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CMT One Country is all about connecting people to ways to take action and bring about positive change in their community. The program offers additional rewards for volunteer efforts, as well. CMT One Country celebrates the accomplishments of everyday heroes and showcases nonprofit partners that are working to keep America great.
Check out CMT One Country's VolunteerMatch site.
CMT One Country
By Tori Fukumitsu, Communications & Social Media Intern
When someone says, "country music," usually volunteering does not come to mind. But the two have more in common than it would initially seem, for at the core of both lie two integral values: family and community.
At the intersection of country music and volunteering, CMT One Country is dedicated to connecting its viewers to local volunteer opportunities. Founded on those very values of family and community, CMT, a subsidiary of MTV and Viacom, broadcasts popular country artists and music programs. Its "One Country" volunteer program encourages its national audience of almost 100 million homes to take action and give back to their communities.
"CMT One Country believes in the power of one," explains Public Affairs Manager Sarah Gaffney, "That anyone can evoke powerful change in their community by giving back." With this philosophy, CMT invites its viewers to apply their unique skills to opportunities that they are passionate about.
Partnered with six national nonprofits (Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, Feeding America, Habitat for Humanity, Hands on Network, and United Service Organizations), CMT One Country empowers its audience to focus on the issues they care about: affordable housing, hunger, and supporting military families - among others.
Rather than giving the performers and presenters at the CMT Music Awards gift bags, CMT One Country makes a donation on their behalf to Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, to support their BackPack program. The BackPack program provides at-risk school-aged children with a pack of food on Fridays to take home - to ensure they have enough food for the weekend. Pictured at right: Darius Rucker with Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee CEO, Jaynee Day, and Lucia Folk, Senior Director of Public Affairs for CMT.
But the opportunities extend beyond those provided by the nonprofit partners and their affiliates.
For the past seven years, CMT One Country has used VolunteerMatch Solutions to make finding national volunteer opportunities as easy as possible. They use the VolunteerMatch tools to allow volunteers to track their hours, as well as to help administer their monthly Rewards Program: viewers who log at least four hours of service a month are eligible for CMT prizes and a donation to a charity of their choice.
"This rewards system allows us to showcase how one person can make a difference," says Sarah, "And, hopefully, inspire others to do the same--which is what CMT One Country is all about."
Furthermore, each year, one Volunteer of the Month is selected for a VIP trip to the CMT Music Awards. In 2010, Pete French of New Castle, Virginia, a dedicated member of his local volunteer-run radio station, was chosen as the Grand Prize Winner. He and his daughter, Colleen, who lives with cerebral palsy, enjoyed a trip around Nashville, dining at the Palm and attending the Music Awards show where they had VIP access to the red carpet.
"It was wonderful to be able to celebrate a committed volunteer and his daughter by providing them with a once-in-a-lifetime adventure through our Volunteer Rewards program," Sarah remarks.
Campaigns like the Rewards Program demonstrate how CMT One Country's partnership with VolunteerMatch has allowed its volunteer initiative to thrive. So far, 56 volunteers from 29 states have been selected as Volunteers of the Month, and CMT One Country has donated $56,000 to their charities of choice on the volunteers' behalf.
In addition, CMT One Country recorded that their volunteers have contributed over 59,936 service hours and benefited over 2,664 nonprofit organizations to date.
Sarah is proud of these accomplishments: "One of the most impressive things about our CMT One Country Volunteers of the Month is that even after they win rewards, they continue to showcase their commitment to their causes by continuing to log their hours with our program."
Moving forward, CMT One Country aims to further strengthen viewer volunteer engagement while highlighting their national nonprofit partners and the necessary work they perform. For Sarah, the initiative will continue to put CMT's values of family and community into action.
"As the CMT One Country campaign strives to evolve and find new ways to encourage people to give back to the community," she says, "We appreciate that VolunteerMatch shares that same goal."
Not only is Country Music Television getting its viewers more involved in their communities: the company is redefining and solidifying the connection between country music and volunteering by rooting them back to their mutual values of family and community.