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Warren Buffett is undoubtedly one of the most well-known philanthropists in the world and his son, Peter, has followed in his charitable footsteps.  A professional musician and lifelong altruist, Peter recently discussed the intersection of music and philanthropy in an interview with NPR.   Peter perfectly summarized the commitment and challenges that he, as a philanthropist, and all charitable organizations, juggle on a daily basis when he said:  

“It could be easy to give money away if you just wanted to be popular. Because you can give to all sorts of things and go to all sorts of parties and have my name on all sorts of things. It’s much harder to give in a systemic way and go upstream to fix what’s causing the problems in the first place--that’s a much heavier lift.”

We can relate. Operating in more than 74 countries, our Hard Rock Heals Foundation received close to 100 grant requests in our first ever granting season – and we expect even more in 2017!   Every grant submission is led by a Hard Rock Cafe location and goes through an intense vetting process where we carefully review each charity’s commitment to music and its impact on their community.   The grant – funded through donations, Heals merchandise purchases, and local campaigns – not only includes the designated financial assistance but also gifts ongoing support from their local Hard Rock Cafe team through volunteerism and brand partnership. 

Hear the whole interview with Peter Buffet and stay tuned for year end announcement of our 2017 grant recipients!

English/Nigerian Vocalist Granted Ultimate Performance at Upcoming Hard Rock Stadium Halftime Show

After an intense three-month search, Hard Rock is proud to announce Park City, Utah resident Alex Boyé as the 2017 grand prize winner of its annual Hard Rock Rising Battle of the Bands competition. Alex Boyé rocked the local stage first at Hard Rock Cafe Denver and eventually beat more than 6,000 other artists worldwide with his one-of-a-kind African-pop fusion sound. As the grand prize winner, Boyé will perform during halftime at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida on December 11, 2017 when the Miami Dolphins take on the New England Patriots for Monday Night Football. Boyé will also take home $1,000 USD, a 1,000 count CD/DVD pack of his latest recording from Bison Disc, a Fender Instrument prize pack and will have the opportunity to shoot a professionally produced music video, which will be added to Hard Rock’s world-wide video system.

Alex Boyé dominated the competition during the live music battle on May 25 at Hard Rock Cafe Denver where he performed a set of original material backed by an incredible group of musicians. An international panel of music industry professionals then selected Boyé from the 108 local winners and crowned him Hard Rock Rising Artist of the Year for 2017. 

“The talent this year was truly amazing, which made determining a winner harder than it’s ever been,” said Jeff Nolan, Hard Rock International’s Music and Memorabilia Historian. “Ultimately, Alex Boyé made a lasting impression with his savvy songwriting and undeniable charisma. We look forward to working with him and are confident his performance at Hard Rock Stadium will be a show-stopper.”

The core of any charity organization is the people.  People that exhibit the passion of the cause and carry its torch every day.  The Hard Rock Heals Foundation, through its work with Musicians On Call, celebrates Jeremy Bar-Illan who, after losing his young son to cancer, turned his pain to passion and now brings joy to hospital patients year round.  Below is an excerpt from People.com’s human interest story featuring Jeremy and how volunteering with Musicians On Call results in healing of patients and volunteers, alike.    

Musician Jeremy Bar-Illan spent over a year watching his 17-year-old son, Zachary, suffer from osteosarcoma — a type of cancer that starts in the bones. After his tragic death, the grieving father vowed to always keep his son’s memory alive…

“Music was always my passion,” says Bar-Illan, himself a life long musician. who is from New York City. “The shock of losing my son was the incentive to say that life is too short and I can’t keep on doing something I detest. I needed to really find where I belonged.”

The last thing he expected was for that passion to bring him right back to the hospital.

After meeting a fellow guitar player, he learned about Musicians On Call, an organization that has been bringing live music to patient’s bedsides since 1999.

All it took was one visit and Bar-Illan was hooked.

“I was completely blown away by not only the experience of what music could do for the patients, but also by how much it filled me up and helped me go forward,” Bar-Illan says. “Instead of feeling like I couldn’t be there, it felt like I belonged there.”

Read full article on People.com

DEAL COMPLETE AND RENOVATIONS SET TO BEGIN IMMEDIATELY 

Atlantic City, N.J. – April 5, 2017 – Today, Hard Rock International officially announced the completed acquisition as well as unveiled plans for the launch and significant redevelopment of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City. Dignitaries including Governor Chris Christie, Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian, Hard Rock International Chairman Jim Allen and Senate President Stephen Sweeney, as well as local representatives, gathered to learn more about the momentous opportunity the project will bring to Atlantic City.  The former Taj Mahal building will undergo an all-encompassing $375 million renovation and reopen in summer 2018. The upcoming Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City is situated on 17-acres of prime Boardwalk real estate, offering vast views of the city and Atlantic Ocean.

Impacting local and regional economies, as well as contributing to the revitalization of Atlantic City, the partnership between Hard Rock International and the Morris and Jingoli families will create more than 1,000 jobs during construction and 3,000 permanent jobs. Since the transaction on March 31, Hard Rock has already hired 23 employees as it sets out to bring the once iconic property back to life. 

Hard Rock Heals Foundation supporter given the Leonard Bernstein Lifetime Achievement Award!

We’ve talked about Vijay Gupta before on this blog, and for good reason.  Ted Talk veteran,  killer violinist, humanitarian, and co founder of one of our favorite music charities,  Street Symphony, Vijay is an advocate for the power of music to improve lives.  Kudos, friend! 

Learn more

NEW OWNERSHIP GROUP WILL INVEST MORE THAN $300 MILLION TO OPEN REBRANDED HARD ROCK HOTEL & CASINO ATLANTIC CITY

Orlando, FL – March 1, 2017 – Hard Rock International unveils plans for Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City. Today, Hard Rock and its partners announced they have reached a definitive agreement with a wholly-owned subsidiary of investor Carl Icahn to purchase Atlantic City’s former Taj Mahal.

Hard Rock International will be majority owner of the rebranded Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City in partnership with the Morris and Jingoli families. The group will invest more than $300 million to purchase, substantially renovate and re-open the casino.

“We are excited to be part of this revitalization of Atlantic City creating thousands of jobs to help local employment,” states Jim Allen, chairman of Hard Rock International. “We are 100 percent convinced Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City will be a success.”

We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of artist, graphic designer and illustrator Alan Aldridge this past weekend. While Mr. Aldridge was best known for his work with legendary artists like The Beatles and The Who, he was also the creator of the iconic Hard Rock Cafe logo and as such a member of the Hard Rock family. Mr. Aldridge was hired by Hard Rock's founders to design t-shirts for a local football team sponsored by the original London cafe. The shirts and logo, much like their designer, became a cultural phenomenon.

If you’ve  ever seen “The Soloist,” starring Jamie Foxx, you are already familiar with Nathaniel Ayers’s story. The 2009 film was based on the life of Ayers, a Julliard-educated musician who has struggled with schizophrenia and homelessness throughout his life.  After a chance meeting with Los Angeles Times columnist, Steve Lopez, Ayers was introduced to Adam Crane and Vijay Gupta of the LA Philharmonic.  This relationship placed Nathaniel on the road to recovery and led to the creation of Street Symphony, a charity focusing on bringing music to the disenfranchised community of Los Angeles’s Skid Row. 

Read more about Nathaniel, Street Symphony, and listen to a recent NPR story that includes the story of soldier returning home from Desert Storm and how music has helped him heal. 

Limited-Time, Edition 35 Merchandise Benefits SLAM Foundation 

Orlando, Fla., January 16, 2017 – GRAMMY® Award-winning, international superstar Pitbull and the Hard Rock Heals Foundation are hitting the stage with the release of the brand’s latest merchandise line on Monday, January 16, 2017. The Pitbull Signature Series: Edition 35 shirt, inspired by the global star, Mr. Worldwide, supports the SLAM Foundation to help advance learning opportunities for children around the world. 

“Music and education have always been a driving force in my life,” said Pitbull. “Partnering with the Hard Rock Heals Foundation for my Signature Series shirt will benefit SLAM! (Sports, Leadership, Arts and Management) in its effort to help students from all walks of life achieve their highest potential.”

“Pitbull and Hard Rock understand how imperative it is to invest in our future through the education of children,” said Kellie Brown, Philanthropy Manager for Hard Rock International. “Pitbull has been a supporter of the Hard Rock brand, and we are honored to collaborate with him on this Signature Series program that we know will have an impact on children around the globe.”  

A percentage of the retail price of each Pitbull Signature Series shirt sold will be donated to SLAM through the Hard Rock Heals Foundation. The new Signature Series shirt features Pitbull’s famous moniker, “Mr. Worldwide,” in vibrant turquoise and pink lettering in homage to his Miami upbringing. The limited-edition black shirt is available in men’s and women’s sizes and can be purchased online and at participating Rock Shops at Hard Rock Cafe, Hotel and Casino properties around the world.

Following Black Friday, Shop Small Saturday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday is a day to focus on giving back to organizations that speak to your passion.  Learn more here.  Happy giving!!!!

 

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