Carlos Santana – Humanitarian

For more than forty years since his first appearance at Woodstock in the summer of 1969, the iconic sound of Carlos Santana’s guitar has been a part of the global music scene. Carlos Santana has been the creative force behind music that transcends genres as well as cultural, geographical, and even generational boundaries.  

However, the legacy of Carlos Santana is about more than the influence he has had on music for the past four decades. It is also about his dedication to social activism and devotion to humanitarian causes that has made him more than a musical icon. His message of love, hope, and unity have become a powerful force on the world stage.

Throughout the years, the charitable work of Carlos Santana has made a profound difference in the lives of millions of people throughout the world. In 1998, Santana and his first wife, Deborah, created the Milagro Foundation. Its mission is to fund organizations around the world that support under-resourced children in the areas of arts, education, and health. Four hundred and fifty-three organizations in 37 states and 20 countries receive grants that directly help the people they serve.

Let the Children Play

In 2012, Milagro’s philanthropic partner, Hermes Music Foundations, donated 48 beautiful acoustic guitars to Santuario De Luz, a community health clinic in Santana’s hometown of Autlan, Mexico. The guitars were given to students in four junior high schools so that they could remain engaged in their school music programs.

As an extension of his mission to support under-resourced children in the arts, Santana joined David Wish’s Little Kids Rock Foundation in 2002,  the intention being to provide innovative and inclusive music education to children that lack the resources to afford classes or instruments. Today, this program, renamed Music Will in 2022, is the largest nonprofit music program in the U.S. public school system, serving over 500,000 students in more than l00 cities and towns across the U.S.

Love Makes the World Go Round

In 2003, Carlos and his family founded the Amandla AIDS Fund, a grantmaking arm of Artists for a New South Africa, providing urgent and much-needed support to frontline AIDS service organizations. Santana donated $2.5 million to the fund, money that was raised from his twenty-three city “Shaman” tour. Hailed as a landmark event, it was the first time an artist ever donated the net proceeds from an extended concert tour to a charity. 

Over the years, Carlos Santana has supported numerous charities and foundations, and in 2008 he was the recipient of One x One’s Difference Award which recognized his fight against child poverty and suffering. Carlos Santana is the consummate citizen of the world.

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