A Singer-Songwriter Focuses His Philanthropy on At-Risk Women and Children

The singer-songwriter Michael Bolton is worth $60 million, according to some estimates, a fortune he's amassed through singing and writing hits such as "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You." Bolton has since sold more than 53 million records, and more recently has appeared on shows such as Dancing with the Stars.

Bolton's philanthropic vehicle, Michael Bolton Charities, has been around since 1993, and has disbursed over $10 million to benefit more than 100 organizations in cities and communities across the country. Michael Bolton Charities focuses on two areas, according to its website:

  • The assistance of children and women at risk
  • Creating social awareness to broaden horizons and expand opportunities for youth across socioeconomics and multicultural lines.

The charity began with a group of volunteers building a playground in New Haven, where Bolton was born. The group wanted to provide a safe place for disadvantaged children to play outdoors. Since then, Bolton has been a strong advocate for women and children. In the mid-1990s, he lobbied Congress to pass the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), and went to D.C. a few years ago to make sure that the law was reauthorized. Bolton has also penned blogs on the subject.

Unlike some of the glitzy givers we've written about, Michael Bolton Charities has an active website with clear guidelines, though we should mention that proposals are made by invitation only.

Recent money has gone to outfits such as Yoga Blue in Ojai, California. Programming at Yoga Blue includes classes at a treatment center where women coping with issues such as "domestic violence, substance abuse and mental health challenges can put their lives back on track." Other grantees in this area include Domestic Violence Services of Greater New Haven, Children's Advocacy Center, Prevent Child Abuse America, Yale Child Study Center, and Nevada Council for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, among others.

Apart from this work, Bolton has also supported veterans. One recent grantee is Work Vessels for Veterans, which "matches donations of equipment and vessels to returning vets to start their own businesses." In the past, grants have also gone towards Bogart Pediatric Cancer Research Program in Los Angeles, and St. Jude's Children's Hospital, among others.

This fall, Michael Bolton Charities will be launching a "one of a kind music therapy program" in a school for troubled youth and in a domestic violence shelter. Looking ahead to 2016, Bolton intends to bring the Family Justice Center (FJC) to his hometown of New Haven. The FJC is a one-stop center for domestic violence victims and their families, and is modeled after the hugely successful Brooklyn FJC, which Bolton has supported since it opened its doors in 2006.

It's also possible that Bolton gives away money separately from his formal charitable vehicle.

Related: Michael Bolton Profile