• UO Giving Guide: Taylor Bennett

    The best gift is giving back. We're highlighting 8 inspiring young creatives and joining them in supporting 8 deserving charities this holiday season. See what they're wishing for this year, and learn more about how you can give back too.

    This holiday season, musician Taylor Bennett tells us why giving back is so important. We worked with him to support La Casa Norte by donating $5k on his behalf. Follow @lacasanorte to learn more and donate!
    Photos by Anna Zajac

    Name: Taylor Bennett
    Occupation: Musician
    Charity: La Casa Norte

    Hi Taylor! Can you tell us about your charity?
    I’m proud to work with La Casa Norte here in Chicago. The mission of La Casa Norte is to serve youth and families confronting homelessness. In 2002, La Casa Norte opened its doors to youth and families in Humboldt Park. Over the past 15 years, they have helped over 25,000 individuals from 43 Chicagoland zip codes move towards housing stability, self-sufficiency, and financial security.

    What Makes it so important to you? Why?
    La Casa Norte is an important organization to me because youth homelessness is a huge crisis. People often overlook it. I have friends who have often had to stay at my house, another friend's, or slept on the train. I have friends that wouldn't go home because of issues with their families. A large portion of homeless youth is LGBTQ. Chicago Public Schools (CPS) identified a record 22,144 students experiencing homelessness or housing instability in 2013-14.   

    What other causes are important to you right now?
    Mental health-related illnesses. I hope that more people speak out on the issue. This is more common than you think. Stress is huge.

    What is the best gift you have ever gotten from someone?
    On my 21st birthday, my brother Chance gave me a blanket of the track art of our song “Broad Shoulders” which is the first song we ever released together and is on my album Broad Shoulders. We were super young in the picture, and it was taken inside my grandma Charlie's house.

    What was the best gift you have ever given someone?
    On my niece’s 2nd birthday I bought her a toddler Mercedes G wagon that she can drive. I thought that was pretty fly, because I never had something like that growing up.

    What’s on your wishlist this year?
    I really want a pair of the new Yeezy's. Every new release is always exciting.

    Favorite holiday tradition?
    My brother and I always wear matching pajamas on Christmas Day.

    What holiday movie can you watch again and again on repeat?
    This Christmas, The [Preston A. Whitmore] movie [from 2007].

    What was your proudest moment this year?
    I've always had dreams about going on tour and this year I got to headline my own tour, “The Taylor Bennett Show.” I hit 15 venues in 15 different cities, all with packed crowds of fans screaming my lyrics. I traveled the country playing my music to thousands of fans. That was amazing. One of my proudest moments, for sure.

    What are your hopes and dreams for 2018?
    I really want to get on the movie screen. This year I learned how to ride a motorcycle, so I'm trying to go on some real adventures.

    Read more about Taylor's charity, La Casa Norte, here