Jeffrey Osborne is a Grammy-nominated musician, singer-songwriter, philanthropist and Providence native. Osborne began performing when he was 13 and since then, he has received five gold and platinum albums and has sung the national anthem at the NBA Finals twice. However, Osborne remains very close to the Rhode Island community and he is involved in numerous philanthropic endeavors, most of which promote art and education. He has created his own charity, the Jeffrey Osborne Celebrity Classic, which allows him to give back to the community that helped him grow both as an artist and as an individual. The event takes place Aug. 12-13.
PBN: After achieving so much success, what brought you back to Rhode Island?
OSBORNE: To be honest, I never really left. I have a very large family and a majority of them are still in Rhode Island, so I’m constantly coming back to visit. Not having such a crazy tour schedule also helps and I can really give back to the community in a meaningful way. Throughout my career, I always knew that I wanted to support Rhode Island in any way I could. My mom ingrained giving back in me from a young age, and now that I have the means to actually make a difference, it’s amazing.
PBN: Is there a project or charity you have worked on that has really stood out?
OSBORNE: The Jeffrey Osborne Celebrity Golf Classic has afforded me the opportunity to give back to so many different organizations. I am fortunate to support several local groups that I have personally grown up with, which is a true blessing. I was a member of the Boys & Girls Club as a kid and a student at the Met school and now I can give back to these places and provide the students with the opportunity to pursue their dreams, which is amazing. Seeing how the money we raise is helping firsthand feels so good. New programs are starting up and flourishing and I get to see this firsthand. For example, we have helped start a flex program that allows students to listen and work with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra and eventually perform with them. It is opportunities like these that make all the hard work worth it.
PBN: Do all the charities you contribute to promote art and education?
OSBORNE: The majority of the charities promote art and education in some capacity. For the arts and education charities we have chosen to support, including the Met school and The Music School of the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra, it was primarily a personal decision. I am the youngest of 12 children and not all of us had the opportunity to study music. My father was also a musician and I saw him sacrifice his musical dreams in order to raise his family. By supporting local arts and education charities, I am hoping to provide children with that first taste of music at an early age and provide them with the courage to pursue their dreams and go after it. •