Philanthropy - John Denver



John Denver’s music clearly reflects the conscience of a concerned citizen, a man working for the improvement of the quality of life for all people environmentally, socially and politically. He was asked to serve as a member of the Presidential Commission on World and Domestic Hunger and was one of the five founders of The Hunger Project, an organization committed to the sustainable end of chronic hunger. Denver was asked to be a member of the fact-finding delegation, which toured African countries devastated by drought and starvation as a representative of the Hunger Project and UNICEF. Because of his tireless effort and dedication, Denver was awarded the Presidential “World Without Hunger” Award.


Denver also received recognition from many governments for his concerts to raise awareness of global hunger problems. Other causes that Denver supported include The National Wildlife Federation, Save The Children, The Cousteau Society, Friends of The Earth and the Human/Dolphin Foundation, to name just a few.

“My music and all my work stem from the conviction that people everywhere are intrinsically the same,” Denver said in a 1995 interview, “When I write a song, I want to take the personal experience or observation that inspired it and express it in as universal a way as possible. I’m a global citizen. I’ve created that for myself, and I don’t want to step away from it. I want to work in whatever I do…towards a world in balance, a world that creates a better quality of life for all people.”

This commitment led to the establishment of The Windstar Foundation, a non-profit environmental education and research center co-founded by Denver in 1976. Windstar works to promote a holistic approach to addressing global issues, inspiring individuals to recognize themselves as an integral and vital part of the world around them and to work toward a sustainable future for the world.

Denver founded “Plant-It 2020,” an environmental foundation that urges people all over the world to plant as many indigenous trees as possible. “Plant-It 2020” met with instant response from people everywhere in all walks of life, including major foundations, businesses and institutions.

“ I see more clearly now what I can do about (the Earth’s needs), and I see that it needs doing as I live my life, daily, reverently. This isn’t the reverence of “holier than thou,” it’s the reverence that says, “Do thyself no harm, for we are all here together.” Not you or me, but you and me.”


  • 1979: U.S Jaycee’s Ten Outstanding men of America Award
  • Whale Protection Fund Service Award
  • 1985: NASA Medal for Public Service
  • Presidential “World Without Hunger Award” conferred by President Reagan
  • 1990: National Wildlife Federation Conservation Achievement Award
  • International Center for Tropical Ecology World Ecology Award


  • Presidential commission on World & Domestic Hunger, under President Carter’s administration
  • Plant-It 2000 (Founder and Chairman of the Board)
  • The Cousteau Society
  • The Hunger Project (Founder, Board of Directors)
  • The Windstar Foundation (Founder, Board of Directors)
  • National Space Institute
  • World federalists Association
  • Friends of the Earth
  • Est
  • The Kushi Foundation
  • Human/Dolphin Foundation
  • Music Association of Aspen
  • Aspen Center for Environmental Studies
  • The Challenger Center


John spent a great deal of his time sharing his concerns and ideas about the environment, ending hunger and creating a healthy future for the global community. Some of the highlights of his speeches and presentations include:

  • Traveling throughout the United States, Japan, and Australia:
  • “Higher ground” environmental presentations on behalf of The Windstar Foundation
  • Temple University, “Ending Hunger, You and Me”
  • Kansas State University, on world hunger
  • National Association of Wheat Growers Convention in San Francisco, on world hunger
  • MENC National Convention in Miami Beach
  • World Federalists Association: “Message to the Next Civilization”
  • The National Press Club in Washington, D. C.: “ You and Me, the Transformation of Survival”