When the general public contemplates Amy Jade Winehouse, they ordinarily think of her as a world famous artist, living an extravagant lifestyle; surrounded by wealth, security, paparazzi and controversy. Seldom does that public think about AJW in the context of what she always held as a top-tier tenet of her life: Giving back via generous support of sundry charitable causes.
AJW never stood on mountains and shouted, “Watch me be charitable.” She did most of her good deeds in the closet, as the maxim of all higher-powers dictates is proper. Tax deductions and public praise were never any element of her quiet generosity; she was compelled to help by the innate decency and compassion of her heart, mind and conscience.
History will be hard pressed to find honest philanthropy mavens who can testify that AJW ever said, “no, no, no,” when she was asked to be supportive of worthwhile charitable endeavors. She was known in many circles as a soft touch. “Ask Amy, she’ll do it,” was a common refrain inside of the charity community.
When breast cancer awareness needed a bump, AJW bared it all for the cause. When Nelson Madela’s 90th birthday charity-concert asked, AJW rose from a hospital bed to perform. When Caribbean groups needed help encouraging young musicians, AJW got it done. When hearing loss became an issue in developing countries, AJW’s cash could be heard loud and clear. When the Born HIV Free campaign needed a soundtrack for its award winning film, Baby In The Sky, AJW delivered Back To Black at no charge. When stalking paps discovered that AJW had repeatedly donated scores-of-thousands-of-dollars worth of designer clothes to thrift shops in poor neighborhoods, some in the media simply noted that she had “too many clothes, anyway.” When AJW encountered sick folks unable to pay for medical care, she picked up the tab and shunned any thanks for the kindness. When there was pain and a chance to heal it, need and a chance to meet it, AJW was the go-to woman. Yet, who knew?
Some of the philanthropic causes that AJW quietly supported:
21st Century Leaders – Helps support the philanthropy of Whatever It Takes, a charity artwork project that gathers art from leaders in all fields – royalty, film, music, Nobel Peace Prize laureates, sports, literature, theatre, media – and sells it to raise funds for nonprofits chosen by each contributing leader. Organizations supported include: Adopt-A-Minefield, Anti-Slavery International, Breast Cancer Campaign, CARE, Children of the Andes, Children’s Medical Research Institute, Christian Children’s Fund, City at Peace, Comic Relief, Dreams Can Be Foundation, Great Ormond Street Hospital, Greenpeace, Healthlink Worldwide, Heifer International, Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, Red Cross, LIFEbeat, LifeLine & Rape Crisis PMB, Opportunity International, Oxfam, ROTA, Rights and Humanity, S.A.F.E., Save the Children, Sharon Osborne Colon Cancer Program, Snoop Youth Football League, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Teenage Cancer Trust, The BRIT Trust, Christina Noble Children’s Foundation, Little Dreams Foundation, Lotus Outreach, Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, Toothfairy Foundation, Trade Plus Aid, UNHCR, UNICEF, WaterAid, World Neighbors.
Global Fund – Has committed more than $5.4 BILLION – in 150 countries – to fund the fight against AIDS, TB and malaria.
Hear The World – Is an initiative by hearing aid manufacturer Phonak that works to raise awareness about hearing loss and to promote good hearing around the globe. The goal of the organization is to educate the general public about the importance of hearing loss prevention, the social and emotional impacts of hearing loss in third-world countries, and the solutions available for persons suffering hearing loss.
BID 2 BEAT AIDS – Is an annual entertainment memorabilia auction, with proceeds going to LIFEbeat. Among the hundreds of items available for bid are signed photographs of stars, original art, costumes and props, signed CDs and memorabilia, and celebrity meet-and-greet opportunities at many exclusive events.
LIFEbeat – Is dedicated to reaching America’s youth with the message of HIV/AIDS prevention. The organization mobilizes the talents and resources of the music industry to raise awareness and to provide support to the AIDS community.
Save The Music Foundation – Works to help improve the availability and quality of music education in America’s public schools, by funding the restoration of music programs in cities across the country, and by raising awareness about the importance of musical training to our nation’s youth.
V-Day – Is a global movement to stop violence against women and girls. It promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise money and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations. V-Day draws attention to the fight to stop violence against women and girls, including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation, and sexual slavery.
The stories of AJW’s generosity to her friends in need – as well as to total strangers – are legion. Any mention of such kindness in her presence was likely to be met by her with “shadup,” or “intnuffin,” or “fugedaboutit.” The next time that those who know slight truth of AJW write a check to their fave charity, they should contemplate that charity never walks alone. And, perhaps, note that Amy Jade Winehouse had much more in common with each of them than they had ever imagined.
AJW does not need to be recalled as greater in the arms of the angels than she was when she walked with us. There is no movement to create Saint Amy in the public mind, but a tiny penny’s worth of recognition for her unheralded and never promoted giving nature is warranted. Those of us who love her and think of her as the JadeMermaid Princess do so not only because of her great artistic achievements, but also because she was graced with the “generosity and decency genes.” She made us all strive to be better and more compassionate humans.
Now, in her absence, many are engaged in efforts to continue the construction of what is destined to become AJW’s most important legacy: The Amy Winehouse Foundation. Those of us who work from the sidelines to cheer and encourage that organization, respectfully request that celebrities who worked with AJW on behalf of their own favorite charities, now step forward and lend their public support to the AWF.
Some high-profile celebs have already been extremely generous with their names and resources in support of the AWF, and many more are needed to help build awareness about the foundation’s great work. If you know any celebs who might want to help the AWF grow, please don’t be too shy to chat them up about the opportunity. If you are a celeb, large or likkle, please step up. AJW would say, “Fanks!”
Here is a link to the AWF website:
Celebrity or fan, please visit, learn and step up.