Since we posted about the Tony Rice Foundation last Friday, we have had a number of questions from readers about this effort to raise money to help the legendary guitarist through a rough time.
Several folks have thanked or congratulated us on this venture, but it is important to point out that while Bluegrass Today is involved in helping publicize this campaign, it is actually being run by Jeff and Terry Pinkham, close friends of Tony’s from way back.
It was started last week after the Pinkham’s learned from Tony directly that his financial situation was precarious, owing to the fact that arthritis has kept him from performing much of the past two years. With royalty income also declining from his older recordings, not being able to work had taken a toll on simply meeting his living expenses.
Other folks had asked about the legal structure of The Tony Rice Foundation, whether it was a tax exempt organization, and whether donations were tax deductible. The answer is that it is not. In fact it is not even a foundation in the legal sense of the word. The fundraising is being done using PayPal, with all receipts (less PayPal fees) being directly deposited into Tony’s bank account.
No tax deduction is available to donors. We spoke with a pair of attorneys who both indicated that tax laws do not allow for deductible/exempt organizations that exist to benefit a single individual. But I’m sure that that won’t prevent anyone from contributing to Tony’s support.
We also received questions about how well the campaign was going, and we’re delighted to report that the Pinkhams have received close to $17,000 since last Thursday when they launched on Facebook. Terry told me on Tuesday that Tony had received $11,000 of it to that point, and that he was overcome by the level of support. He sent her a text when he checked his bank balance saying…
“I felt like I was 8 years old and got a lionel electric train set for Christmas. Right now I am speechless. I’m blown away… I’m just blown away.”
Terry said they have received donations from all over the world, including Norway, France and Germany so far, ranging from $10 to $2000.
But let’s not let this initial success diminish the interest in keeping it going. For my part, I’d like to see the total reach $50,000 by the end of the year, and that is a realistic goal. We all have extra expenses this time of year, but could add the cost of one more gift to our shopping list, and make it a donation to this legendary artist who has given so much to our musical community.
Jeff and Terry have another terrific suggestion, what they are calling the “Ten for Tony” program. They are encouraging folks to consider a recurring $10/month donation, which is very simple to do using the PayPal interface. Jeff said that if 400 people do so, there will be enough ongoing income to help Tony keep the lights on and beans on the table while he seeks proper medical treatment for his arthritis, and attempts to recover his voice, which he revealed during his induction into the IBMA Hall of Fame was possible with concerted effort.
I’ve done so, and encourage everyone to use the PayPal button below to either make the most generous one time donation your situation allows, or sign up as a Ten for Tony subscriber right away.
We’ll continue to update on the success of the Tony Rice Foundation going forward.