From Justin Timberlake working his Borscht Belt comedy chops to performances by artists like Rihanna and The Weeknd, the annual UJA-Federation Music Visionary of the Year Awards luncheon has become the music industry’s hot-ticket charity event. With proceeds going to the largest local philanthropic organization in the world (United Jewish Appeal-Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York, founded in 1917), top executives are happy to fork it over during the high-profile gathering.
“Our music visionaries are the most important carriers of our message,” says UJA-Federation of New York CEO Eric S. Goldstein, 55. “We look for individuals who have a strong sense of community. Our honorees also tend to be bold and compelling leaders.” Each recipient has received the award for his or her lifelong contributions to any number of charities (including those not directly linked to UJA). Not only do the music industry heavyweights help amplify UJA’s message, proceeds from the fundraiser -- the 2015 event raked in more than $1 million -- go to support nearly 100 not-for-profit organizations in UJA’s “network,” with both Jewish and non-Jewish affiliations that target issues from homelessness to food insufficiency, with a percent annually earmarked for the New York-based Music for Youth.
3. Joel Katz, 71, Chairman of the Global Media and Entertainment Group, Greenberg Traurig (2003)
”When I was honored by the UJA, my friends Brooks & Dunn performed at the sold-out event. The dress code was ‘Southern comfortable’ -- jeans on bottom and formal on top.”