Does the name you are given at birth by your parents determine your destiny? In the case of Marc Anthony, it would seem so. But just as his parents were inspired to name their son after a famous Mexican singer, Marco Antonio Muñiz, the name Marc Anthony has inspired good deeds and a devotion to children’s causes as part of Anthony’s efforts to give back to a society that has graced him with fame and fortune. Anthony was born in New York City on September 16, 1968 and christened Marco Antonio Muñiz. His parents came from Yauco, Puerto Rico. Growing up in East Harlem, also known as Spanish Harlem and El Barrio, he is the youngest of eight surviving children of his mother Guillermina, a housewife, and his father, Felipe Muñiz, a musician and hospital lunchroom worker.
Anthony’s namesake, Marco Antonio Muñiz is a singer from Jalisco, Mexico. Known all over Latin America, Muñiz has a special affinity for Puerto Ricans who consider him to be an “honorary Puerto Rican.” So it would seem that Anthony was bound to become a musician. He began his career as a session vocalist for freestyle and underground New York house music acts. After changing his name to avoid confusion with his namesake, Anthony worked as a songwriter and backing vocalist for pop acts including Menudo and the Latin Rascals.
Ironically, Anthony turned down the chance to make a salsa album when Ralph Mercado, president of RMM Records, asked him. But he was inspired to change his mind when he sampled other modern salsa performances. And the rest as they say is history – and what a history it is. He became the top selling tropical salsa artist of all time. The two-time Grammy Award and five-time Latin Grammy Award winner has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide. He is still best known for his Lat-in salsa numbers and ballads. He holds the Guinness World Record for best-selling tropical/salsa artist and the most number-one albums on the Billboard Tropical Albums year-end charts and was inaugurated into the Billboard Hall of Fame in 2012. He has won a total of 29 Premio Lo Nuestro Lat-in Music awards, the most for any male artist, and has been honored with the ASCAP Founders Award. He's received twelve Billboard Lat-in Music Awards, three Billboard Awards and a special recognition from the Univisión television net-work.
For many other successful artists, fame and fortune would be all consuming but not for Marc Anthony. He and entrepreneur Henry Cárdenas launched the Maestro Cares Foundation in January 2012.
Since then, Maestro Cares has become Anthony’s driving passion. It is a not-for-profit corporation established to support the housing and educational needs of orphaned and underprivileged children in developing Latin American countries. Through contributions of its founders as well as donations from individuals, Maestro Cares provides housing, food, toys and clothing, as well as assists in the academic and recreational development of children through various programs.
Part of Anthony’s success with Maestro Cares is his ability to inspire corporate sponsorship and donations that turn his dreams for these projects into reality.
In 2012, his partnership with Goya Foods helped him raise more than $100,000 at the organization’s first fundraiser in Chicago. Held at the Sofitel Water Tower in the heart of the city’s Gold Coast the red-car-pet event raised over $100,000 for the development of a new residence hall for orphaned children in the Dominican Republic. All proceeds from the event benefited the completion of a new residence hall and learning facility for more than 200 children living there.
In 2014, the foundation opened the “Niños y Niñas de Cristo” orphanage in La Romana, Dominican Republic, on 10,000 sq feet of land, donated by the Central Romana Corporation in the “camino a la Luisa” in Buena Vista Norte. La Romana supports living and education for more than 200 of their children.
“Today not only marks the start of a new life for these children who are in great need of our help,” Anthony announced at the grand opening ceremony, “but it is also beginning to see the fruits of our efforts, and we are now seeing it become a reality.”
The home consists of comfortable rooms, kitchen area, laundry service, dining room, library, chapel, shops, classes, computer rooms, baseball for future little leaguers and education in modern art.