The T.J. Martell Foundation – the music industry’s leading nonprofit to fund innovative medical research focused on treatments and cures for cancer – topped its fundraising record at the 2020 Nashville Honors Gala, by surpassing $1 million.
The landmark occasion celebrated a new class of local honorees, as they were acknowledged for their professional accomplishments, community spirit, and philanthropy, in front of an at-capacity crowd of supporters and other industry luminaries.
Michael Ray shared that the involvement in something bigger than music is always a rewarding experience.
“As a musician and songwriter, the greatest honor is when our songs are able to positively impact people’s lives,” he told American Songwriter. “I have so much respect for how the T.J. Martell Foundation uses the power of music to push research forward and I’m incredibly grateful to be part of this special event.”
Likewise, Carly Pearce added that the encouragement that can be shared is something tangible to a community – or even a person – going through a difficult experience.
“I truly believe music brings healing and a sense of community in some of life’s hardest moments,” she said. “I’m honored to be a part of this special night again this year as the T.J. Martell Foundation raises money for new treatments and hope for the unimaginable times.”
The event also featured a list of presenters including Reba McEntire (Amy Grant), Joel A. Katz (Clint Higham), Dr. Dana Cardin & Dr. Laura Goff (Dr. Jordan Berlin), Tom Raney (Patrick G. Emery), and Dr. Wright Pinson (Laurie and Jim Seabury), the powerful affair featured special performances by Vince Gill (Amy Grant), Carly Pearce and Michael Ray (Clint Higham), Wade Hayes (Dr. Jordan Berlin), CeCe Winans (Patrick G. Emery), and Rascal Flatts (Laurie and Jim Seabury).
Full of one-of-a-kind magical moments, Gill and Grant’s daughter Corrina joined her father on the keys during his touching performance of “When My Amy Prays,” and McEntire had the Gala guests laughing – and in tears – over her warmhearted introduction of Grant. Higham moved the room during the final award presentation as he dedicated his honor in loving memory of Nashville animal welfare advocate and philanthropist Phran Galante. Special guest Kenny Chesney also surprised Higham onstage to cap-off the inspirational night.
“I’m so proud of the many people who generously gave their time and resources to make this a milestone event for the T.J. Martell Foundation,” shared Laura Heatherly, CEO of T.J. Martell Foundation. “It is truly wonderful to see so many people come together to help in the fight against cancer.”
Photo credit: Jason Davis