As the Austin charity benefit season enters its final weeks, one celebrity-driven event attracts the spotlight more than others.
To help you prepare, the amazing Jennifer Stevens answered 10 of the most common questions that she receives while organizing Mack, Jack and McConaughey, the giant benefit from buddies Mack Brown, Jack Ingram and Matthew McConaughey, teamed up with spouses Sally Brown, Amy Ingram and Camila Alves McConaughey.
The event returns April 19-21, much of it at ACL Live.
Whose idea was it to start MJ&M?
Jennifer Stevens: Jack! Jack recalled attending the Ben-Willie-Darrell event as a kid and texted Mack in the middle of the night to see if he was interested in trying to do something similar. Mack responded immediately (to Jack’s surprise) and said yes and then said “I’ll text Matthew.”
How much has it raised, and what is the impact beyond the dollars raised?
Over $5 million has been given to children’s education, health and wellness charities over the last four years. More than that, the impact of MJ&M is also seen through the partnerships being created between our beneficiaries and the heightened public awareness of the mission of these incredible organizations.
How many events are there for MJ&M?
MJ&M is actually a total of nine events over the course of three days. I tell people it’s the most fun you can have while doing good. And, I tell our guests to rest up, hydrate and get ready!
Nine events in three days? How does that work?
The reason MJ&M is successful is because the guys are personally involved in every detail, there are no egos allowed and every decision is made with a 3-0 vote. We want MJ&M to be an experience, not just an “event.” MJ&M is fun, interesting and engaging at every turn. We want our sponsors and attendees to have an incredible experience and leave wanting to return for more next year. In fact, we were half sold out for this event the day after last year’s.
Who decides where the funding goes?
The Browns, Ingrams and McConaugheys determine who the beneficiaries will be and how the proceeds of the event will be distributed. I keep record of any organizations interested in being included, but the ultimate decision is theirs. They are incredibly involved and invested in the mission and success of the organization. We are not interested in granting dollars to just sit in a bank account — we want to see direct impact on kids’ lives with every dollar.
What has been the impact on Dell Children’s Medical Center?
Dell Children’s opened a food allergy research center, which is now one of the leading research centers in the country, and because of MJ&M every school in the Austin school district, serving 82,000 students, has at least four EpiPens for children with severe food allergies.
What has been the impact for the Rise School?
The Rise School opened two new classes in Austin, serving an additional 24 students with special needs; they opened a musical therapy room, and they provided more than 15,000 hours of much-needed therapy for students. Ten children are able to receive financial assistance to the school.
What has been the impact for CureDuchenne?
CureDuchenne was able to fund a nationwide research project, leading to the discovery of a new gene. Also, they were able to hire the top researcher in the country, and discovered new groundbreaking therapy for boys who have a Dup 2 mutation on their dystrophin gene, taking us one step closer to a cure for those with Duchenne.
What has been the impact on JK Livin Foundation?
The foundation has served over 1,000 students in Austin, teaching them about health and wellness and building self-confidence. They hired 10 new teachers in Austin and have provided after-school wellness education for children.
What has been the impact on HeartGift?
HeartGift has been able to perform over 20 life-saving heart surgeries on children from around the world. These children live in developing countries, and HeartGift enables them to come to Austin for the much-needed, life-saving surgeries.
MACK, JACK & MCCONAUGHEY
When: April 19-21
Where: Various locations, including ACL Live
Information: 512-236-1001, mackjackandmcconaughey.com