MusiCares is one of the greatest things the music business does for its community: The organization offers emergency financial assistance for medical expenses; basic living expenses such as rent, utilities, and car payments; educational programs and more (a full description is pasted below). It’s distributed $48 million to musicians and music-related people since it was founded in 1989 — $5 million to more than 7,000 people in the fiscal year that ends on July 31, and $10 million over the past 10 years to nearly 3,000 substance-abuse clients.
Despite those numbers, like many charities, the true purpose of the organization doesn’t really hit home until it lands somewhere close to you: Personally, I know people who have had their substance-abuse rehab and the birth of their children largely covered by MusiCares.
Yet because the organization is so often spoken about in lofty terms at music-business events presided over by titans of the industry, it’s too easy to have the impression that to get involved, you must be over 60. That’s not the case at all.
Last week, MusiCares’ New York Ambassadors Board held its inaugural “Summer Festival Kick-Off” on the Sony Rooftop over Madison Square Park — Muna performed an acoustic set and The Knocks played a DJ set as ample quantities of food and drink flowed, and a couple hundred music-biz types both young and less-young mingled and watched the sun set on a beautiful spring evening, all for a $100 donation to the cause.
The Knocks performing at the MusiCares Summer Festival Kick-Off, June 1 (Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for MusiCares)
“Thursday’s event was meant to kick off the summer festival season, and bring awareness to the incredible power of MusiCares and its mission,” said Mick Management CEO Michael McDonald, who is also vice chair of MusiCares’ board of directors. “Relatively speaking, only a small percentage of the business attend the annual Person of the Year event or otherwise come into contact with MusiCares. This party is being put together for and by the next generation of music professionals, bringing awareness to their powerful segment of the industry.”
Head to musicares.org for more information, to get involved, or to find out about the next event.
The MusiCares Foundation offers programs and services to members of the music community, including emergency financial assistance for basic living expenses such as rent, utilities, and car payments; medical expenses, including doctor, dentist and hospital bills; psychotherapy; and treatment for HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, hepatitis C, and other critical illnesses. MusiCares offers nationwide educational workshops covering a variety of subjects, including financial, legal, medical, and substance abuse issues, and programs in collaboration with health care professionals that provide services such as flu shots, hearing tests, and medical/dental screenings.
Established in 1989 by The Recording Academy, MusiCares provides a safety net of critical assistance for music people in times of need. MusiCares’ services and resources cover a wide range of financial, medical, and personal emergencies, and each case is treated with integrity and confidentiality. MusiCares also focuses the resources and attention of the music industry on human service issues that directly impact the health and welfare of the musiccommunity. For more information, please visit www.musicares.org.