Following in the footsteps of Big & Rich, country superstar Carrie Underwood was awarded the “Artist Humanitarian” Award during the opening ceremonies of the Country Radio Seminar Wednesday morning in Nashville. The award is handed out each year by Country Radio Broadcasters to the artist that best demonstrates dedication to charitable efforts.
Following an incredibly busy and successful year for Underwood, this award proves to be an appropriate cap in recognizing her efforts. Carrie attributes her efforts to the example her parents set. She remembers them pulling over to the side of the road to offer money to those in need, as well as helping those at church. Underwood has made children and animals the focus of her efforts, stating that “they need us. They haven’t made any wrong decisions in their lives. They haven’t done anything to anyone that could be malicious. They live in the garden and they love and it’s our jobs to take care of them.”
Kenny Alphin and John Rich – of Big & Rich – presented the award to Underwood at the Nashville Convention Center. “Carrie is aware of the platform she’s been given and wants to use it beyond performing to help change the world.” This platform that Carrie has built donated $1 million of her “Blown Away Tour” proceeds to the American Red Cross for Oklahoma Relief Efforts in May 2013. In November 2012, Underwood donated 100% of proceeds from her New Jersey show to Hurricane Sandy efforts. She has also started her own foundation, C.A.T.S. (Checotah Animal, Town, and School Foundation), to help with local causes and issues in her hometown of Checotah, OK. She also devoted some of her time to cleaning out kennels at animal shelters, among many other highlights and efforts.
C.A.T.S Foundation has met local needs ranging from scholarship school programs to funds for the volunteer fire department to purchase oxygen masks and tools to new school and community playgrounds to donated musical instruments to name a few.
“Those kinds of things, I feel like, make the biggest difference. It’s easy to give money to stuff, and I feel like there’s a lot of stuff that my husband (Nashville Predators hockey player Mike Fisher) and I get to be a part of where we’re like, ‘Please don’t put it out there.’ You want to do things to help people, but not for stuff.”
The singer goes on to state that she views this as her responsibility. “I am super blessed and I’ve been given so much,” she said. “If I did nothing but buy shiny things and spend it on stupid things, I just don’t think my mama would be proud of that, I don’t think I could be proud of that and I don’t think the good Lord would be too proud of that.”
Underwood calls for others to follow her lead. “If you see someone who needs help, help them. If something needs help, help it. I feel like those are what make the best stories, not so and so wrote a check. Just so and so came and cleaned out awful nasty kennels.”