Since rocketing to fame as Lady Antebellum, it’s no secret that Charles Kelley, Dave Haywood and Hillary Scott have always been ready and willing to use their time and resources to help those in need. Today (Dec. 3) they announced LadyAID, a multi-level organization that will support several causes close to their hearts.
“The overall idea behind LadyAID is wanting to support, protect and help children all over the world — locally, nationally and globally,” Hillary shared during a press conference at Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center, where the trio will perform a Christmas concert this evening in support of their new holiday album On This Winter’s Night.
“LadyAID is going to encompass a lot of different organizations with one main goal, which is to help kids,” Charles says.
The members of Lady A have designated five organizations that will benefit from LadyAID. They are Nashville’s Monroe Carrell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt; St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN; Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals which supports 170 nonprofit children’s hospitals in North America; the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, established in 1950 to aid people across the globe and myLIFEspeaks, an organization dedicated to speaking up for underprivileged people around the world who can’t speak for themselves. Hillary is actively involved in myLIFEspeaks and has visits Haiti to work with the organization.
“The three of us are individually passionate about different things, helping different organizations and giving our time. The three of us collectively realized what we could potentially do together after Henryville, after we went and did the concert and raised money for Henryville High School,” Hillary says, referencing the Indiana high school devastated earlier this year by a tornado.
“The one thing we’ve always agreed on was helping kids,” Charles adds. “There’s just so much need out there.”
In looking for ways to be of greater assistance to those in need, the trio decided to launch LadyAID. “There are a lot of things we’d love to give to,” Dave says, “but this is the one umbrella organization that we can start as a band and this will be the way we can do a fundraiser, raise funds and donate to these specific charities. After visiting the Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, it’s really cool to be able to have and organization so we can give directly to them and to myLIFEspeaks, the UN and Children’s Miracle Network. For us, this is a way we can do it all in one place and have one joint effort.”
The trio is enthusiastic about the possibilities as they launch this new initiative. “I think we can raise a lot more money with this joint effort and that’s the goal,” Charles says. “Like Hillary said, individually we can do all these things, but when it’s under Lady Antebellum, we can raise more money and create more awareness.”
LadyAID will be funded by donations and special events including PING PONG & SONGS, a fundraiser slated for early 2013 which incorporates two of their favorite activities — songwriting and ping pong.
During the press conference, CMA Chief Executive Officer Steve Moore presented the group with the CMA International Artist Achievement Award. “We’re so honored,” Hillary said. “This year especially, being able to take our tour to Europe and then to Australia, and meet even more of our fans all over the world, and to take Country Music that far, we don’t take that lightly. We really, truly do want to make this town and the Country Music community proud when we go overseas and perform.”
As Lady Antebellum has become more and more successful around the world, it was obvious from this morning’s event that Hillary, Dave and Charles are still the same friendly, down to earth young singer/songwriters who first gained a following performing around Nashville.
“We don’t feel like stars at all, but we do recognize we do have a platform,” Dave says. “We want to speak up now. We want to have an organization that can wave the flag for kids. We want to raise our voice for those in need.”
“We realize people do listen to us. We want to encourage people to get involved,” Hillary says, noting that fans can either donate time or money or both. “The first time I ever traveled to Haiti, to a third world country, I thought like a lot of people do before they go on a trip like this, ‘I’m going to go and hug some babies and make other people feel better.’ What you don’t understand until you get there is that what you learn, what you see and experience is that you are so much more blessed by what you experience. Getting things is really fun and exciting, but there’s nothing better than giving someone a gift or a hug and seeing the pure joy on their face. There’s nothing better than that.”