|Keith Uerban (Rick Diamond, Getty images)|
“One of the questions I get asked a lot is, ‘What is country music?'” Urban said from stage. “There’s always so many answers to that, but the one thing I really believe to be true, no matter where you come from, is, it’s about community.”
For the New Zealand-born star, giving back is a personal mission, thanks in part to a traumatic event from his own childhood.
“When I was nine, my parents had joined a country music club in Brisbane [Queensland, Australia].
We’d been members for about a year, and the year after we joined, we lived in a little rural town called Caboolture [also in Queensland], and our house burned down. We were all okay, but we lost all of our belongings, which wasn’t much, but it was everything we had,” Urban recalls. “Without hesitation, our country music club immediately put on a fundraiser for us. Organizations like the Red Cross stepped in and helped us with clothing, Goodwill stepped in, and it was so apparent to me, right from the age of nine, that this is what it’s about.”
Urban says that he’s “extremely grateful” to be able to shine a spotlight, through his career, on the causes that are important to him.
The Boot reports Urban is actively involved in the All for the Hall benefit concert, which raises money for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and is on the advisory board of and supports St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. He also supports the Make-a-Wish Foundation, the Grammy in the Schools program, the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation and the Navy SEALS Foundation.
“Keith Urban is a true humanitarian who gives out of love, passion, spirit and generosity,” says CRS Executive Director Bill Mayne. “It’s been an honor to witness quietly from the sidelines, the amount of time, talent and passion that Keith has selflessly given over his life and career. The impact and reach of his generosity has effected so many and is so broad in scope and depth — his is a bar of humanitarian effort, that we all can be inspired by!”
Past recipients of the CRS Artist Humanitarian Award include Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Trace Adkins, Randy Owen, Toby Keith, Brad Paisley, Brooks & Dunn, Reba McEntire, Vince Gill, Garth Brooks and Charlie Daniels, among others. The honor’s 2015 recipients, Lady Antebellum, were on hand to present Urban his trophy.