John Mellencamp Receives the ASCAP Harry Chapin Humanitarian Award at WhyHunger Gala

June 6, 2019

(l-r) Republic Records’ Monte Lipman, ASCAP’s Seth Saltzman and Loretta Muñoz, WhyHunger’s Noreen Springstead, John Mellencamp, ASCAP President Paul Williams, ASCAP CEO Beth Matthews, ASCAP EVP/Membership John Titta. Photo by Diane Bondareff

The 20th Annual WhyHunger Chapin Awards took place at City Winery in New York City on June 5th, honoring legendary ASCAP singer-songwriter John Mellencamp with the ASCAP Harry Chapin Humanitarian Award, which shines a spotlight on artists who have proven their commitment to striving for social justice and creating real change in combating hunger worldwide.

Emceed by Pete Dominick, comedian and host of SiriusXM's Stand Up with Pete Dominick, the sold-out event gathered 300 guests to celebrate those making a difference in the fight against hunger and poverty, while raising over $310,000 in critical funds to fuel WhyHunger's continued work in supporting innovative grassroots solutions to hunger and the collective movement for social justice.

"The true solutions to hunger mirror the true solutions to climate change – small farmers organizing in communities to produce healthy and nutritious foods via sustainable practices," said Noreen Springstead, executive director, WhyHunger. "We are thrilled to honor John Mellencamp with this prestigious award – from decades of advocacy to his work with Farm Aid. His work embodies WhyHunger's mission to transform the current systems in place, advance environmental and social justice, and ultimately combat hunger worldwide."

Mellencamp, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and recipient of the Woody Guthrie Award and the John Steinbeck Award, has used his music to document the 'struggles of ordinary people seeking to make their way' according to Rolling Stone. In 1985, he co-founded and organized Farm Aid, a groundbreaking concert to raise awareness and funds to strengthen America's family farmers. He continues to serve on the organization's board of directors.

Following a speech by ASCAP President Paul Williams, Monte Lipman, Founder and CEO of Republic Records, presented Mellencamp with the award. Mellencamp then performed some of his greatest hits. The event concluded with the time-honored tradition of singing Harry Chapin's song "Circle" with Tom Chapin, Jon Cobert, and Michael Mark honoring the late WhyHunger co-founder.

ASCAP has partnered with WhyHunger for more than three decades and has presented the ASCAP Harry Chapin Humanitarian Awards to an incredible group of songwriters and artists, including Kenny Rogers (1987), Peter, Paul & Mary (1988), Barbra Streisand (1994), Harry Belafonte (2000), Judy Collins (2003), Emmylou Harris (2004), Michael McDonald (2005), Ashford & Simpson (2010), Daryl “DMC” McDaniels (2006), Jackson Browne (2007), Elvis Costello (2008), Wyclef Jean (2009), Rubén Blades (2011), Peter Noone and Darlene Love (2012), Yoko Ono Lennon (2013), The Fab Faux (2014), Grace Potter and Felix Cavaliere (2015), Kenny Loggins (2016), Jon Batiste (2017) and Jason Mraz (2018).

Founded in 1975 by the late ASCAP member Harry Chapin and radio DJ Bill Ayres, WhyHunger believes a world without hunger is possible. We provide critical resources to support grassroots movements and fuel community solutions rooted in social, environmental, racial and economic justice. A four-star rated charity by Charity Navigator, WhyHunger is working to end hunger and advance the human right to nutritious food in the U.S. and around the world. Learn more at whyhunger.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.