With the Michael Bolton Charities’ annual “An Evening Under the Stars” event on the horizon, I interviewed Jacqueline Smaga, executive director of the organization. Here, Smaga provides a firsthand look into the establishment and discusses the highly anticipated event.
Q: How did the Michael Bolton Charities get started?
A: Michael founded the Michael Bolton Charities (formerly the Michael Bolton Foundation) in 1993. Prior to its founding, Michael established himself as a household name for producing his own music and having written award-winning songs recorded by various artists. He was being asked by many causes to attend charity events and lend his talent. He eventually realized he could form his own charity and devote it to issues that were important to him—he could be his own “voice.”
Q: What is the mission of the Michael Bolton Charities?
A: Our main mission is to assist in protecting women and children at risk from the lethal effects of domestic violence, abuse, human trafficking, and poverty.
Q: Why is domestic violence a cause Michael is passionate about?
A: Michael believes that domestic violence is not a women’s issue, but rather a human rights issue. He has lobbied in Washington for authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and has met with Congressional members on both sides of the aisle to do so.
Q: Tell me about “An Evening Under the Stars”—how long has this event been around?
A: “An Evening Under the Stars” is our annual Hamptons event with dinner, dancing, and a performance by Michael Bolton. This will be our third year hosting this event, and we are thrilled that board member Scott Seltzer has donated his house as the venue for the evening.
Q: You’re honoring Susan Shin this year. Can you tell me about her philanthropic background with nonprofits and how she got involved with the Michael Bolton Charities?
A: Susan became involved with the Michael Bolton Charities three years ago during our first “An Evening Under the Stars” event, and has since been an advocate and strong supporter of our cause. She came to us initially through a friend of our board member Scott Seltzer. Susan is an active philanthropist who serves on the advisory boards, board of directors, and steering committees of several nonprofit organizations significant to women and children, as well as associations supporting arts and culture. Susan also chairs many galas for these organizations.
Q: Any other notable names this year? Who’s hosting?
A: Our hosts for the evening are Chris Wragge (CBS News Anchor), and Kimberly Gulfoyle (Fox News host of “The Five”).
Q: How can readers get involved with “An Evening Under the Stars” and the Michael Bolton Charities?
A: Tickets to “An Evening Under the Stars” can be purchased at michaelboltoncharities.com, or by calling 203.483.6463. Donations are also welcome.
Don’t miss your chance to attend this special event next weekend!