Scooter Braun helps steer the careers of some of today’s top stars as manager to Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Kanye West, Tori Kelly and more, but despite the glamour his celebrity clientele carries, philanthropy is a cornerstone of his company SB Projects’ philosophy: “One of our core values is doing well by doing good,” the founder’s mission states. “Some wait until the end of their careers to give back to the world. We make it a part of everything that we do.”
Last year, the L.A-based mogul was named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World and was honored with the Humanitarian Award by the Greater Los Angeles chapter of Make-a-Wish. Next May, Braun will receive the Music Business Assn.’s Harry Chapin Memorial Humanitarian Award at the Music Biz 2018 Conference. But it’s never been about the accolades for the industry magnate, who established SB Projects in 2007.
This year, the power broker’s philanthropic mission became more personal than ever, when just 10 days after a terror attack on Ariana Grande’s Manchester Arena concert on May 22, he organized the One Love Manchester benefit for his client. Braun produced the concert, which also featured Bieber, Coldplay, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry and others. The sold-out event, which saw 55,000 attendees descend on the Old Trafford Cricket Ground, just a few miles from where the attack occurred, raised more than $22 million for the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund. Despite the outpouring of love (and funds) that followed, the experience left Braun just wanting to hold his family close.
“Four days later, being with your family is [where] you wanna be,” he says. “It’s the reason you step up to help in the first place, because you have that privilege.”
Braun’s passion for altruism has also helped foster a similar drive in his roster of young clients. “[Ariana] wanted to do whatever she could to help heal a city where a horrific tragedy took place,” the pop star’s mother, Joan Grande, says of her daughter’s response to the tragedy. “She couldn’t think of anything else but getting back here and going to see and visit everyone in the hospital, meeting with the families.”
Braun followed up the benefit’s massive scale and success with another: He executive produced the hour-long “Hand in Hand” telethon for hurricane relief. Airing Sept. 12, the TV special included appearances by George Clooney, Oprah Winfrey, Beyoncé and George Strait. It raised more than $66 million for victims of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. “I hadn’t slept in like seven days,” he reflects on the lead-up to the event. But the moment he’ll never forget? When event co-producer and Houston rapper Bernard “Bun B” Freeman — whom he now describes as “a brother” — tried to heap praise on Braun for the benefit.
“I kept saying to him, Bun, the whole time we were putting this together in L.A., you were driving into neighborhoods that were underwater to deliver food and water and eggs and milk to people who were starving,” he says. “I got to bring him into the room, and he saw all the name cards, and he started crying. To see his idea become a reality, that was the moment I got to step back and be like, we’re here.”
Braun’s philanthropic endeavors extend beyond the scope of SB Projects: he serves as chair of the advisory board of Pencils of Promise, a nonprofit that builds schools in developing countries, and is also on the board of F–k Cancer, an organization co-founded by his wife, Yael Braun. It focuses on prevention and early detection of cancer. He has also helped bring more grants for the Make-a-Wish Foundation than any other organization in its history.
Braun remains firmly dedicated to philanthropy in all aspects of his business.
“In the aftermath of tragedy, it’s important that we take action and care for our neighbors,” Braun says. “People are still in need, and will continue to be for a very long time. We all need to do our part.”