Music with a heart: Songsmith gives back

Money donated for schools, the elderly, animals

With dozens of top-10 hits and earnings well into the millions, Diane Warren has given back to the community, contributing generously to several causes that are important to the songwriter.

In conjunction with cabler VH1’s Save the Music Program, which delivers musical instruments to hundreds of junior and senior high schools across the country, Warren has underwritten the cost of providing sheet music to the students as part of the program. She became involved through the ASCAP Foundation, an arm of the music org that nurtures talent and is actively involved in community affairs, trying to figure out a way to contribute to the musical education of America’s youth.

“Initially, she approached us about finding a way to get involved with something meaningful in people’s lives,” says Karen Sherry, VP and executive director for the ASCAP Foundation. “Knowing how she feels about music education, she said she wanted to give people the chance for the same kind of success that she experienced.”

The VH1 program, which began 1997 and raised $1 million in instruments for New York City schools its first year, works in 32 cities around the country.

“Diane is very excited about this,” Sherry adds. “She has been wanting to give back in some way and when we talked about this particular program, she was very interested.”

Warren also joins many in the show business community who are vocal members of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

“She’s a generous member and helped build up our credibility in the music industry,” PETA spokesman Joey Penello says from the org’s home base in Virginia. “Once you have people like her signing on, it’s a big plus.”

In addition, Warren has donated to several causes that aid in helping the elderly, including two in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley: the Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging and the Organization for the Needs of the Elderly.

“Diane is a very special person. She truly understands the needs of the elderly in our community and is always there to help,” says Marilyn Fried, executive director of ONE. “We honored her last year at a fashion show luncheon. She’s a generous sponsor.”

Another activity at ONE that Warren has contributed toward is the annual Intergenerational Walk, where families walk several miles raising funds. The money raised goes to worthwhile causes, including providing meals and transportation for seniors, as well as scholarships for adult day care.

At the L.A. Jewish Home for the Aging, Warren is involved with the pet-therapy program, where animals — dogs, cats, rabbits and other small domesticated pets — are brought in for a few hours every other week to bond with the residents.

And in keeping with her musical background, the songwriter founded and funds the Davis S. Warren Entertainment Series, named after her father, where singers, dancers and other entertainers come and perform for the residents.

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