Sammy Hagar was given the Humanitarian Award at the Loudwire Music Awards tonight. The former Van Halen frontman is known for his generosity to charity, having started the Hagar Family Foundation after selling his Cabo Wabo Tequila business in 2007 for $80 million.

"It's always exciting to receive an award. But this one is extra special," Hagar said. "To be recognized for something you truly love doing and in front of an audience of your peers, doesn't get any better than that!"

Hagar's difficult childhood in California generated his interest in philanthropy. "Being a poor kid is a little humiliating and it instilled in me a desire to be somebody,” Hagar writes on his website. “It's where all my drive comes from. I was willing to work hard to ensure I was never poor again. And now, it’s like, I still got that feeling but it drives me to wanna give back and to show kids that if you work hard there’s gonna be an open door out.”

Hagar also owns a chain of restaurants called Sammy's Beach Bar and Grill. All proceeds from the restaurants go directly to the foundation.

“The way I got bit by it was I started a foundation, and you find out that it’s harder to give money away than it is to make money,” Hagar told Tulsa World“It’s true. I mean, like, there are so many bad organizations out there, and money gets used up. You give somebody all this money, and it trickles down to nothing. I did a lot of investigation, and I found food banks to be really reliable and the biggest bang for your buck because one dollar can make three meals at some of these places.” As a result, Hagar has given money to food banks at every stop on his tours for nearly a decade.

Hagar says he looks to support grassroots efforts. “I don’t want to write a check for a million dollars where it goes in the bank; I want to give a dollar to somebody and have it go right in to their pocket. I want to put food on the table," he told Samaritan Mag back in 2011.

“I believe charitable work is not something you brag about,” Hagar continued. “But every penny I get from the restaurant goes [to the Foundation] and I want one in every city.  People say how much money do you need? No, no, no. If I had one in every city we could help more people.”

But the restaurants aren't the only way he supports charity. Each year he hosts an all-star annual benefit concert at the Fillmore in San Francisco. Musicians like Dave Grohl, Mick Fleetwood, Bob Weir, Don Felder and more have recently participated. Hagar co-founded the event, Acoustic-4-A-Cure, with Metallica's James Hetfield to help cure a type of pediatric brain cancer. It's modeled after Neil Young's annual Bridge School Benefit Concert, according to Billboard.

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