The Shadowboxers, a soul-pop group that is currently being produced by Justin Timberlake, will headline a fundraiser for the Park City Chapter of Acres of
The Shadowboxers, a soul-pop group that is currently being produced by Justin Timberlake, will headline a fundraiser for the Park City Chapter of Acres of Love on Friday, Sept. 5. Acres of Love is a nonprofit organization that helps orphaned or abandoned children in South Africa develop the tools to live full lives. (Carolyn Snell)
Acres of Love is a California-based nonprofit organization that provides orphaned or abandoned children in South Africa with "unconditional love, dignity and family," according to its mission.

It supports 25 homes in Johannesburg and Cape Town that houses these children, most of whom are infected with HIV, and provides them with resources for their future.

The Park City Chapter of Acres of Love was established six years ago by Melissa Fischer and it supports one of these homes and the 10 children who live there.

To raise funds for this home and its programs, Acres of Love Park City will present its third-annual benefit concert at the Ranch at White Pine Canyon, 21189 White Pine Canyon Rd., on Friday, Sept. 5, from 6:30 p.m. until 10 p.m.

The music will be presented by Park City's Austin Wolfe, a Top 20 "American Idol" finalist, and headliners The Shadowboxers, who are currently being produced by Justin Timberlake.

"A good friend of ours, Joe Fisher, works with Universal Music Nashville and he and Justin are starting an umbrella division of Universal and The Shadowboxers are the first talent they have signed," Fischer said.

A few months ago, the group recorded a cover of one of Timberlake's songs that was a hit on social media.

"Justin heard the song, tweeted about it and flew to Atlanta to hear them," said Missy Kelly, who coordinated the fundraiser with Katie Brown. "Justin called Joe to fly out and sign them.


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The group is currently selling out concerts throughout the South and along the East Coast, according to Kelly.

"Joe told us that he wanted us to present these guys this year, because after this, we'll never get them back," Fischer said.

Wolfe came on board for the fundraiser a little more than a week after she opened for Five for Fighting at Deer Valley.

"My husband Matt and I were in the audience and thought she was great," Kelly said. "So we asked her and she said yes."

Fischer and Kelly said the Ranch at White Pine Canyon is the perfect venue for this year's event.

"We like to keep things interesting," Fischer explained. "We want every year's event to look different and the music to be different to give people a new experience.

"The grounds lend itself to an event like this because it's an indoor and outdoor setting, which is a feeling we want to go for," she said. "We don't want to be locked inside a concert hall or barroom. We want the natural beauty of our surroundings and the natural beauty to tie in with each other."

Kelly likes that the property is nestled against the mountains.

"It's nice when we fly the artists in so they can really experience Park City and all of this beautiful [area]," she said. "It's so beautiful and has a very large barn, where the event will take place. And that's good, especially this year because of all the unpredictable weather. In the past we've held it outside and just dealt with the weather."

The event will differ from other fundraisers by not featuring a silent or live auction.

"We do this because the event is all about the cause and the music," Fischer explained. "We want people to come and enjoy the concert."

Still, there will be food and drinks offered throughout the night.

The food will be provided by Gateway and the cocktails will be created by Top Shelf, Fischer said.

Other sponsors include Moab Brewery, Tito's Vodka and Swire Coca-Cola, said Kelly.

"We are grateful for their support," she said. "They make the benefit possible."

In 2015, there will be more than 5 million orphans in South Africa, Fischer said.

"Acres of Love's mission is to help give these children a chance to thrive, and not to just survive," she said. "The organization isn't one to just give a child a bowl of soup for the day, we look after the children like we would after our own children. Our main goal, as the Park City Chapter, and Acres of Love in general, is to improve the health of these children."

The next goal is to give the children love and help them develop a sense of belonging, and beyond that, education, Fischer said.

"Our oldest child in the home, Manny, is a rugby superstar and a straight-A student," she said. "Last year, he received a full-ride scholarship to the best high school in Johannesburg.

"It's a boarding school, so he's there during the week," Fischer said. "His future is very bright and to think, this is a child who wouldn't be here if it weren't for Acres of Love."

There are success stories for each of the other children in the home, Kelly said.

"While all aren't a sports superstar, they have found that their reading has improved or their health has improved," she said. "We want to give these kids the tools they will need to be successful in life."

One of the girls isn't a super student, but is amazing at hair design, Kelly said.

"So we're providing her an opportunity to become an apprentice with hairstylists," she said.

"This girl is still in high school, but she is going to a vocational beauty school on the side, so when she does graduate high school, she'll have an accessible path to a career," Fischer said. "It's about showing these kids a path to use their gifts for their livelihood."

Working with Acres of Love doesn't just benefit the children in South Africa, Fischer said.

"Another of our primary focuses is to give our own children a senses of giving back, and to show them that the world is a bigger place," she said, her voice full of emotion. "So we focus on that a lot throughout the year here in Park City.

"Our kids attending the meetings are so hands-on," Fischer said. "They even do their own fundraising in their schools."

"Several of us have taken our kids to Johannesburg to meet the children in the home to help them connect," Kelly said. "When we're there, they see how others live outside of this beautiful bubble we have here.

"I've been a part of Acres of Love for three years, and to watch these kids grow has been amazing," she said. "We're all watching our other family in Johannesburg grow."

Acres of Love Park City will present its third-annual benefit concert at the Ranch at White Pine Canyon, 21189 White Pine Canyon Rd., on Friday, Sept. 5, from 6:30 p.m. until 10 p.m. Tickets are $100 per person and can be purchased by visiting www.acresfoflovepc.org.