NBC Nightly News wraps up its weeklong celebrity causes spotlight on "Making a Difference" with country music artist Tim McGraw and his unyielding belief in the power of neighbors to help and influence local communities.
After years of charity work and benefit concerts, Tim McGraw and his wife, Faith Hill, founded Neighbor's Keeper Fund in 2004 to nurture the spirit of neighbors helping neighbors and strengthen communities in need. The two both grew up in small Southern towns where people were always willing to lend a helping hand, and the fund aims to emulate that philosophy.
Neighbor's Keeper focuses mainly on children's initiatives, and funds the work of existing charitable groups who are already working in areas where relief is needed. The fund targets community-focused local organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity in Nashville and St. Jude's Research Hospital, and gives them financial backing to complete their projects.
After Hurricane Katrina devastated areas close to where McGraw and Hill grew up and impacted the lives of numerous friends and relatives, the two were inspired to expand the scope of Neighbor's Keeper. Though the news was flooded with stories of death and displacement, all McGraw could think about were the children affected by the disaster.
"We thought the best way we could help was find a community of people, an organization, that was really addressing the mental health situations for children," says McGraw.
That organization turned out to be Community Initiatives Foundation, which helps traumatized children work out their emotional problems through art therapy. Neighbor's Keeper Fund contributed $1 million to the nonprofit for its projects.
McGraw explains what distinguishes Neighbor's Keeper from other organizations: "We can go straight to the heart of the problem, identity a problem or a situation and put funds directly into it, without any red tape, without any overhead, any committee."
Read McGraw's blog post, "Every Day You Can Make a Difference."
Stay posted for the full-length interview with Tim McGraw.