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Michael W. Smith is presented with Philanthropist of the Year Award by the AFP. (AFP)

Michael W. Smith is presented with Philanthropist of the Year Award by the AFP. (AFP)

A Friday night affair
Out in the city heat
Always a party there
Along the sordid street
And it was guaranteed
The place to be was Rocketown
The drinks were two for one
Inside the crowded bars
The girls would make their run
Out on the boulevard
It was the idol place
We lived the ways of Rocketown

– From the song “Rocketown”

November 5, 2014 was designated as National Philanthropy Day and in Nashville, Tennessee; the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) celebrated the “difference makers” in the community which included naming singer/songwriter Michael W. Smith, as the Philanthropist of the Year. This was based on his extensive work with the Rocketown outreach program which he founded in 1994, eight years after the song of the same name was released on his album, “The Big Picture.”

Rocketown is considered to be the first of its kind in the Southeast and has since grown into a regional outreach.  Located in downtown Nashville, the facility features three stages for live entertainment, an indoor skatepark, a snack bar, a recording studio, and other studios for photography, art and dance. It is estimated that more than 800 teens from across the Middle Tennessee region participate in programs each weekend as well as an after-school program at a local high school.

It’s been a good week for Smith as he was again given an award at the Nashville Association of Talent Directors’ annual gala on November 11th. The program honors entertainment professionals for their efforts “to make Nashville the exciting and vital entertainment mecca that it is today.”

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