The T.J. Martell Foundation for Cancer Research has named Warner Music Nashville Chairman Emeritus John “Espo” Esposito the new Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the organization, according to Billboard.
The announcement comes as the organization continues to rebuild following the embezzlement scandal concerning former Executive VP & GM Melissa Goodwin, who was found to have embezzled four million dollars from the music industry charity.
Esposito’s initial term will be for two years. He succeeds Universal Music Group General Counsel and Executive VP Jeffrey Harleston, who will now serve as Executive Chairman. Esposito, who departed his role as Chairman & CEO of Warner Music Nashville at the end of 2022, has served as a T.J. Martell Foundation trustee since 2006, but has supported the organization since 1997.
“We got the double whammy of the COVID pandemic and somebody being a bad actor,” says Esposito to Billboard. “I felt qualified with my knowledge of the organization and passion for them to do what I could to help get us back on track.”
Esposito and T. J. Martell CEO Lynn-Anne Huck noted that safeguards have been put in place, including a 28-page policies and procedures manual for financial transactions, to ensure more transparency in the future. “If you go to our website, you’re going to find more information than almost any other nonprofit. We are absolutely transparent with everything,” Huck tells Billboard.
The organization has also reported they are cutting down on the number of events held each year and are considering creating marathon teams to raise money for T.J. Martell, as well as increasing planned giving by individuals and estates in addition to increasing branding and sponsorship possibilities. By relying less on staffed events, Esposito and Huck hope to keep personnel numbers lower. In 2019, T.J. Martell had 25 full-time employees, but is now down to only three. They will reportedly hire more staffers as needed.
The T.J. Martell Foundation for Cancer Research was founded by record executive Tony Martell in 1975 following the death of his son, T.J., from leukemia. the foundation holds multiple annual charity events and campaigns with the music communities in Los Angeles, New York, Nashville, Miami and more. They have raised more than $280 million in support of medical research grants and helped secure more than one billion dollars in research funding.
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