Tramuto Foundation Awards Inaugural ‘Bulldozer Moments’ Grants

Award Recognizes Efforts to Help Others Overcome Adversity
The grant to the Robert F. Kennedy Flagship Event for Mediterranean Challenges will help fund new and ongoing projects that support migrants, refugees and asylum seekers arriving in Italy.

Singer/Songwriter Eric Andersen

Two years ago, Donato Tramuto, global healthcare activist and CEO of Tivity Health, a leading provider of health and wellness programs, published his first book, Life’s Bulldozer Moments: How Adversity Can Lead to Success in Life and Business.

Now in its 4th printing, the book recounts several tragedies and hardships that Tramuto has endured while illustrating how he overcame what he describes as ‘life’s bulldozer moments’ to become a compassionate corporate leader and philanthropist who is focused on making life better for others.

In 2001, Tramuto created the Tramuto Foundation in honor of his two close friends and their young son who died when their plane struck the 2nd World Trade Tower in New York City on September 11th. Nearly 17 years later, the Foundation continues to provide annual scholarships for students in need and grants to non-profit organizations whose mission is focused on improving the lives of others.

In recognition of Tramuto’s book, as well as the belief that everyone experiences “bulldozer moments,” the Foundation will present the 1st annual Life’s Bulldozer Moments Award to two recipients: internationally renowned musician, Eric Andersen, and the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights’ Flagship Event for Mediterranean Challenges. The awards presentation will be held on May 17 in Ogunquit, ME.

Singer and songwriter Andersen has endured many hardships in his life, yet continues to share his message of hope and inspiration through his music and songwriting over the past five decades. Now in its second year, the RFK Human Rights’ Flagship Event for Mediterranean Challenges supports projects focused on enhancing public policies and defending the human rights of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers who have resettled in Europe.

“Writing Life’s Bulldozer Moments has been a life-altering experience, and as I travel around the country I have talked to hundreds of people who want to share their own bulldozer moments with me,” Tramuto explained. “Most of us have gone through those dark moments, such as the loss of a loved one, when you feel as if you have been physically bulldozed into the ground. The challenge is to summon enough strength to get back up and survive, with a new appreciation for all the possibilities that life has to offer and the responsibility to share our success with others.”

“In presenting the Life’s Bulldozer Moments Award, the Foundation is recognizing the incredible contributions made by an individual whose life’s story is reflected in the beautiful music he creates, and a human rights organization that is dedicated to helping ease the suffering of individuals and families who seek a safe and more stable life in a foreign homeland,” Tramuto added. “They are both worthy recipients of this honor.”

A grant honoring Andersen will go to the non-profit Center For Independent Documentary, the fiscal sponsor for Paul Lamont and Scott Sackett’s documentary film about the singer-songwriter called The Songpoet. The grant will be used for final licensing and post-production work.  The film is a look into the mind, soul and creative process of Andersen, whose early career in the 1960s saw great expectations waylaid by misfortune. According to the producers, “For Andersen, every big break seemed to be followed by crushing disappointment. The Songpoet follows Andersen’s remarkable 50-year journey that continues, today. It is a study on the culture of fame, the fragility of an artist’s career and the integrity of the artist as it reveals the indestructible energy that drives Eric Andersen.”

“A line in one of my songs, Runaway, is: ‘When you’re looking for what you’re missing, you ain’t looking at what you got.’ “ Andersen explained. “I think that is an accurate reflection of my outlook on life. It is true I have been bulldozed a few times. The sudden death of Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, soon after he agreed to be my manager, ended what certainly would have been a career-defining moment.  The mysterious loss of my Stages album at Columbia Records was another devastating blow.” In a subsequent interview with Rolling Stone, Eric wistfully noted, “They could lose my album, but they could never take away my songs.”

“I learned to never be overly enthusiastic from great blessings that befall, nor suffer deep, incapacitating lows when heavy, irreversible misfortunes spring up and surprise to topple us down,” Andersen added. Andersen will fly to the East Coast to attend the May 16th award presentation while on a break from a national tour promoting the release of his new 42-song Sony Records Essential album.

The grant to the Robert F. Kennedy Flagship Event for Mediterranean Challenges will help fund new and ongoing projects that support migrants, refugees and asylum seekers arriving in Italy.

According to project manager, Mariella Abruzzo, countries throughout Europe and the Mediterranean are facing a period of crucial transformation due to the intensification of migration flowing from countries where armed conflicts and poor living conditions have severely impacted the quality of life. According to the most recent information provided by the United Nations Refugee Agency, in 2016, 65.6 million individuals were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, or human rights violations.

As of 2017, nearly 84,000 migrants reached the shores of Italy (out of a total of nearly 100,000 who have settled throughout Europe).

“The size of migrant inflows has had an enormous social and economic impact on the hosting countries as European governments are asked to find effective solutions aimed at building a new social cohesion,” Abruzzo explained. “Our strategy is to foster efficient public/private partnerships that will support projects on social integration and inclusion for migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers and create a positive change both in their lives and society.”

A steering committee composed of public and private leaders, along with academic experts, will select five final projects that will be funded through grants from a number of organizations, including the Tramuto Foundation.  The selected programs will be recognized at the 2nd Annual Robert F. Kennedy Flagship Event for the Mediterranean Challenge on June 20, World Refugees Day, in Florence, Italy.

Tramuto added, “In 1966, my hero, the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy, gave a speech at Cape Town University in which he stated, ‘Everywhere new technology and communications bring men and nations closer together, the concerns of one inevitably become the concerns of all. And our new closeness is stripping away the false masks, the illusion of differences which is the root of injustice and of hate and of war.’   As the Founder and President of the Tramuto Foundation, it is my hope that these projects will encourage countries, their leaders, and citizens to accept their shared responsibility to improve the lives of others.”

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