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Features, nonprofit, sims foundation

Jun 13, 2014 09:30 AM

Gordon Lamb

'SIMS Saved My Life': How the SIMS Foundation Helps 600+ Austin Musicians Each Year

  (image source)

Austin-based musicians' resource the SIMS Foundation was founded in 1995 in the aftermath of the suicide of bassist Sims Ellison. He was by all accounts a talented musician and good friend who had enjoyed a wave of popularity for his band, Pariah, in the years immediately previous to his suicide. Since the foundation was created, SIMS has dedicated itself to serving the mental health needs of Austin-based musicians.

We spoke with Heather Alden, managing director of the SIMS Foundation, to get the inside story on the foundation and how it helps over 600 Austin musicians each year.

4 Awesome Nonprofits That Are Saving Music Education

The Pink Slips performing at the Willie Mae Rock Camp For Girls, a member of the Girls Rock Camp Alliance. Photo credit: Roger Kisby.

As a kid in elementary school, I absolutely hated music class. When I got to middle school and the option to take band came along, I didn’t think twice about passing it up. It wasn’t even the least bit appealing, even though I was learning how to play instruments at home. Something about the formalism and the structure was just an absolute turnoff. In my mid-20s, I realized that I knew woefully little about music on any kind of technical theory level and that I really, really wished that I did. While trying to teach myself basic theory, it occurred to me that I’d passed up a very basic and easy step to understanding it all: taking band and paying more attention in elementary music classes.

Music programs are frequently on the chopping block in underfunded and struggling public schools. They’re among the first (if not the first) to be cut when things get tight. Fortunately, there are a few nonprofit programs out there attempting to paper up these widening cracks, varying in scope and focus. Some are corporate in origin, while some come from more of a DIY/punk ethos. All operate on the theory that music is ineffably important and can change – and even save – lives. Here are four of our favorites:

Features, Legal & Money, nonprofit

May 12, 2014 03:30 PM

Gordon Lamb

The New Orleans Musicians Assistance Foundation: Sustaining Musicians in Mind, Body and Spirit

NOMAF's Down on the Bayou benefit concert (image source: nomaf.org)

The New Orleans Musicians Assistance Foundation operates strictly in accordance with its title. And it just so happens that its title is a pretty broad one. In addition to being an actual health care provider, through its relationship with the New Orleans Musicians Clinic, the foundation also provides critical assistance such as rent, utility payments and actual performance fees for musicians meeting its criteria for help. President and Director Bethany Bultman is an upfront spokesperson for the foundation, and through the course of our conversation it was clear that she’s not only one not to mince words but also an ardent advocate for the musicians of New Orleans.

Features, News, nonprofit

Apr 7, 2014 04:59 PM

Gordon Lamb

We're hEAR For You Aims to Protect Hearing for Crowds and Musicians

The ringing in your ears after catching a set by your favorite band may be evidence of a souvenir you didn’t count on taking home. It’s incredibly easy to permanently damage your hearing, and noise-induced damaged is the leading cause. As a music lover your ears are the most important sense you have and protecting them is paramount—and We’re hEAR For Youa non-profit organization based out of Athens, Ga., aims to help you do just that.