Country superstar Darius Rucker is a lot of things. He sells out shows, writes some damn good music, and takes pride in all facets of his work. For him, success isn’t about the pomp and circumstance that comes with stardom— it’s about using your platform to give back.
His efforts to give back earned him a title that, may not get as much press coverage, but doesn’t make it any less meaningful. As 2021’s Southerner of the Year, Rucker says his charitable nature is just “what you’re supposed to do.”
In addition to his CMA and Grammy Awards, his work with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is something the country star is quite proud of. Rucker began his efforts with the hospital way back in 2008 when he started visiting the kids. Since then, he’s raised over $2 million for the nonprofit organization. He also serves as an ambassador for St. Jude and hosts frequent benefit concerts.
“This is the toughest time we may have seen in the history of our country, Rucker said in an interview with Southern Living. “Even when things are good, it’s amazing how many people could use help. Whether you’re supporting a charity or an orphanage or a hospital, it seems to brighten days and make people feel better.”
For Rucker, he credits his charitable heart to his mother, who worked as a nurse his whole life. From a young age, Carolyn instilled the value of giving back whenever the opportunity presents itself. After saw his mother interact with her patients, he learned to foster that same sense of compassion.
Darius Rucker On Giving Back: ‘It’s What My Mom Taught Me’
“It was not just her job. She lived it; she loved it,” Darius Rucker said fondly of his mother. “Her compassion for people was something she taught all of us—telling us to care about other folks and try to help. When you’re a nurse, that’s what you do. And it wasn’t something she just did at work. She did it at home, in our community, and at our church.”
Even though Carolyn passed away in 1992, the country star hasn’t forgotten the value of compassion and empathy she instilled in him.
St. Jude isn’t the only organization he’s passionate about. In South Carolina, he’s funded close to $3.2 million for public education. He also helped fund a children’s hospital at the Medical University of South Carolina, raising over $150 million.
Despite being a megastar, he gets more humble with every passing year, always crediting his mom with making him the generous person he’s become.
“Even before, when I was performing at clubs making $100 a night, we used to play a show every year for an orphanage in Columbia, [South Carolina], just because it was something we wanted to support. But really it’s what my mom taught me.”