Established by Michael Bolton as an instrument of compassion and action, The Michael Bolton Charities envisions a world free of domestic violence and abuse. Founded in 1993, the mission of The MBC is to provide assistance to women and children impacted by the devastating effects of domestic violence, sexual, physical and emotional abuse through initiatives and programs that work to end these tragic cycles of violence and abuse.
Through the years, our driving objective has remained clear: direct funds to programs and organizations providing direct services to those in need as we search for solutions to the issues that put children and women at risk. We work towards fostering dynamic social change – to break the cycle of domestic violence, poverty, abuse and homelessness through innovative initiatives.
From day one, with Michael Bolton’s active involvement and committed leadership, the focus of The MBC has been on issues which adversely affect children and women at risk. These issues include domestic and street violence, poverty, abuse, neglect, AIDS and homelessness. It began in 1993 with a handful of volunteers building a playground in a dangerous drug-infested New Haven neighborhood, providing children a safe place to play outdoors – beyond the sanctuary of the local church basement.
Over $11 million has been raised from contributions and net income from special events, benefiting more than 100 organizations in cities across the country – highly regarded and accredited agencies providing direct services to children and women at risk. Collaborations on innovative solutions, programs and projects that provide critically needed services are responding to immense challenges and compelling needs, making a difference in individual lives and the life of communities across our country. Without our support, many of these services simply might not exist.
The major focus of The MBC is in the area of violence against women. Michael joined forces with coalitions of women’s groups and members of Congress to pass the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Michael, personally, has continued to devote his time to draw attention to the domestic violence epidemic and to enlist other men to raise their voices for zero tolerance on the issue. He has directed his foundation to do whatever possible to secure continued and additional funding to keep our shelters open, our educational programs functioning, and our children and women safe.
Innovation has always been a major driving force of The MBC. Five years ago, after extensive research, The MBC determined that a highly personalized music therapy program possesses the potential for life-changing impact as a powerful and critical tool in the healing process. The result: development of The Michael Bolton Charities’ Beyond Trauma: Youth Music Therapy program, a one-of-a-kind groundbreaking initiative. Through the Andie Koplik Residency in Music Therapy, the program reaches high risk students who have a history of acute trauma, many in the clinical range for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
The program, launched just a few years ago, is operating at the Riverside Opportunity Academy in New Haven, CT, and the Bennie Dover Jackson Multi-Magnet Middle School in New London, CT. The program meets kids where they are and builds from there, better enabling them to alter the precarious path their lives are on. Students become empowered by their own musical creations, benefitting from the chance to express themselves in a non-threatening and creative way.
Independent evaluations reflect that with both age groups, the music therapy program is providing evidence of a “life-changing” impact. Evaluations have noted that the breakthrough program has made “demonstrable impacts on the participating students in the areas of their emotions, their sense of mastery and creation, and their openness to new and challenging experiences. Many are used to failing, particularly at school. (The program) gives these students an opportunity to both become self-aware of these issues and obstacles and to begin to tackle and overcome them.”
Plans are under discussion to replicate the program in communities elsewhere in the U.S., and in varied settings, both within and outside the school environment.
For more on the Beyond Trauma program, click here; for more on the impact of music therapy on young people grappling with trauma, click here.