Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame musician and humanitarian Matt Sorum (GUNS N' ROSES, VELVET REVOLVER) partnered with philanthropist and South Asian rock star Shehzad Roy to raise the quality of public education and to increase funding for the arts in underprivileged schools — at an international level.
The Peace Through Music Gala took place this past Sunday, September 15 at Wolfgang Puck's Ray Dolby Ballroom - Loews Hollywood Hotel and raised over $275,000. Featuring live auction with items donated by the celebrities, the red-carpet gala boasted performances by Matt Sorum, and Shehzad Roy, Macy Gray, Slash (GUNS N' ROSES, VELVET REVOLVER), Gilby Clarke (GUNS N' ROSES), as well as, appearances by Jane Lynch ("Glee"), Mark McGrath (SUGAR RAY), Danny Masterson ("That '70s Show"), Johnathan Schaech ("Ray Donovan") and many more guests.
Video footage of the event can be seen below.
According to Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), 50% of the 535 elementary schools' in the district are not receiving arts education due to budget cuts. 80% of its students live at or below the poverty line, so they do not have access to the arts outside of school either, explains Matt Sorum. "Kids learn four times better with music and arts, without which, their education suffers and we lose a creative force of the future."
"We founded Zindagi Trust to help the 10 million children in Pakistan employed in child labor," says Shehzad Roy, "I soon realized over 85% of school-going children only have access to government schools plagued with low teacher attendance, dilapidated facilities, and a curriculum that encourages rote-learning. Only through government school reform, can all children get quality education." Zindagi Trust now works to reform public schools, educate working children, and lobby the government to improve education policy in Pakistan.
Separated by 8000 miles — Adopt The Arts and Zindagi Trust — are two nonprofits with similar missions founded by musicians, that led Adopt The Arts co-founder Abby Berman, and activist-writer Sadia Ashraf, to collaborate on the Gala to build bridges between different cultures. Jane Lynch, who serves on the board of Adopt The Arts, said in support of the event, "Music is a universal language that unites us all, regardless of our backgrounds. Arts help kids think critically and perform better in school making them adults who contribute more to society."
All proceeds will benefit both organizations: disbursed towards girl's education in Pakistan through Zindagi Trust's schools; and Adopt The Arts support of a school in Compton as well as the only school in the district that serves blind children in Los Angeles.
Pictured (from left to right in above photo): Matt Sorum; Abby Berman, co-founder of Adopt The Arts; Jane Lynch, actress and board member of Adopt The Arts. Photo credit: Chelsea Lauren