Jon Bon Jovi was in Washington D.C. this week to be honored for his philanthropy rather than his music.
The New Jersey rocker received the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation 2017 Service to America Leadership Award for his “ongoing efforts to combat hunger and homelessness” via his Bon Jovi Soul Foundation.
The Foundation has established the JBJ Soul Kitchen and supports Spoon Full Of Hope that make food available in exchange for work in the restaurants located in his home state.
Former U.S. President Barack Obama was on hand for the ceremony, and in his remarks Bon Jovi said that, “There is a misconception that homelessness is a choice. I have yet to meet a homeless person who strived to achieve that…This is a conversation about a hand up. It is not about politics. It’s about building communities one brick at a time.”
Bon Jovi added that, “At the Soul Kitchens we are simply bringing people together to share a meal, but this simple act has taught us that breaking bread leads to conversation and conversation can lead to a meaningful dialogue and perhaps a greater sense of pride in one’s self and in community.”
Previous recipients of the awards have included Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, first ladies Rosalyn Carter, Nancy Reagan and Laura Bush, Muhammad Ali and more.
Bon Jovi the band, meanwhile, is off the road until an August 17 show in Endicott, N.Y.
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.