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Taking matters into his own hands: Musical artist Will.i.am pays off two families’ mortgages

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

For some lucky families, a new program by The Black-Eyed Peas’   is allowing them to keep a roof over their heads.

The program -  the – combines money from the musical artist’s own savings with a fund-raising campaign to collect donations that will help out families on the verge of losing their homes.

The idea of helping people facing has inspired a whole new category of philanthropy. , for example, to homeowners threatened with foreclosure. While not specifically targeting foreclosure cases, the is a private, nonprofit organization designed to provide advice to families and individuals with financial problems.

Will.i.am, with his star power, brings the issue literally into the spotlight. Appearing on The Oprah Show, the songwriter shared this month how he was moved to start the program because having a home was central to realizing his own personal dreams.

“Growing up I dreamt that one day I’d be able to buy my mom a house and take care of my family,” “I realized that dream and experienced the positive effect giving back had on my family.  Now I am compelled to help others who are in jeopardy of losing their homes and inspire others to join the movement.”

To announce the program, Oprah first introduced two middle-class families unable to keep up with their mortgages after salary cuts and job losses. One single mother talked about applying for food stamps to make sure her daughter has food. Another couple shared their dream of being able to watch their 8 children grow up in the house they bought nine years ago.

Will.i.am then appeared onstage as a surprise guest, proving that he puts his money where his lyrics are:  It was clear the families – like others around the country  -  needed  Will.i.am announced he would be paying off the two families’ mortgages to the tune of $350,000, giving them reason to feel like  “ Then he made an appeal – – for others to help out deserving families through the fund.

While specific criteria wasn’t immediately available, the effort appears to be aimed at families facing unforeseen circumstances, such as losing a job.  Jonathan F. Fanton, the former president of the has written on . Do you know of any other novel programs to help people with financial literacy  - or any groups doing foreclosure philanthropy? Please comment below to share your thoughts.

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