The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation's Main Line Roots

Behind the rocker's namesake foundation are Craig Spencer and Mimi Box - two locals keeping the engines running for Philadelphians in need.

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ROCK ON: The JBJ Soul Foundation’s Craig Spencer and Mimi Box at its Center City headquarters. (Photo by Jared Castaldi)Craig Spencer and Jon Bon Jovi didn’t hit it off right away. In fact, it looked as if their first meeting would be the start of a lengthy battle of wills. “Both of us were strong-minded businessmen who weren’t keen on having a partner who had equal decision-making authority,” admits Spencer.

A Gladwyne resident and high-powered real estate developer, Spencer had met with the Arena Football League’s commissioner to discuss buying a franchise here. He quickly discovered that another party had already expressed an interest in the market. “The commissioner said I’d have to meet that other party or there would be no deal,” Spencer recalls. “That other party was Jon Bon Jovi.”

But when the two started talking, they realized they had things in common. “Once we discovered that we shared some very strong core beliefs, we just clicked after that,” says Spencer, whose Arden Group is behind the Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia and the adjacent Residences at the Ritz-Carlton. “Believe it or not, in the six years we had the Philadelphia Soul together, we never had a disagreement about anything.”

That healthy chemistry has carried over to some significant philanthropic pursuits that transcend our region’s boundaries. In 2005, Spencer and Bon Jovi founded the Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation, which has since spawned the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, with its mission to “combat issues that force families and individuals into economic despair.”

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