tomlin, Jon Bon Jovi, Ed Rendell, and a lot more.
On Tuesday night, a who’s-who of Philadelphia turned out to honor rock star Jon Bon Jovi for his charity and philanthropic work. The Marian Anderson Award honors critically acclaimed artists who have impacted society in a positive way, either through their work or their support for an important cause.
The evening began with a VIP reception attended by Bon Jovi and his wife, Dorothea. Then the party moved downstairs where a Jose Garces-catered dinner was served. While in the Hamilton Garden, the friends cocktail party began. It was co-chaired by Michelle Miller-DeMarco and Mia Tinari, Esq.
At 8:30, all the guests entered Verizon Hall for the program. The entertainment for the evening included master of ceremonies Wanda Sykes and musical acts Estelle, The All American Rejects, Jon Batiste and Stay Human, with Senator Cory Booker and Sister Mary Scullion paying tribute to the rock star.
Congratulations are in order for Nina Tinari, who recently took over as the chair of the Marian Anderson Foundation, for breathing new life into the 15th annual event. During the program, the entertainment made a big effort to include the audience, which really gave the night a sense of celebration. Gone this year was the long, kinda-dark video biography of Marian Anderson; in its place was a video in which people spoke of the spirit of Marian Anderson and how she’s inspired them — something we can all relate too. It was a great evening, and a great tribute to two amazing artists.
Last night the Pennsylvania Convention Center was bursting at the seams with music as Covenant House Pennsylvania presented its annual event “A Night of Broadway Stars.” It’s always a good time, but this year was their 15th Anniversary and they changed venues knowing that more people would want to be a part of the monumental celebration. They were right: Nearly 450 attended the night of song where the proceeds go to help kids get off the street of broken dreams, and onto a path where their dreams can become a reality.
Since Covenant House Pennsylvania (CHP) opened its doors 15 years ago, the non-profit agency has served more than 35,000 youth in crisis. Many of these young people are victims of violence, abandonment, and abuse, and have aged out of the foster care system. CHP gives the youth the skills to help them become self-sufficient and helps them achieve the goals for their lives.
Back for the ninth year, Broadway lyricist and composer Neil Berg hosted “A Night of Broadway Stars” featuring an array of talented performances including Capthia Jenkins (Dream Girls), Stephanie Block (The Boy from Oz), Danny Zolli (Jesus Christ Superstar), Craig Schulman (Les Miserables), Carter Calvert (Cats), John Treacy Egan (Nice Work If You Can Get It) and many more.
The event kicked off with a cocktail reception and buffet, then the guests headed into the ballroom, which was set up like a cabaret. Afterward there was a dessert reception where guests mingled with the Broadway stars. The event also honor Craig Spencer, vice chairman of the JBJ Soul Foundation and president and CEO of The Arden Group as well as the JBJ Soul Foundation for their dedication to fighting homelessness, which was accepted by Jon Bon Jovi. Bon Jovi also performed a private acoustic concert before the gala event started, for about 100 sponsors.
Last night, Project HOME celebrated its 25th Anniversary with a gala event at the Marriott Downtown Philadelphia. Co-chairs Dorothy and David Binswanger, Pam Estadt and Ira Lubert, and Frannie and James Maguire were on hand to honor Leigh and John Middleton with the 2014 Golden Heart for their eight years of philanthropic work with Project HOME. (They have given more than $30 million to Project H.O.M.E. to fight homelessness.)
Earlier in the day, the Middletons were on hand for the grand opening of the JBJ Soul Homes with namesake Jon Bon Jovi. The 55-unit building, which will also have offices and retail spaces, opened in the Francisville neighborhood after about 18 months of construction. Bon Jovi’s Soul Foundation provided the lead gift for the $20 million project in a partnership with Project H.O.M.E. When you enter the building there’s a quote from a Bon Jovi song — “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” — welcoming homeless and low-income residents.
Scullion recently told Philly Mag’s Joel Mathis how that relationship evolved:
“Jon was the co-owner of the Soul (Arena Football League) team at that time, and he was staying at the Ritz Carlton on Broad Street. He looked out his window and saw someone just out in the bitter cold and got his sound engineer and said to him, ‘Can you find me an organization in this area that we could partner with to do something about this? It’s an intolerable condition.'”