While David Foster’s music accomplishments have been widely celebrated, the Grammy-winning multihyphenate wants to be remembered for more than just his composing, writing and producing.
“Foster wants his foundation to be his lasting legacy, not his music,” says Mike Ravenhill, the CEO of the David Foster Foundation, an organization that provides financial assistance for struggling families whose children are undergoing organ transplants.
The foundation came into fruition after Foster visited the child of a family friend who was waiting to receive a liver transplant at the UCLA Medical Center. “He asked the little girl what she wanted, thinking she might want to visit Disneyland, but her only request was to see her sister,” says Allison Jones, Foster’s daughter and secretary to the org’s board.
Foster realized that there was a huge gap in the Canadian family’s health care, which left families strapped with equally burdensome non-medical expenses. After paying for the patient’s sister to fly from British Columbia to Los Angeles, Foster felt compelled to continue supporting families in similar circumstances with everything from mortgages to hotel and transport expenses.
“It’s life changing for these families when they discover their child is sick and they have to leave home to other Canadian provinces or the United States in order to receive care,” says Jones, who is also the director of business and stakeholder relations for the organization. “The great thing about our foundation is that we see the immediate results of those benefitting.”
Adds Ravenhill: “85% of families who experience this either end up in divorce or file for bankruptcy unless we step in.”
The Foundation, based in Foster’s hometown Victoria, now provides assistance to all provinces of Canada and has helped more than 780 families since its inception in 1986.
In addition to corporate sponsors Telus and airline WestJet, Foster has also recruited members of the music industry to raise awareness for his cause. The Foundation hosted its 25th inaugural Miracle Concert last May, which featured performances by Josh Groban, Kenny G, Ruben Stubbard and Sarah McLachlan. The concert raised more than $6 million for the David Foster Foundation.
“As a father it was devastating for him to see these families suffer,” Jones says about the reasons motivating Foster’s philanthropy. “I think he just wanted to make the world a better place for all of our children.”