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Earth, Wind, & Fire's Philip Bailey: Ten Years of Lifting Up Foster Youth Voices


Posted on July 31, 2018

"It’s wonderful for us to know that FYA is also ten years old, that we are on this journey together, and to see how much they have evolved just as we have. To both our organizations for ten years of raising youth voices for change!"

We started Music is Unity Foundation ten years ago.  We are not a large foundation, and our hope was that we’d always be consistent and that our commitment would be long-lasting. We are definitely in it for the long-haul! 

Giving back has been really important to Trinity, our band and me.  During an Earth, Wind & Fire tour with the band Chicago several years back, we had the chance to recognize people making a difference in the communities where we played. Witnessing the power of music to bring together and lift up the work of the community, we decided to name our foundation, “Music is Unity.”

When we started the foundation, we looked at needs that were under-addressed, and decided to focus on emancipating foster youth.  I have seven children and seven grandchildren, and I can’t imagine what any of them could do without support. All of us, and especially foster youth, need support and opportunities to grow, learn, and make an impact.  Without these opportunities, the obstacles that foster youth aging out face seem insurmountable, and so this is why we have been investing in groups like FYA.  

Foster Youth in Action was the first organization we partnered with when we started up. What really impressed us about FYA was their passion, their broad reach, and their game-changing approach.  It was very gratifying to support a group that empowers foster youth.  Over time, being able to engage directly with FYA youth leaders and other foster youth has been really important to us in understanding their experiences.  It just makes us want to give more.  

When I hear stories and experiences of youth in foster care, when I see the quagmire of policies and regulations they deal with daily, and when I hear how the policy makers actually make decisions without any knowledge of what foster youth experience, I know how important foster youth voice really is!  Adults don’t have all the answers. Those who have been in care should be empowered to change the system.

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Philip Bailey is the founder and lead singer of the legendary musical group Earth, Wind & Fire. Bailey has won eight Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. With Earth Wind & Fire, Bailey has sold more than 90 million records while maintaining an illustrious solo career as well. Bailey, along with his daughter Trinity Bailey, teamed up to establish the Music is Unity Foundation in order to invest in agencies that support foster youth to transition successfully to adulthood. A percentage of ticket sales from Earth, Wind & Fire concerts are designated for the Foundation.  FYA is thrilled to partner with Philip, Trinity, and Music is Unity Foundation since 2008.