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Scott McCaughey – Return of the Hoople

by Claire Levine

From his home in the Pacific Northwest, Scott McCaughey has contributed to some of the most important musical trends of the last 35 years. He has performed with some of the best-known names in alternative rock. And he has a huge network of fans and collaborators in Oregon and around the globe.

But none of that protected Scott and his wife, Mary Winzig, from the possibility of financial devastation when he got sick in November 2017. Insurance couldn’t come close to covering hospitalization for a nearly fatal stroke. Then followed months of rehabilitation and lost income.

One of the first things he was able to say on regaining consciousness in ICU after the stroke was, “No concerts, fundraisers, no GoFundMe sites.” But Mary told him it was already too late: The community had rallied instantly, and funds were accumulating, well before Scott left the hospital.

Help the Hoople Concert Jan 5 2018

Help The Hoople Benefit for Scott McCaughey Night #1 Jan 5, 2018

Support culminated in two fundraising concerts within two months of Scott’s stroke — raising well over $100,000 to help with their expenses. One of the best parts was that Scott was able to play a few songs on bass onstage at the Star Theater benefit.  “Seeing so many friends performing amazing music to help me out was just overwhelming to me.”

And his friends are a Who’s Who of rock: Mike Mills, Bill Berry and Peter Buck of REM; Alejandro Escovedo; Corin Tucker and Janet Weiss of Sleater-Kinney; James Mercer of the Shins; Chris Funk of the Decemberists, and many more from Portland and elsewhere.

Community members asked The Jeremy Wilson Foundation for help to hold an online fundraiser. Musicians from across the country offered prized items — like guitars donated and signed by Pearl Jam and Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, along with his cohorts Jay Farrar and Mike Heidorn of Uncle Tupelo.  One of Scott’s rock ’n’ roll heroes, Ian Hunter of Mott The Hoople, contributed a harmonica!

The outpouring of contributions was organic — once people heard what happened, they donated what they could.

But what takes more deliberate action is handling the money: keeping track of the contributions, prioritizing bills and purchases, navigating out-of-pocket costs.

Help the Hoople Concert Jan 6 2018

Help The Hoople Benefit for Scott McCaughey Night #2 Jan 6, 2018

And that’s where the foundation plays its most important role: taking care of the daily tasks that can seem 

overwhelming during a time of illness and recovery. JWF let Scott concentrate on healing, and let Mary concentrate on Scott.

Here’s how the foundation works. They set up a trust fund for the musician. They arrange monthly payments for housing, utilities and groceries. They keep in touch with the family about out-of-pocket medical costs, unexpected expenses and other needs.

As Scott worked to regain his skills (the guitar muscle-memory came back relatively quickly, but the stroke wiped clean his memory for words), he wasn’t focusing on day-to-day tasks. He said he was basically kept unaware of all the things that Mary, Peter Buck and others did to inform the community, raise money and keep life on track.

Even now, when he is able to perform and tour again, he is happy to know that the foundation takes care of the things he can’t focus on. “I just throw the bills into a bag hanging on the doorknob. Once a month they find their way to the foundation,” which takes care of them.

Scott said, “The problem of musicians paying for health care has been obvious for such a long time. I’ve had so many friends who were ruined financially by a health care crisis.

“So, when Jeremy started this up, I was all for it and was glad to help. But I never thought it would come back to help me in this amazing way. It’s great to know the foundation is there, not just for me, but all my friends and other musicians who need it.”

For Jeremy, too, the foundation is just one big “will the circle be unbroken” experience.

Jeremy has abundant personal gratitude for Scott, who was Jeremy’s musical inspiration long before they met. He credits Scott with discovering Jeremy’s band Dharma Bums and producing their first album.

Because of the community’s enthusiastic response to a call for help, Jeremy said the foundation was able to do its best work — that is, respond to requests as soon as the bills start hitting. With so much grassroots fundraising, “I was able to have the bills paid within a few hours.”

Jeremy echoes the collective relief of the music community when he says, “We’re so blessed that Scott’s ok today, that he’s made a comeback like nobody I’ve ever seen.

“And the music is the magical doorway to his recovery. Practicing guitar-playing hand movements and recovering lyrics was his therapy — and apparently the best therapy there is.”

Jeremy said Scott is recovering in the same way he has lived the rest of his life: “He’s stunning us with his brilliance and his love.”

JWF Musicians Emergency Healthcare Fund




We never imagined the JWF would grow into the organization it is today.  A recurring monthly donation of $10, $20 or whatever amount you can afford has the greatest impact on our foundation. Your generosity will help us take the next step towards our goal of establishing a 3-million-dollar endowment fund within the next few years. We hope you will make a one time or recurring donation today.

Your Support Makes Music!

 

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Tate Peterson – “A rising tide raises all ships”


Portland Oregon band The Resolectrics’ guitarist-vocalist Tate Peterson speaks on why music and art is so important to the community.

The Jeremy Wilson Foundation 2018 End of Year Fundraising Drive. Your support makes music at www.thejwf.org

#jeremywilsonfoundation #TheJWF #YourSupportMakesMusic#DonateShareVolunteer #Share #NextWaltz #TheNextWaltz#Testify #Music #Art

Your Support Makes Music




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Jeremy Wilson – “Founders Story”

You Support Makes Music




By Claire Levine

Before his 2007 diagnosis of Wolff- Parkinson-White  syndrome – a congenital heart condition if left untreated, the abnormal heartbeat, arrhythmia, or tachycardia, can cause blood pressure, heart failure, and even death. Jeremy Wilson had spent months telling himself stories about why he was passing out.

He was doing too much.  He was managing a band and performing and running a studio. He must be dehydrated. He just needed to slow down. Anybody would be exhausted, wouldn’t they?

But after he collapsed while waiting for his Pad Thai one night, the paramedics who picked him up from the Thai restaurant stripped him of any illusions.  Even as he regained consciousness, he was worrying that he couldn’t afford a hospital stay. He protested, but the ambulance crew told him that he had a life-threatening heart condition, and they weren’t letting him go home.

Three days and $13,000 later, Jeremy left the hospital to sort out his life. That wasn’t easy, between the shock of his diagnosis and the depression-causing meds he was now taking.

Eventually, he confided in a friend about his illness, his medical debt, and his need for surgery.  Jeremy’s important presence in Portland’s music scene and his big heart had made him well known and much admired in the music community. So, it was easy to rally the troops.  A single impromptu fundraising event brought in close to $5,000.

Tough lessons learned. Eventually, Jeremy was able to sign up for the Oregon Health Plan and get his much-needed surgery. He had a year of relief from both the medication and the heart problems before he needed to repeat the procedure. But by that time, Jeremy had a collection of lessons learned – lessons that apply particularly to professional musicians.

He knew that some of the worst things about illness are the feelings of helplessness and confusion.

He knew that dealing with finances can be overwhelming at any time, but particularly when you’re sick.

He learned that lack of money can seriously jeopardize your health if you aren’t able to get medical help.

And he knew that musicians all over the city – indeed all over the country – need some place to turn.

JWF begins. “Rather than recreating the wheel every time someone needs help, let’s create an ongoing organization that can help right away.”  So was born the JWF Musician’s Emergency Healthcare Fund.

Jeremy envisioned a source that could step in right away with a conversation, reassurance and some cash. By the time the community starts its fundraising efforts, musicians and their families would have much-needed reassurance and help.

Jeremy saw many other needs: oversight for how funds are raised and distributed; providing tax deductions for contributions; and protecting musicians from higher income taxes or loss of income-related benefits.

Jeremy engaged his friends in the music community and (although he complained about having his name on it), they created the Jeremy Wilson Foundation.

Today’s JWF. JWF was started in 2010. Approaching its 10-year anniversary, it has raised money from thousands of contributors and distributed more than $400,000 in assistance grants to dozens of Portland and Clark County musicians. But in the minds of recipients, the cash is the least of what the foundation offers.

Every musician or spouse you talk to will say the same thing: the foundation brings peace of mind.

JWF manages the money, making sure the important bills get paid so musicians can stay in their homes and keep food on the table. The foundation pays the bills directly to the vendor, so the family doesn’t have to keep track – and doesn’t risk adding taxable income.

One JWF volunteer is a trained medical social worker. She helps musicians access other resources from governments and nonprofits that can supplement the foundation’s work.

JWF spreads the word – keeping friends and fans up to date on a musician’s health, progress or failure.

Jeremy or a community volunteer will check in on the musician to learn what they need (a visit to the grocery store? Some good conversation? A hospital bed?), then finds a way to provide it.

In the next few weeks, you’ll read about the support the foundation gave to Scott McCaughey and his wife, Mary Winzig; the late Bobby Soxx Peterson and his wife, Teri Thomas Peterson; Pete Krebs; the late Lisa Miller and her husband, Michael Kinney.

If you ask Jeremy, this is all about the music community and the kind of selfless people that make music their lives. If you ask others, it’s a lot about Jeremy.  Even before he established a foundation, he had a huge network of caring friends because of his own caring nature. After he has donated countless hours starting and running the organization, Portland-area musicians have run out of accolades for Jeremy and his work.

But here’s the way we can all thank Jeremy – and help the musicians who bring so much passion, vitality and fun to this area.

  • DONATE: Visit thejwf.org to make a one-time donation or a monthly contribution
    • You can also sponsor a JWF event so that more of the money coming in the door goes directly to musicians.
    • And by attending a JWF event, you can help your favorite musician or make money available for the next musician who needs help and hear some of the best concerts you’ll ever go to.
  • SHARE:
    • Invite your friends to join you to contribute and to attend events.
    • Share JWF messages on all your social media channels.
    • Don’t forget:  #jeremywilsonfoundation #TheJWF #DonateShareVolunteer #YourSupportMakesMusic
  • VOLUNTEER:
    • Have a skill you’d like to share? Are you good with numbers? Good with words? Good with video-editing equipment? Do you have development expertise or know how to find sponsors? The all-volunteer team would welcome your help.
    • Are you an outgoing type who likes to meet, greet and even ask for donations? The foundation needs all type of help at its major fundraising events, like The Next Waltz.

Thanksgiving weekend launches an important period of giving. JFW is asking your help to support its end-of-year campaign, so it can expand the help it gives into 2019 and beyond

Jeremy said, “It’s hard to imagine the world without music.”  

Giving to the foundation, he said, “supports the people who make the soundtracks of our lives.”

You Support Makes Music




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