Douglas Davis, better known by his stage name Doug E. Fresh, a rapper, record producer and a pioneer of 20th-century beatboxing, will be one of the many entertainers performing at the star-studded Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County’s “Hearts for Helping: Live From Dane County” on Saturday, Feb. 20.
Because of COVID-19, Hearts for Helping, BGCDC’s signature annual gala event, will be a live event broadcasting from The Sylvee. There will be a mix of celebrity appearances, Community Hero Awards, a Youth Talent Show, and musical performances.
“This will be one of the greatest events Madison has ever seen virtually. I feel really, really good about this. We have a great line-up,” BGCDC CEO Michael Johnson tells Madison365.
The event will be streamed live on Madison365’s Facebook page and News 3 Now /Channel 3000 website and Facebook pages.
“We are so excited to have Doug E. Fresh and he’ll be live at the Sylvee and doing two 10-minute performances,” Johnson said. Fresh, who has been called the “Human Beat Box,” had a string of hit singles with his then-partner Slick Rick in the early and mid-’80s, most notably on “The Show” and “La-Di-Da-Di” in 1985.
“Claudia Jordan, a national TV talk show host and a former model who was on ‘The Apprentice,’ will be hosting a Youth Town Hall Meeting,” Johnson continues. “Our Youth of the Year is going to speak and then we have Pooch Hall and Brian White, who have been on dozens of TV shows, reality shows, talk shows, who will also be participating and presenting awards.”
Hearts for Helping will provide an opportunity for youth to perform on a large stage and the chance to win a $5,000 grand prize. There will be performances from five Madison-area finalists including Tyler Stoll, Hadijah Gano, Mauriana Barksdale,
Aniyah Kunz and Abilene Thao.
Hearts for Helping will also be a platform where local business and community leaders will be recognized for their work in the previous year.
Johnson says that he is excited to be honoring community heroes at the event including Jackie Morris, who will receive the Black Excellence Hero Award; Jenny Meicher Santek, who will receive the Philanthropy Hero Award; Corey Marionneaux, who will receive the Commitment to Social Justice Hero Award; David Endres, who will receive the Corporate Social Responsibility Hero Award; Chef Dave Heide, who will receive the Excellence In Community Service Hero Award; and Jazzman Brown, who will receive the Outstanding Individual Achievement Hero Award.
National business leaders will also be joining to honor the Community Hero Award winners including Best Buy President and CEO Mike Mohan.
“That’s huge for us to have the president of a national brand like Best Buy to be connected to this. It’s phenomenal,” Johnson says.
Other national business leaders will include Blount International CEO Paul Tonnesen and Bed Bath & Beyond COO John Hartmann. University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank will serve as the keynote speaker.
“Rebecca Blank will highlight the Boys and Girls Club’s impact in the community and how our clubs have helped to make the University of Wisconsin one of the most diverse freshman classes they have ever seen and she will talk about our impact in the community,” Johnson says.
“The event is free to the public but we are asking people to register because there will be an opportunity to go into a private discussion with some of the celebrities and have conversations with them,” Johnson says. “I’m really excited about this.”
National Guardian Life Insurance Company, the lead sponsor for this event, has pledged $30,000 to support not only this event, but other services that the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County provides for its members.
The goal for 2021 Hearts for Helping is to raise $350,000.
“Money that we raise at this event will support our club-based and school-based programs. It helps us to provide support in the 11 schools that we provide services to help us run our summer camp programs,” Johnson says. “This year, it really helps us to support all of the things we do for people in the community, too.
“I’m optimistic that people will step up and we will meet that fundraising goal,” he adds.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County’s “Hearts for Helping: Live From Dane County” will take place on Saturday, Feb. 20. To register, click here.