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UPDATE: COVID-19 Oregon Musicians’ Relief Fund: First Round of Grants Distributed

The JWF is deeply grateful to the community of music lovers who banded together to contribute to our special COVID-19 Oregon Musicians’ Relief Fund! Thanks to their generosity, we were able to distribute $43,000 in emergency financial assistance among 86 local artists and music industry workers impacted by canceled performances due to the global pandemic during the month of April. 

Between March 14 and April 22, more than 500 individuals and small businesses (like Koll Guitars and Misplaced Screen Printing) donated to this special fund — either through the JWF’s GoFundMe campaign, our Facebook fundraiser, or directly via mailed-in check or this website. Their support allowed us to offer grants to eligible applicants across all levels of the music industry, including singer-songwriters, classical pianists, nationally touring bands, and sound engineers. 

The music community also banded together to raise awareness of the JWF’s work in its own unique way. Bass player and producer Jack Mortensen brought together more than 30 local musicians to remotely record a performance of Marvin Gaye’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” that garnered local and national media attention and inspired thousands of dollars in donations to the fund. Online concerts and special offers from rock violinist Aaron Meyer, performer Sydney Nash, musician and artist Janet Julian, the Alberta Rose Theatre, and others all provided invaluable support. Recently, Chris Funk of the Decemberists announced that all profits from Bandcamp sales of his new album The Painted Porch would be donated to the JWF’s COVID-19 Oregon Musicians’ Relief Fund. 

“I first learned about the Jeremy Wilson Foundation two and a half years ago, when I broke my ankle, right before Christmas,” said Nash. “The JWF not only provided material support for me to pay my rent and bills when I was on crutches and couldn’t play gigs or do side work of any kind, but way more importantly, they helped me with the applications to get on the Oregon Health Plan. The positivity that has grown from the seed of help that the JWF planted in my life has bloomed into an entirely different existence than I ever thought possible. I am so grateful for the help that they showed me that I was eager to return the favor so that they could be there for other musicians like me down the line who can benefit from this kind of support. It is truly, no hyperbole, life changing.” 

In addition to financial assistance, the JWF offers volunteer social work services to local musicians, ensuring they can successfully navigate the healthcare system and qualify for available government benefits. The organization has also compiled a list of additional support made possible by state and federal relief organizations, which can be accessed at https://thejwf.org/resources/.

Understanding that the global crisis will continue to impact the financial stability of working musicians and music industry professionals, the JWF is evaluating fundraising efforts and how we can best support our music community at this time. We’ll provide updates here as soon as our next step is in place, but we anticipate opening a second application cycle for another round of assistance in the near future. Donors interested in supporting this work can contribute directly to the JWF’s emergency assistance fund through its GoFundMe campaign. Donations can also be made through checks made out to the Jeremy Wilson Foundation (memo: COVID-19 Oregon Musicians’ Relief Fund) and sent to The Jeremy Wilson Foundation, 1028 SE Water Ave, Ste 230, Portland, Ore. 97214. 

Once again, we want to thank our incredible musical community for its generosity as we continue to respond to these unprecedented times — and for supporting those who make the soundtrack of our lives.