One of the founding goals of the Rhythm & Blues Foundation was to provide
for the financial and medical needs of older artists. To that end, the Foundation
administers grant programs that serve as a safety net to those in need. Foundation
grant funds have helped pay for everything from eyeglasses and instruments to
hospital stays and home care. Our grants have put food in empty cupboards, kept
the heat on and made sure that the lights weren’t turned off. Sadly, families
also turn to the Foundation to help bury artists who were once celebrated in
life, but who have been forgotten in death. To date, the Rhythm & Blues
Foundation has provided over $3 million in grants to distressed members of the
Rhythm & Blues community, yet the demand continues to grow. Here are a few
quotes from previous grant recipients.
You have helped me in the past with great understanding and kindness. The
last thing I wanted to do was to come to you once again for help...Once again
the bottom dropped out. My husband has a brain stem injury that is growing worse
and now he has seizures…I have been looking intensely for work, both in and outside
of the music business. Session work for my generation of singers has almost
completely ceased…We are barely keeping utilities on and just getting by with
food. I sincerely need your help. I’m fighting with all the faith I have right
now to keep from getting evicted. I don’t have anywhere else to go if this fails
here. I truly hope that the Foundation will be able to grant me rent and possibly
the phone bill that I need so much now. All I can do is hope.
Vocalist, background singer
M.Y contacted the Foundation for assistance when the failing
health of her husband made it difficult for her to work. Her financial difficulties
were exacerbated by the untimely death of her grandson. The Foundation provided
over $15,000 to help meet her housing, medical and dental needs.
I have declining health due to liver cancer and my physicians advised me that
it is doubtful that my life expectancy will exceed more than five years. I am
living in poverty and I have nothing and no one to turn to. When I die I wish
to be near my family. I want to move closer to my remaining family on the East
Coast. Please help me.
Widow of session guitarist
When B.H. first called the Foundation, she stated she had
no food in her house and did not know when she would eat in the future. The
Foundation had groceries delivered to her home immediately, and later provided
more than $10,000 to help B.H with medical bills and relocation to the East Coast
city where her family resides.
Profound thanks for the assistance you have given for my medical care. It
is truly hard for me to express how much this means to me. The help you offered
allows me to get treatment from the only doctors who have been helpful with my
condition. With this treatment, I can live a normal productive life; without
it I cannot. I am extremely grateful for what you have done. I…think that the
work the R & B Foundation is doing is right up there with the very best
things that human beings can do.
Songwriter, Composer, Musician
A former Motown recording artist, S.C. requires treatment
for chronic prostate enlargement, a condition is that is potentially precancerous.
The Rhythm and Blues Foundation has provided nearly $14,000 in medical assistance
I want to give sincere testimony to your organization for the difference you
made in my life. God bless your Foundation and whoever conceived the idea and
organized it to this extent.
At age 80, L.Z. suffers from prostate cancer and diverticulitis,
an ailment affecting the lower intestine. His only source of income, social
security, barely covers his rent and utilities. With only two remaining payments,
L.Z. was concerned that his car would be repossessed. He hoped to use the car
to travel to gigs as soon as his health allowed. The Foundation provided $2,000
to cover health insurance and his remaining car payments.
Thank you and your staff for everything you have done. On behalf of every
artist that you have helped and will help, we are touched by your humanity.
You are truly angels on earth. I am progressing nicely, looking forward to playing
very soon. Recovery is not a walk through the park but each day is better than
the last. I have two more visits but I think the worst is over. I’ll drop you
a line to let you know how it is going. Please thank your staff individually
for me and re-affirm what noble work they do.
C.V. suffered from significant dental problems that often
strike those who play wind instruments. These problems require specialized treatments
and, if not addressed correctly, can often lead to the end of a musician’s career.
C.V. requested assistance in paying for the extensive dental work in anticipation
of an upcoming European tour. He had no health or dental insurance at the time.
In addition, he had no income as his condition prevented him from playing at
a professional level. The Foundation provided over $20,000 to pay for his dental
work and expenses during his two month recovery.