New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund Has Been There, Done That, Sells the Tee Shirt
Two thirds of America is wary of where their New Orleans charity donations have gone, according to a new UNO survey, so this is some basic information on what the New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund has done during last two years:
None of your Tax Dollars have gone into the funding of this nonprofit.
Our staff has never bought airline tickets to attend a benefit. We rarely even get to drive to them. Amazing volunteer efforts have led to events around the world, and the Fund distributes those proceeds to hundreds of displaced musicians.
NOMRF is a very green charity. We have never mailed out glossy brochures to solicit donors, but have asked musician friends to support us. Thanks to founder Jeff Beninato's dB's background, those friends include Wilco and REM. We're also blessed to have new musician friends like Dr. John and Jake, who has again collected 500 toys to distribute including BluzKat books. Jake is 11 and lost everything to Katrina, which shows the indominable spirit of New Orleans.
After starting NOMRF while being displaced, we learned it does not take renting an office to mail checks to displaced musicians. Our volunteer tech support team created the database and our staff of two screens applications. Volunteer publicist Urban Panda helps spread the word, and a team of volunteer accountants keep our corporate filings in order. Volunteer attorneys helped process the title of the donated New Birth Brass band, which sadly was just stolen.
Our Fund focuses on direct relief to professional musicians who are displaced because of Hurricane Katrina, not on event production or referrals. This is how we've stretched over a quarter million in individual donations as far as it could go. MySpace has nominated NOMRF twice for its prestigious Community Building Impact Award, and we're waiting to see if the third time's the charm.
The new Saving NOLA Store in downtown New Orleans (First floor, Jax Brewery) has started selling gear to benefit NOMRF. Last year they raised enough to build a Habitat for Humanity home, so our nonprofit is in good company with Drew Dat, Make it Right, Musicians Village and Global Green merchandise.
Speaking of merch, New Orleans artist Dennis Procopio has just donated his Fleur de Mains image (click tee shirt above to browse), and it perfectly represents the city's renewal. There are two days left for standard shipping gifts to arrive before the holidays. Donations have naturally slowed down as public awareness subsides, so if you like how NOMRF rolls, renewed support would be very, very welcome.