The Tale of Jimmy Buffett’s Philanthropy
I love all kinds of music. It puts me in different moods and takes me from reality to fantasy. Music also takes me back to when I was younger and to places I would love to visit. Years ago, I was hooked on Jimmy Buffett’s music. I have attended several of his concerts at a music center in Noblesville, Indiana, that has had a variety of names through the years.
Two of his live concerts stand out to me. At one concert, I secured front row tickets that were amazing. At another concert in 2003, singers Jimmy Buffett and Alan Jackson sang the new song, at the time, “Five O’clock Somewhere” for a music video. Every time I see that video, I remember that concert. As usual, when I think of a celebrity, I wonder if they support philanthropy. Let’s follow Jimmy Buffett’s tale.
Jimmy Buffett has a net worth of at least $550 million, which makes him one of the world’s richest musicians. He has been engaged in several charitable efforts through the years. Look to the Stars notes that Jimmy Buffett has supported the Jerry Garcia Foundation, Precious Paws, Quiksilver Foundation, Reef Relief, Sweet Relief Musicians Fund and the Wounded Warrior Project. He is also a long-time donor to the Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory. In prior years, he has led a hurricane relief effort for those affected in the Southern U.S. and the Caribbean. Buffett has also raised funds for the Foreign Correspondents’ Club Charity Fund and the BP oil disaster in the Gulf.
Two major charities that Jimmy Buffett has supported through the years are Singing for Change and Save the Manatee Club. In a Singing for Change newsletter, it states that if you have ever been to a Jimmy Buffett concert, you may have noticed that on each ticket since his 1995 summer tour that a notation tells you that $1 of your ticket price is donated to the Singing for Change Charitable Foundation. Buffett created the organization because he wanted community-based organizations to create real change throughout the nation in communities where he has played concerts. Singing for Change has distributed more than $12 million since its founding. Singing for Change distributes 100% of what it receives annually back to the community.
According to its website, Singing for Change funds organizations that inspire personal growth, community integration and the enhanced awareness that collectively, people can bring about positive social change. Grantees from this organization must be from groups that work to engage individuals, help people realize their full potential and must create lasting change in communities. Based upon a 2019 annual report, many organizations receive grants with geographical examples stretching from Harlem, to Key West and Palm Beach, to St. Barts.
With respect to Saving the Manatee Club, this organization was established in 1981 by Jimmy Buffett and former U.S. Senator Bob Graham when he was Governor of Florida. It is a 501 (c)(3) organization.
In May 2020, Jimmy Buffett appeared on the Today Show on NBC. He talked about how he plays music every Friday virtually for health care first responders in this COVID-19 pandemic as a way of giving back in honor of them. It is also noticed that in many health care facilities, Jimmy Buffett’s music is played to relax patients plus caregivers to let them take their mind off reality. This fact points out that many musicians give not only of their treasure, but time and talent to support philanthropy in many ways.
The tale of Jimmy Buffett’s philanthropy follows the man himself. He cares deeply about others and understands his Parrothead fan clubs across the world support him and many other charitable causes. Environmental causes, cancer research, Alzheimer’s research and the March of Dimes all have received large donations from Parrothead organizations. In 2011, there were 239 Parrothead Club Chapters in the U.S., Canada and Australia. They have raised more than $26 million to support charities and collectively provided 2.9 million hours of community service.
We thank Jimmy Buffett and his fans for promoting philanthropy and encouraging others to do the same. In this harsh reality world of 2020, it is wonderful to turn on his island escapism music and relax in a different mental place, if only for a few minutes.
Duke Haddad, Ed.D., CFRE, is currently associate director of development, director of capital campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis. He also serves as president of Duke Haddad and Associates LLC and is a freelance instructor for Nonprofit Web Advisor.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO since 2008.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis on education administration plus a dissertation on donor characteristics. He received a master’s degree from Marshall University with an emphasis on public administration plus a thesis on annual fund analysis. He secured a bachelor’s degree (cum laude) with an emphasis on marketing/management. He has done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
Duke has received the Fundraising Executive of the Year Award, from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Indiana Chapter. He also was given the Outstanding West Virginian Award, Kentucky Colonel Award and Sagamore of the Wabash Award from the governors of West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana, respectively, for his many career contributions in the field of philanthropy. He has maintained a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation for three decades.