Jessica Nicholson • August 2, 2016 •
As Miranda Lambert’s “Vice” and Dierks Bentley and Elle King’s “Different For Girls” reside in the Top 10 on this week’s Billboard country chart, they will also help the families of critically ill children who are at risk of being evicted from their homes.
Both of these songs are co-written by a songwriter affiliated with Shane McAnally’s Nashville-based SMACKSongs. SMACKSongs has pledged to donate $2,500 for every Billboard Top 10 song the company represents to The Silverton Foundation, to support rent and mortgage payment assistance for families with children who are hospitalized or receiving ongoing critical care treatment.
SMACKSongs is on pace to match its 2015 total of 10 top country music hits, which would result in donations worth 30 months of payment assistance. In 2015, the foundation paid 116 months worth of mortgage or rent for families in need.
SMACKSongs VP of Business Affairs Michael McAnally Baum recalls a story of an evicted family with for a critically ill child. “Thank God the child recovered from their condition, but in the process, because they didn’t have proper housing to go back to, the child was in danger of going into the foster care program,” he says. “That’s heartbreaking to think of any parents who could find themselves in that situation, having already cleared that hurdle of your child’s health, only to find that the state is endangering your ability to be a parent to that child. It is heartbreaking.”
The partnership reunites McAnally Baum with his former Silverton Mortgage colleague, and The Silverton Foundation founder, Josh Moffitt. Baum worked with Silverton Mortgage from 2004 until he moved to Nashville in 2013.
In the partnership’s first 60 days, they sent out approximately $16,000 to help families in need, thanks to SMACKSongs cuts like Kenny Chesney’s “Noise,” Old Dominion’s “Snapback,” and Thomas Rhett’s “T-Shirt.” SMACKSongs relies on Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay charts, as well as Mediabase, to determine the qualifying singles.
A typical request from a family in need is approximately $800 to prevent a foreclosure or eviction. “Some families might need one month to get back on their feet; for others it might be three months,” says Moffitt.
McAnally Baum and Moffitt realized the emotional and financial toll that a major medical crisis can place on a family.
“Usually one spouse or both are losing their jobs or their finances are dramatically impacted because of the situation,” says Moffitt. “A lot of times they have to move to another city or spend a ton of time a long way from home. Because of that, they can lose income on top of all the medical bills. We then started encountering these folks that were being evicted or foreclosed while all this is going on. Their focus was on the health of their child, but when their child is well, they weren’t able to go home. In working with the social workers at the hospitals, you realize how vast the problem is.”
Moffitt notes that The Silverton Foundation is 100 percent volunteer-based, and offers help to families from across the country that come to Atlanta for seeking treatment for their children. The Silverton Foundation aims to expand its reach to Tennessee and other portions of the Southeast.
Moffitt offers another example of a three-month-old boy who contracted bacterial meningitis at 12 days old, resulting in a host of serious health conditions, including seizures and cerebral palsy.
“He was sent home for a month, then readmitted to the hospital,” says Moffitt. “His 22-year-old single mother was employed full-time at a call center. Obviously she missed a lot of work to make all his appointments and to care for him. She received her eviction notice the day he was readmitted to the hospital. She had been reaching out to other places for assistance as well, and asked us to help with one month’s rent to make her payments current. We obviously understand that apartments and mortgage companies have a business to run, so we understand their position. We always call and confirm with the landlords, and 99 out of 100 times, the landlords say how wonderful the families are. They are working with them the best they can. There might be a father mowing the grass on 20 homes just to help make ends meet. The stories we hear are unbelievable.”
“We have quite a bit [of songs] on the charts now that are at various stages of moving up, and it gives us an extra incentive to say not only are we excited for the success of the song and the songwriter, but we are excited because that success also helps take care of our community,” says McAnally Baum. “Country music is all about faith, family and home, and I think this partnership touches on all of those things. So whenever we do feel a sense of success, we also feel a big sense like we are giving back.”
For more on The Silverton Foundation, visit thesilvertonfoundation.org.