Poverty is Real

I’d like to devote this blog post to a non-profit organization that’s close to my heart: Poverty is Real. I’m on the board of this organization, and was thrilled when my friend and former co-worker Mike Killeen asked me to be a part of this group as it was being formed last spring.

The idea behind Poverty is Real (PIR) is to help communities fight poverty at a local level by utilizing resources that are already in place. In short, PIR chooses a city, partners with an established non-profit in that city that’s already helping to alleviate poverty and homelessness, and then puts on a concert (or concert series), donating all funds raised to the partner non-profit. We believe that great music and strong communities can join forces to help create significant change in communities across America.

Our first concert series — last June in Decatur, Georgia, where PIR is based — was a huge success. We held a two-night concert series at Eddie’s Attic and raised $6,500 that went to Decatur Cooperative Ministry to prevent and reverse homelessness in Decatur.

Next up was an Athens show at the 40 Watt Club last December, where we partnered with a wonderful organization called Whatever It Takes (WIT). WIT’s mission is to fight poverty with education, and they have a goal to ensure that, by July 1, 2020, all Athens-area schoolchildren will be on track to graduate from a post-secondary school. The PIR show in December raised $7,500 to be infused directly back into the Athens community via WIT.

All this success wouldn’t be possible, of course, without the support of the incredible musicians who have donated their time, talent, and recordings to PIR. We’ve had the pleasure to feature Matthew Kahler, Trances Arc, Rebecca Loebe, The Bitteroots, Arlington Priest, Lindsay Rakers Band, Maria Gabriella Band, Ryan Flanagan, Mike Killeen, and Besides Daniel at our inaugural two-night concert series in Decatur. A few months later, Futurebirds, Patterson Hood, Claire Campbell, Woodfangs, and My Cousin, The Emperor, graced us with their music at the Athens show at the 40 Watt.

We hope to use the momentum we gained in 2011 to make 2012 even more successful, and have shows in the works for Asheville, Decatur, and Nashville.

A recent development is the start of a PIR e-newsletter, so I’d encourage you to sign up for that if you’d like to receive periodic email updates about PIR. Additionally, we’re always looking to grow our Facebook fan base, so please “like” us on Facebook. That way, you’ll be connected to the organization and know when a show is headed your way.

Thank you to all who have already helped to support Poverty is Real, and here’s to continuing to use great music to fight poverty in 2012 and beyond!

2 thoughts on “Poverty is Real

  1. Remember how much we read and traded books in KT? Here’s a book recommendation that’s connected to your post.

    I’m in the middle of a memoir about homelessness (Nick Flynn’s “Another Bullshit Night in Suck City”). It’s written from the perspective of an estranged son whose father spent much of his life on the streets and in jail. I had a chance to meet the writer last year, and his interest and activism in social issues is inspiring. The story’s been adapted for film and is coming out this spring. Very excited to see it.

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