Something you may not know about JT and I is that we both took a course in grant writing for non-profits from ASU (have the certificate to prove it!) and were in the process of starting up a grant writing business when the guitar parts company opportunity rolled our way. However we never left our non-profit loving roots behind, we just weren’t sure how to make it compatible with our new venture.
Now, as we witness all the turmoil in the world, we know we want to really DO something, to participate in allyship and let ACTIONS speak for us and not just words. Words are easy, action can be scary. We lost followers on Blackout Tuesday and as a small business just working to get fully up and running, that is disheartening. However that doesn’t change our path - Thompson Guitar & Thrift is not about politics but it is about people.
We attended a virtual town hall yesterday hosted by Hello Seven called “Reimagining Small Business: A town hall to listen, learn & commit to building equitable, anti-racist organizations”. (You can see the recording here.) And we did just that - we listened, learned (and are still listening and learning) and are now telling you about our COMMITMENT.
Thompson Guitar & Thrift is committed to people over profits. That’s already baked into our business formula as we strive to keep our prices as low as possible - we’re not about staggering mark-ups in order for us to achieve staggering profits. We’re two people who live simply (one car, no debt) and don’t have a need for excess. But more than the mark-up, we want to DO better, BE better and give back.
So our first big step will be back towards the non-profits we love. In support of diversity, equity and inclusion, our focus will always be the music industry. We pledge 1% of our profits towards this goal. We have selected six organizations to support in this first year. When you shop on our website, the default option is for our donation to be split six ways between these groups. However we also have it setup so that you can choose one of the six and we will pledge our donation from your sale that way.
Thank you for reading this far and thank you for your support! JT and I are human and we know we might mess this up along the way but we are open to learning and growth. We want you to hold us accountable and we want to sustain and grow our efforts to help people and our planet. And to state the obvious, Black Lives Matter.
Now for the fun part - let’s meet the non-profits! Here is our slate for 2020, with website links and mission statements from their sites.
Black Rock Coalition
The BRC was created in the fall of 1985 in New York City with the purpose of creating an atmosphere conducive to the maximum development, exposure and acceptance of Black alternative music. The BRC seeks to foster cooperation among musicians and like organizations through networking and shared resources. The BRC opposes those racist and reactionary forces within the American music industry which undermine and purloin our musical legacy and deny Black artists the expressive freedom and economic rewards that our Caucasian counterparts enjoy as a matter of course.
Girls Rock Camp Foundation
Girls Rock Camp Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to generating support and funding for Girls Rock Camps across the United States. Funding to support educational programming, site improvements, scholarship initiatives, and more. Over 44 independently run camps and counting who are members of the Girls Rock Camp Alliance can access vital funding through Girls Rock Camp Foundation, supporting camp development and making the camps more accessible to girls from all economic backgrounds. Gifts to Girls Rock Camp Foundation have nationwide impact, reaching camps from New York City to Baton Rouge and ensuring support for big city and rural camps alike.
Guitars 4 Vets
G4V provides guitar instruction aimed at providing Veterans struggling with physical injuries, PTSD and other emotional distress a unique supportive program. G4V pursues its mission to share the healing power of music by providing free guitar instruction, a new acoustic guitar and a guitar accessory kit in a structured program run by volunteers, primarily through the Department of Veterans Affairs facilities and community-based medical centers.
HeadCount is a non-partisan organization that uses the power of music to register voters and promote participation in democracy. We reach young people and music fans where they already are – at concerts and online – to inform and empower.
The I AM Music Project was created as part of our Sponsor A Young Person Initiative to give homeless and at risk young people access to the arts through a series of educational workshops. The students learn about the important steps in creating intellectual property, how to protect it, learn techniques in performing and recording their material and what it takes to prepare for a live performance at the OUTmusic Awards (OMAs).
Music Health Alliance
Music Health Alliance’s vision is to create a safe and confidential place for the music community to gain the very best healthcare and health insurance solutions through defined and transparent advocacy services with an emphasis on the prevention of illness and overall wellness.