Monthly Archives: June 2009



Thank you to the Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger and especially the first Lady of
California, my friend, Maria Shriver, whose family tradition of service and activism has been an inspiration to generations.

And I want to GIVE my biggest thanks to all of you for attending this National Conference on Volunteerism as we launch the “United We Serve” program.

Just by the nature of this convention, if I’m up here speaking to you, I’m preaching to the converted. You have already embraced -– as a career path or as a charitable endeavor — the needs, challenges and the satisfaction that volunteering can bring to any number of topics we face today.

Many different roads have brought us to this destination, each of us with his or her own unique story to tell. My becoming “this” involved in philanthropy took shape as the co-owner of an arena football team called the Philadelphia Soul. It may seem an odd choice to some but not to me.

I won’t bore you with the details of my buying the franchise but I will tell you this: I thought sport was a unique way to make a difference in our community. You see, from our inception, I didn’t care if you liked Bon Jovi or football. Everyone thinks they have soul (hence, the name.)

And while we were looking to win on the field, winning off the field was equally important. We were looking for men of character, not characters. This was going to be, not only a safe, affordable place where a family could come root for the home team but also, a place where sponsors would be proud to spend their money. So before we played a down, before we sold a ticket, I went to sponsors, both big and small, and explained that I intended to make a difference in sports ownership and in our community. In our first couple of years, whether it was a foster home who needed a playground, a hospice who needed a check, or the local Covenant House who needed beds… if the Soul could be there, we were.

By the spring of 2005, our focus became clearer. We became involved in the issue of affordable housing and in our desire to break the chains of poverty in and around our area. The Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation was born.

Initially, we partnered with organizations like Habitat for Humanity and HELP USA. But it was the mentoring of Sister Mary Scullion and Project H.O.M.E. for which we are most grateful. It was Sister Mary who taught me the important of job training and service providing. These elements were key to the success in and around each of our builds. That something seemingly as simple as basic computer skills are the difference between the quantity and quality of food you can ultimately put on your table…

In the four plus years that we have been at work, we have now helped fun 151 units of affordable housing, not just in Philadelphia but also in places as diverse as Los Angeles, Denver, Detroit, Brooklyn and in my home state of New Jersey.

I didn’t come here today to talk about me but, in fact, to talk about WE… The Power of We and what that means.

We are all aware of the trying economic times we live in. Money is tight everywhere. And yet, the homeless are still homeless, the hungry are still hungry. But there is hope for the hopeless. Volunteerism is on the rise in
America. Maybe it is due to the economy. Or maybe, it’s because we’re reminded that we’re all in this together.

But whether it’s the President’s signing of the Service America Act in the name of Maria’s uncle, Edward Kennedy…

Or the nearly 5,000 of us here today…

Each of us believes we can do it. But as President Obama said, we can’t do it alone.

Government needs to work in concert with non-profits, corporations, and individuals to make what I believe can be a noticeable difference in the places where we live. The cynic will say we can’t fix everything to which I respond, but if each of the hopeful can fix just one thing, imagine what we could do.

Today shines a spotlight on our starting point. It’s Day one of a new season. An era built on the foundation of initiatives like AmeriCorps and City Year. Today we build on that foundation with United We Serve. We’re going to need to sustain the energy captured today and throughout this summer’s initiative. Maybe it’s credits for college kids, maybe it’s tax incentives, maybe it’s just a round table to discuss ideas.

Remember, Michelle Obama not only planted those seeds in the White House garden but she nurtured them. After the photo op, you’ve got to remember, America, roll up your sleeves. Time to get your hands dirty. This journey starts here and now with the first step. President Obama said, “Yes, We Can,” I’m here to say, “Yes, we will,” and someday soon, we’re going to look back and say, “Yes, we did.”

Thank you for all your hard work, for inspiring me and countless others, for showing the country and the world that tomorrow starts now. We’re going to make volunteerism hip. Together and with The Power of We, we can start a revolution. One Soul at a time…

Thank you.



Having previously addressed the same gathering in Washington, D.C. in the Summer of 2005, Jon Bon Jovi spoke to the attendees at the opening session of this year’s conference, sharing his thoughts and visions for volunteerism and charity work, and talking about the success, thus far, of the work done by the Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation.

Bon Jovi represented the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) and shared in the announcement of EIF’s new multi-year campaign to help make service and volunteerism a national priority. Many of the efforts EIF supports lends themselves to projects and mutual organizations with whom the Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation already collaborate.

This event dovetailed with the launch of the Obama Administration’s United We Serve campaign. Dignitaries who addressed the conference included First Lady Michelle Obama, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady, Maria Shriver.

Following his remarks, Jon Bon Jovi performed a short acoustic set, including the hits “Livin’ On A Prayer” and “Who Says You Can’t Go Home?” (He also offered attendees a preview of a yet-to-be-released, new song, “Work For The Working Man,” which speaks to the very issues confronting Americans on the economic and job front these days.)

If you would like to read Jon Bon Jovi’s remarks at the conference, CLICK HERE

For more information on the National Conference on Volunteering and Service, CLICK HERE.

If you are interested in learning more about the Summer of Service being championed through the White House’s United We Serve program, CLICK HERE.

Following is the Official Media Alert issued with regards to Jon Bon Jovi’s participation and attendance at this event.

Jon Bon Jovi performs a 3-song set at the 2009 Nat'l Conference for Service and Volunteering

EIF Announces New Nationwide Service Initiative with Wide-Spread Industry Support at San Francisco Conference, Monday, June 22, 2009


On behalf of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, Jon Bon Jovi and Matthew McConaughey will make special appearances at the National Conference for Service and Volunteering. To an audience of more than 4,500 service leaders, they will share plans for EIF’s new multi-year campaign to help make service and volunteerism a national priority. Hollywood’s leading charity has received wide-spread support from the entertainment industry, and, later this year, will launch an unprecedented campaign beginning October 19th. As a center piece, broadcast networks will use America’s favorite TV shows and personalities to shine a spotlight on the power of service. Additionally, EIF is joining with AARP and the power of its nearly 40 million members, and is working with the ServiceNation coalition of 200 service organizations and the Points of Light / HandsOn Network to build a grassroots movement.

At the opening session, Jon Bon Jovi will address the conference and play a short musical set to celebrte the year-round work of hundreds of service organizations represented at the event. Matthew McConaughey will introduce a brief video that will give the group a sneak peak at what EIF and the entertainment industry have planned. Both are longtime supporters of service. As the founder of the Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation, Jon Bon Jovi has taken up the fight against homelessness and poverty across the country. Likewise, Matthew McConaughey’s charitable organization, j.k. livin foundation, is working to bring after-school fitness and wellness prograrms to underserved communities nationwide.

Earlier this year, President Barack Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, a bipartisan act calling for the largest expansions of community and national service since the launch of the Civilian Conservation Corps 75 years ago.

About EIF:
The Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), as a leading chariable organization of the entertainment industry, has distributed hundreds of millions of dollars to support charitable initiatives addressing critical health, education and social issues.

For more information about EIF, please CLICK HERE