Before her death in 2011, Amy Winehouse gave much more to the world than just her music. Now the singer’s family is working hard to keep her giving spirit alive through the Amy Winehouse Foundation.
“There’s another part to her character and persona very few people knew about, and that was her gentleness and warmheartedness,” says Mitch Winehouse, noting that his daughter often took care of homeless people and needy children.
The foundation will hold its first U.S. fund-raising event at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York on March 21, marking the one-year anniversary of its stateside launch. The inaugural Amy Winehouse Inspiration Awards & Gala will honor Tony Bennett, who recorded “Body and Soul” with the late singer and donated $220,000 in seed money to the foundation. Other honorees include Nas, Salaam Remi and Elhadj “Moe” Kane. Among the performers are Jennifer Hudson and Wyclef Jean.
Established in the United Kingdom two years ago, the foundation provides funding to music education programs for young people, and also assists with drug rehabilitation and prevention tools. To date, the U.K. charity has allocated more than £500,000 to its efforts, while stateside it has provided thousands of dollars to the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra.
“People say what a great job we’ve done with the foundation but, really, we’ve just been continuing the work Amy was doing,” says Winehouse, who has also donated proceeds from his 2012 memoir, “Amy, My Daughter,” to the cause.
The foundation’s U.S. executive director, Julie Muraco, hopes the upcoming gala will expand the organization’s U.S. reach. “We’re looking across the country to put a footprint down,” she says. “It will be in areas that may be overlooked or underserved by larger foundations.”
Meanwhile, Mitch Winehouse says the family is exploring the possibility of releasing future Amy Winehouse projects. The last music released by the late singer was 2011’s “Lioness: Hidden Treasures,” which went to No. 5 on the Billboard 200 and has sold 460,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
“The music side of it is at an end,” he says, noting a possible film release down the line. “I’m not saying there won’t be another album, but there’s not a lot of unreleased, undiscovered stuff out there from Amy.”
For information on how to purchase gala tickets, become a sponsor or make donations, go to amywinehousefoundation.org/us.