Southern Generosity – How Zac Brown Is Leveraging His Music to Make a Difference

Photo courtesy of Danny Clinch

Zac Brown Band

Yes, I am among the tens of millions of people who have sung along (albeit not well) to “Chicken Fried,” “Free,” “Highway 20 Ride,” and many more of Zac Brown Band’s mega hits.

Brown’s songs have an inescapable power that has captivated plenty across America. Equally powerful is the story of the man beyond the music and his awe-inspiring commitment to helping others.

One need only to attend a Zac Brown Band concert to experience how Brown and his team beautifully weave a tapestry of social good, sonic exuberance, and purpose in life into a fine work of art. Whether it’s with a tribute to the military or his passion project, Camp Southern Ground, Brown has perfected this integration like a fine artist, masterfully uniting others to join in his pursuit of social impact for the greater good.

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Zac Brown Band in Concert – Photo courtesy of Southern Reel

Brown’s genuine commitment to purpose rings through as he shares his personal experiences as a camp counselor and just how much a positive camp experience can have in transforming a child’s life. Time and time again, the Grammy Award-winner brims with emotion as he reflects on the camp, which serves children ages 7-17 by teaching them healthy life skills including nutrition and physical exercise.

But this is not just any camp. Committed to children with both typical and special needs, the camp offers activities to challenge, educate, and inspire children with diverse abilities from all socioeconomic backgrounds, races, and religions. Aside from the many traditional camp activities that foster youth development and create teachable moments for campers, the camp also embraces the latest innovative therapies and technology. They have specific treatments and programs designed for children affected by neurobehavioral disorders, including Asperger’s, Tourette’s, and autism spectrum disorders, as well as learning differences such as ADD/ADHD and dyslexia.

Invariably, concert after concert, fans are touched by the incredible work of the camp and becoming part of the growing Southern Ground community.

Authentic From the Start

Fresh off the mega success of his debut album, The Foundation, I had the opportunity to collaborate with Brown in 2010 as part of a GRAMMY in the Schools promotion. From the word “go,” he was all-in, offering to meet and perform for kids at schools with heart and meaning. At the time, Brown commented on harnessing the power of music. But he also made a commitment to do more. And do more he did, transforming 400 acres of dirt nestled on farmlands just outside of Atlanta into what just five years later has become Camp Southern Ground.

“Time and time again, the Grammy Award-winner brims with emotion as he reflects on the camp, which serves children of ages 7-17 by teaching healthy life skills including nutrition and physical exercise.”

– Lou Raiola

In unison with the construction of the camp, Brown has shown a laser focus to spread the word and invite his fans to support the organization. If you attend a Zac Brown Band show, you’ll witness the dedicated approach Brown orchestrates, as Camp Southern Ground is fully-integrated into the concert, with:

  • An “Eat and Greet” event pre-show for special guests – no standard meet and greet, as Zac, the band, and Chef Rusty Hamlin cook up a special meal for guests, serve them personally and provide a once-in-lifetime hangout.
  • $1 ticket from each concert ticket sold donated to Camp Southern Ground.
  • Video messages played to promote Camp Southern Ground during the concert.
  • Personal moments shared by Brown as he talks about his vision in between songs.

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Camp Southern Ground

Beyond his passion for the Camp, Brown and his band are deeply committed to supporting military families and veterans. From appearances at USO Shows to lyrical references in his music to special tribute performances, Brown has always made our veterans a central focus in his career. He currently hosts an activation booth at concerts that allows fans to pledge support for the Warriors to Summits program, which empowers veterans and transitioning service members with disabilities (as well as the dependents of the fallen) to break through barriers by walking, climbing, and other activity events. Always mindful of integration with his concert experiences and leveraging the power of music for purpose, Zac Brown is a shining example of what artists can accomplish when they devote themselves to a greater good.

About The Author

Lou Raiola

With more than 30 years of experience championing causes that inspire social good through sports, entertainment and pop culture, Raiola has become the go-to resource when it comes to creating the unlikeliest of partnerships between the business and non-profit worlds. As founder of his consulting firm, Force Multiply, Raiola has demonstrated himself to be a proven leader in bringing together numerous Fortune 500 corporations, such as UnitedHealthcare and General Mills, with notable charitable organizations, including Special Olympics. The secret to Force Multiply’s success is its model to review a company’s unique value system and then pair it with a charity that upholds like interests, often incorporating entertainment and/or sports events, content or celebrities as the “glue” that brings them together. It is in this realm that Raiola shines with deep relationships fostered over more than two decades with the NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB, and the ACM’s, not to mention literally hundreds of celebrities. The result? These groundbreaking partnerships have helped businesses benefit from innovative, game-changing marketing programs that have netted increased sales and been the genesis of substantial returns to the charitable organizations in support of their missions to positively change communities and lives. For editorial consideration please contact [email protected](dot)com.

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