Sure, Jon Bon Jovi’s band is the top worldwide touring act for the first half of the year, grossing $142.1 million with its “Because We Can” stadium show, according to Pollstar magazine.
In their role as star fundraisers for Hurricane Sandy victims in their home state of New Jersey, though, the rockers are turning out to be the warm-up act.
The United Arab Emirates pledged $4.5 million to the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund overseen by Wall Street veteran Mary Pat Christie, wife of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. The fund’s single-largest gift came a week after Bon Jovi donated $1 million for victims of the Oct. 29 storm.
Yousef al-Otaiba, the Emirates ambassador to the United States, said his government’s donation will pay for technology and infrastructure upgrades to 30 damaged schools in nine districts. Al-Otaiba, appearing with the Christies at a summer camp at Atlantic Highlands Elementary School, called the pledge “some small way” to help about 20,000 students. The country pledged millions of dollars for victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the 2011 tornado in Joplin, Missouri.
“The entire world watched close-knit communities just like this one live through one of the most devastating weather events this country has ever seen,” al-Otaiba said. “In the UAE we were amazed at the resilience, grit and determination that were shown by the citizens of this state.”
The Republican governor chose Mary Pat Christie, a managing director at New York-based Angelo Gordon & Co. LP, to head the charity two days after the storm struck, devastating the New Jersey coast and costing the state $36.9 billion.
The $4.5 million donation is the biggest so far, Eileen Lofrese, a spokeswoman for the charity, confirmed by e-mail. That pledge, plus Bon Jovi’s, brings the pot to $38 million, she said. Bon Jovi, a native of hard-hit Sayreville, is a member of the fund’s honorary advisory board.