In 1986, Ray Charles founded “The Robinson Foundation for Hearing Disorders.” In 2006, the official name of the foundation was changed to “The Ray Charles Foundation,” yet its mission remained the same. From 1986 until his passing in 2004, in addition to providing financial support in the area of hearing disorders, Ray Charles directed the foundation to make donations and support institutions and organizations for educational purposes. Over the past 23 years, the foundation has provided financial donations to various institutions involved in the areas of hearing disorders as well as education.
The mission and purpose of the foundation came from Ray Charles himself. Although Mr. Charles lost his sight at the age of 7, he always maintained that he did not feel that his blindness was a handicap. Rather he believed that the inability to hear music would have been a handicap. Because of this philosophy, Ray Charles began to make contributions to the field of hearing impairment. He often anonymously funded cochlear implants for those who could not afford the operation.
In addition, Ray Charles also expressed concern about youth and the tremendous need for education. In 1996, under his direction and guidance, the foundation embarked on a pattern of generous contributions and donations to various educational institutions across the United States.
Throughout his professional career, Ray Charles became a national and international icon earning an incedible 17 Grammy Awards, three Emmy nominations and numerous other honors and recognitions for artistry.