NET WORTH: $410 million, estimated
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Singer-Musician
FUNDING AREAS: Poverty, Homelessness & Hunger
OVERVIEW: Bon Jovi's philanthropy has focused on housing and poverty issues in his home region. The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation has helped provide support for more than 500 units of affordable and supportive housing for thousands of people including youth and veterans. The foundation also runs two JBJ Soul Kitchens in New Jersey.
BACKGROUND: Born John Francis Bongiovi Jr. in New Jersey in 1962, Jon Bon Jovi grew up wanting to be a rock star and was playing in clubs by the time he was in his teens. He met keyboardist David Bryan in high school, and the two formed a band called Atlantic City Expressway. Bon Jovi also performed with bands called The Rest, The Lechers and John Bongiovi and the Wild Ones. In 1983, he founded the band Bon Jovi, and their self-titled debut in 1984 went gold. Their third album, meanwhile, went gold and platinum within six weeks of its release, powered by songs like Livin' on a Prayer. Bon Jovi has sold more than 130 million albums worldwide.
POVERTY, HOMELESSNESS & HUNGER: Founded in 2006, the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation's mission is to "combat issues that force families and individuals into economic despair." Much of this work has focused on poverty and homelessness. The foundation's first major initiative was to rebuild 15 row homes in Philadelphia, close to the arena where the Philadelphia Soul AFL football team plays. More recently, though, the foundation has expanded its efforts nationally.
The foundation operates two JBL Soul Kitchens in New Jersey to address issues of food security and have served more than 61,000 meals. Another hunger-related project of the foundation is The B.E.A.T. Center, a "place where families and individuals can access food, job training and resources to help end the cyclical causes of hunger in Ocean County."
The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation also supports several housing-related projects. JBJ Soul Homes, "a four-story mixed-use development that includes retail, offices and 55 apartment units for formerly homeless and low-income people", was established a few years ago. The JBJ Soul Foundation has also supported places like Joseph's House, a homeless facility in Camden, 180 Turning Lives Around, Covenant House, andPhoenix Pass, Inc. to break ground on new apartment units for temporarily homeless women and their children.
Beyond New Jersey, the foundation has funded affordable housing and shelter for thousands of low-income families across the country and around the world in locations including New York, Colorado, Detroit, Louisiana and South Africa.
It's worth noting that Bon Jovi also has another charitable vehicle called the Bon Jovi Family Foundation, though unlike the Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, it doesn't have much of a web presence or clear guidelines. As well, it was all but depleted of assets in a recent year, so the current status of the vehicle is uncertain. In the past, the vehicle directed funds to places like ACE New York, which works "with homeless men and women throughout New York City, providing job training, work experience and a lifetime support network to help our program participants achieve their goals and establish economic independence"; as well as Operation HeartF.E.L.T., a nonprofit whose mission is to provide "nutritious meals to students and their siblings on weekends, holidays and extended break periods."
LOOKING FORWARD: Bon Jovi is only in his 50s, and should be watched for greater giving down the line.