Ewing’s benefit aims to help poor children

Herald Staff Writer

Jasper native Ed Ewing grew up dirt poor.

His parents did the best they could. But many times the family had to do without.


“We had cold stoves and no hot water. We had to use food stamps,” Ewing, 68, recalled Wednesday afternoon. “We got evicted a couple of times because we couldn’t pay the $20-per-month rent.”

Ewing, now a successful and wealthy businessman, wants to help other children who might be in similar situations.

He and his wife, Linda, host concert fundraisers at Big Tree Farm, their family retreat in Santa Claus. The next one, called Party With A Purpose, will be Saturday, May 18, and feature country singer and songwriter Kris Kristofferson. The event will help the Shalom Foundation, which was created by Ewing’s friend Steve Moore, build a hospital and provide medical attention for children in Guatemala.

“When you have no money, you have a tendency to think that you’re not worth anything,” Ewing said. “And so one of the things we try to do is provide for children who don’t have food, clothing, shelter and medical attention. There are a lot of children whose parents just can’t provide those.”

Big Tree Farm, on which 10,000 trees grow, is surrounded by five miles of picket fences. The property has a 1950s-style diner, a party barn that is set up like a nightclub, riding trails, tennis courts, a basketball gymnasium, swimming pools, shooting ranges, soccer fields and overnight guest quarters for 24 people.

“I now use this place to bring in people from all over into southern Indiana,” said Ewing, who now lives in Nashville, Tenn. “I’m a seventh-generation Hoosier. I love southern Indiana and I’m proud to be from here. I want others to see the beauty we Hoosiers see.”

At the upcoming fundraiser, guests will be treated to an all-you-can-eat steak and chicken meal catered by the Schnitzelbank, cocktails and a tour of Ewing’s classic cars collection, which has more than 100 cars that date to the 1920s. The musical entertainment will feature Kristofferson, Shawn Camp, David Lee Murphy and other special guests.

The Ewings have hosted invitation-only concerts at Big Tree Farm before. They’ve brought in Charley Pride, Alabama, Steve Cropper of the Blues Brothers and other singers and songwriters from Nashville.

Those fundraisers benefited St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which is another cause the Ewings support. The couple have five children and lost one to leukemia. “We want to help with finding a cure for these big diseases, like leukemia,” said Ewing, a past chairman of the Leukemia Society of America.

Ewing decided to work with Moore, CEO of the Country Music Association’s board of directors, because his foundation assists underprivileged children and families from all over the world, including Guatemala.

“These kids get all kinds of sicknesses,” Ewing said, “and not only do they live in poor conditions, they have no medical care for the most minor and major diseases. We have teams of doctors that go there and provide medical services for the children who are sick. We’re building a medical facility for children to have a place to go to.”

Their goal is to raise $100,000 to $150,000 through the May 18 event. It is limited to 20 tables of eight and costs $5,000 per table. Some tables are available to the public.

The Ewing family is providing the venue and covering all of the expenses for the event. “So 100 percent of everything that is given will directly benefit the Guatemalan children,” Ewing said.

Benefit details

Party With A Purpose, a fundraiser hosted by Ed and Linda Ewing, will be held Saturday, May 18, at Big Tree Farm in Santa Claus. It is located north of State Road 162 and east of Kimball Drive.

Country singer and songwriter Kris Kristofferson will perform in concert. Also performing will be Shawn Camp, David Lee Murphy and other special guests.

The event will include a tour of Ed Ewing’s classic cars collection at 4:30 p.m. CDT, an all-you-can-eat steak and chicken dinner at 5:30 p.m. and cocktails at 6:30 p.m., with the concert following. The Schnitzelbank will cater the meal and personnel from Headquarters will tend the bar.

Tables of eight are available through Wednesday for $5,000 per table. To purchase a table, contact Linda Holland at the Ewing Management Group, at 214-415-8890 or lholland@emglp.com, or Allison Bender at the Shalom Foundation, at 615-397-4547 or abender@theshalomfoundation.org.

Contact Candy Neal at cneal@dcherald.com.

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