The Universal Music Group announced the donation of a $2 million gift to the R&B Foundation for the establishment of the Motown/Universal Music Group Fund in order to provide grants for financial assistance to R&B recording artists who were formerly affiliated with UMG or any of its wholly owned labels.
One of the largest contributions ever made by a music company on behalf of its artists, the Motown/Universal Music Group Fund will be used for health, welfare and medical purposes for artists or their surviving spouses in the form of monetary grants. The grants will be determined and dispensed by a specific committee created by the R&B Foundation. The $2 million will become the "corpus" for the fund, which will generate monies for the needs of artists in perpetuity.
"The goal of the Motown/Universal Music Group Fund is to ensure that we can assist artists in need who were at any time associated with Universal's family of labels," said Zach Horowitz, President and COO of the Universal Music Group. "This will help raise the quality of their lives in recognition of their many contributions to our company and the world of music.
"The Universal Music Group, either by acquisition or internal development, includes historic recordings by artists released on some of the most important record labels of all times. We have chosen to incorporate 'Motown' as part of its name because of that label's symbolic importance. Motown was a beacon of hope for artists whose groundbreaking music found a way to break down barriers and prejudices. To us, the name 'Motown/Universal Music Group Fund' captures the spirit of this new program and will serve as a continuing beacon of hope for artists in need."
Jerry ('the Iceman') Butler, Chairman of the R&B Foundation's Board of Directors, stated, "This extraordinary endowment gift will enable the Foundation to continue for a long time its funding of financial assistance programs for needy R&B and Motown artists of the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s. These artists, who are now part of Universal's family of labels, will, I'm sure, deeply appreciate the generosity of Universal Music Group for making this donation to the R & B Foundation on their behalf, and for their benefit.
Recording artist Bonnie Raitt, one of the founders of the R&B Foundation, commented, "I'm very pleased that Universal has taken this substantial step to recognize their extraordinary family of Rhythm and Blues artists by establishing this financial assistance program. We look forward to working with them."
Added Berry Gordy, Founder of Motown Records, "I am pleased that the Universal Music Group has stepped up with this very generous donation for the welfare of its great artists. Now, more than ever, it is evident that music has the power to heal and bring people together. I commend Universal for recognizing the importance of the R&B Foundation's great work toward the benefit of artists."
Jim Fifield, Vice Chairman of the R&B Foundation, commented, "I couldn't be more pleased with the $2 million contribution by the Universal Music Group. They have set a new standard in the industry for giving and recognizing the need for assistance for artists."
Among the classic labels affiliated with the Universal Music Group are A&M Records, ABC Dot, ABC Paramount, Argo, Blue Thumb, Cadet, Casablanca, Checker, Chess, Commodore, Coral, Decca, Def Jam, Def Soul, Duke, Dunhill, Geffen, Gordy, GRP Records, Interscope, Island, MCA, Mercury, Motown, Peacock, Polydor, Rare Earth, RSO, Soul, Tamla, Uni, Universal Records, and Verve, among others.
Those artists interested in applying for grants from the Motown/Universal Music Group Fund should contact the R&B Foundation, 1555 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20036-1124 (202) 588-5566 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).