Kenny Chesney has been named 2020’s Country Radio Broadcasters (CRB) Artist Humanitarian Award recipient.The 8-time Entertainer of the Year will receive the award, sponsored by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, on Wednesday, Feb. 19 as part of the 2nd Annual Warner Music Nashville (WMN) Kickoff Luncheon, which serves as the official launch of Country Radio Seminar 2020. In addition, the Blue Chair/Warner Music Nashville recording artist headlines this year’s Kickoff Luncheon, where the songwriter/superstar will be joined by several artists from the Warner Music Nashville (WMN) family.
Chesney’s charitable work is far-reaching, if something the man deemed “The People’s Superstar” by The Los Angeles Times has opted to do quietly. His Love for Love City Foundation helped spearhead the rebuilding of St. John, following the devastation of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. In addition to humanitarian aid and working with local teams to facilitate physical clean-up and rebuilding, he and his core staff worked to rescue and relocate 2,000+ displaced animals of St. Thomas and St. John to several no-kill shelters and loving families in the U.S.
The East Tennessean also put his music where his mouth is, writing and recording the critically-acclaimed Songs for the Saints. All his proceeds from the album, which featured Ziggy Marley, Jimmy Buffett and Mindy Smith, went to the Love for Love City Foundation. Raising over $1.1 million to date, Songs continues to generate funds for St. John’s ongoing reconstruction work. Chesney also filled the St. John School for the Arts with a bounty of musical instruments, to inspire the children to go to school and be creative as they recovered from the disaster.
Songs for the Saints generated the multiple week No. 1 “Get Along,” an anthem Chesney felt spoke to the spirit of people coming together post-devastation. Having already been involved with two successful PassItOn.Org campaigns with “Spread the Love” and “The Good Stuff,” the life-affirming organization requested an unprecedented third collaboration. “Get Along,” focusing on people of all ages, races and occupations, has surpassed 2.5 billion views.
Seeing the bombing at the Boston Marathon, Chesney again embraced action. Working with the Boston Medical Center, he created the Spread the Love Fund to benefit amputee survivors, by selling special edition t-shirts as well as creating a place for donations, including turning a “Good Morning America” Summer Concert appearance into a fundraising opportunity. To date, Spread the Love has accrued over two million dollars – and the beneficiaries, as well as first responders, can often be seen at Chesney’s Gillette Stadium shows.
His ongoing commitment to ocean habitat conservation as a whole extends from his years spent on the water. No Shoes Reefs has helped rebuild coral reefs in Jacksonville, FL, as well as supported other local ocean ecology efforts around Florida and the Gulf Coast.
Working regularly – and often anonymously, Chesney has partnered with myriad organizations, including MusiCares, the Red Cross, Farm Aid, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, ACM Lifting Lives, the CMA Foundation, Kids Wish Network and many local charities.
CRS/CRB Board President, Kurt Johnson commented, “It’s as if this CRS award was created for Kenny Chesney. Artists with his career span are rare. Among them, artists who do as much good as he does, for as long as he has, without calling attention to it, are particularly singular. Here’s to you, Kenny.”
“I was raised to lend a hand where I could, but also to reach out quietly and keep the focus on the people who need the help,” says the soft-spoken East Tennessean/artist. “I’ve always tried to do the right thing where I could, but this award really belongs to all the people I’ve met over the years who are rebuilding their lives, their homes, their world. Watching them come together – the courage, the hours and strength they give to these things – my award is getting to be inspired by what these people have accomplished.”
The CRB Artist Humanitarian Award was created in 1990 by the organization’s board to honor those Country music artists who have exhibited exceptional humanitarian efforts during their career. Past recipients include Blake Shelton, Dierks Bentley, Lady Antebellum, Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Trace Adkins, Randy Owen, Toby Keith, Brad Paisley, Brooks & Dunn, Reba, Vince Gill, Garth Brooks and Charlie Daniels, among others.