Dancing Under the Stars with Michael Bolton in the Name of Ending Domestic Violence
Michael Bolton, photos by Linda Buyer
Every nine seconds, a woman in the United States is assaulted or beaten by her partner. And as many as 324,000 women each year experience violence inflicted by their partners during pregnancy. Additionally, more than 50% of all homeless women and children in America are fleeing from domestic violence. And domestic violence costs $37 billion a year in legal work, law enforcement involvement, mental health treatment and lost productivity at companies, Progress regarding awareness is being made, but there is much to be done to eradicate domestic violence.
Michael Bolton, the force behind Michael Bolton Charities, which has raised more than $10 million to benefit more than 100 organizations across the country, is trying to stamp out domestic violence for good. Below, he spoke exclusively to www.CelebrityEverything.com about his inspiration for his charities and what it will take to eradicate domestic violence.
At the “Under the Stars with Michael Bolton” fete, More than 200 guests congregated at a private home in Bridgehampton, NY, to support his cause and do their part in helping women and children at risk. Guests including presenter Bill O’Reilly, host of Fox News’ “The Factor,” danced, dined, participated in a live auction and were treated to a Michael Bolton performance, amidst a touching acknowledgement of Ali and Joe Torre (former manager of the New York Yankees) for their worm with their Safe at Home Foundation.
“Michael Bolton has been so supportive of our Safe at Home Foundation for as many years as I can remember,” Joe began his acceptance speech. “It’s not about just showing up; it’s being so passionate about it and that means a lot. The work that Ali and I are doing now was made possible by Major League Baseball. Being in our positions, people actually return our phone calls!”
“I grew up in a home where my dad abused my mom. I heard him throw dishes against the wall and I saw the results of his abuse. One night my sister once went into the kitchen with a knife to protect my mom, and my dad went to a drawer to get his revolver. This is how I grew up. I was born with low self-esteem, as a nervous kid, and it wasn’t until later in life when I got fired and my wife was pregnant and asked me to go to a seminar. I stood up in front of perfect strangers and was crying my eyes out. It was at that time that I realized all the fear I felt – all the nervousness and insecurity – my dad caused me to feel the way I did. I was glad because I wasn’t born that way; it was something that was created. And that is what started the Safe at Home Foundation and it was my wife Ali’s idea to do it through education. We were in the Family Justice Centers and it has been great work. We have had more than 55,000 kids come through our program and let them know this is not their fault and they are not alone.”
“Through this work and working with the Defending Child Taskforce with the President, you realize how many different layers of violence and abuse are out there. When we put our arms around these kids’ shoulders, we let them know there is a future for them, and that they will come out fine on the other end. If there isn’t education in this area, these kids will go out in the world and follow the strongest personality, and that won’t always be a positive experience for them. Knowing the work Michael has done and how passionate he is, we realize these kids, who may not have our same last name, are still our responsibility. So on behalf of the Safe at Home Foundation and my wife Ali, I’m honored to receive this recognition.
Michael Bolton stopped by to chat with www.CelebrityEverything.com about his Charities and what this event means to him.
“This event means more and more every year – we’re going on 24 years now. It’s powerful for me tonight honoring the work Joe Torre does. He was so connected with my childhood, I always look forward to hearing him speak. This is a fun night, a lot of fun people, and a skewed demographic – lots of young people. I’m happy they showed up and showed us support. And it’s an eclectic audience – Bill O’Reilly! That was a first.
Q: What was your inspiration for starting Michael Bolton Charities?
Michael Bolton: Help people particularly women and children suffering from economic hardship and giving them opportunities and support. When I met Jackie Smaga (Executive Director of The Michael Bolton Charities), I said, ‘This is what I want to do and I can help.’ She came back to me and said that people out there are in shelters, who are in trouble and need to escape this violence.
Q: What do you think it will take to eradicate domestic violence?
Money, politicians’ support, resources and more awareness – all of that. And people feeling comfortable about breaking their silence about it and talking about it. This is real and it doesn’t survive in the light. We need to bring this to light.
Q: Where else do you hold Under the Stars?
We mix it up. We have an event in California, Connecticut, we connect golf and tennis with it – Andre Agassi helps us get started. We just keep looking for places to have fun doing this – not out of obligation but fun. We’re already talking about next year again in the Hamptons.
Do you have a home here in the Hamptons?
No I live in Connecticut but come to admire the good life (smiles).
What do you like most about the Hamptons?
I have a lot of good friends out here and it’s very beautiful.