Through its Music Industry COVID Support (MICS) initiative, the Country Music Association has helped aid music industry professionals affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today (March 9) the organization announced a support donation drive benefiting Musically Fed and will be accepting goods at the CMA office (35 Music Square East, Nashville, TN 37203) Monday, March 15 through Friday, March 19 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day. Among the items needed are basic food items such as pasta and rice, as well as toiletries.
Food Items Needed:
Dried Pasta & Sauce
Rice, Quinoa, Dry Beans
Musically Fed also has an Amazon Wish List, from which donations can be purchased before March 19. To direct your purchase to the food drive, select “Country Music Association, c/o FOOD DRIVE’s Gift registry” as the shipping address.
Sarah Trahern. Photo: Courtesy CMA
CMA CEO Sarah Trahern spoke to MusicRow about the donation drive, and about CMA’s continued efforts to help support music industry professionals who are struggling during this health crisis.
In the state of Tennessee alone, more than 50,000 music jobs have been impacted by the pandemic, and that number is estimated to be hundreds of thousands more nationwide.
“One of the people on our board drew a diagram for us one day and around this person’s artist, there were about 140 people directly on the road food chain—not to mention the manager in the office, a publicist, and a freelance staff,” Trahern says.
“We started working on ‘What can we do over the course of the year?’ Some of it is hard investment dollars.”
At the onset of the pandemic, CMA donated $1 million to The Recording Academy’s MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund in addition to a $100,000 donation to Music Health Alliance.
CMA has since outlined additional funding to six nonprofit partners—Music Health Alliance, Musically Fed, Notes for Notes, Porter’s Call, The Store and Touring Professionals Alliance Kitchen —which, along with previous nonprofit investments, are funded through CMA’s $3 million long-term COVID-19 commitment that began in early 2020.
The organization has continued to analyze and assess the specific needs of music professionals to determine the most vital resources and services to provide. Established as a portal for key resources in the categories of food supply, health and wellness, and career services, MICS helps to connect industry professionals with appropriate nonprofit partners offering critical support.
“One of the things that I was most proud of during this time was a small program that we worked on to help people with their resumes and to find temporary jobs for people who don’t have work right now. We don’t want them to leave our business, but they might need access to a job for six months.
“[The donation drive] is something easy for us to engage the people in the Nashville community and the people in the music community, the ones who are doing okay right now to say, ‘Hey, come lean in and help us. Help us help our brethren get back on their feet.”
While Trahern is hopeful that touring is on the horizon with vaccines beginning to roll out, programs like the resume workshop and the upcoming donation drive are put in place to help get touring professionals to the other side. “They’re not a population that is used to asking for help,” she says. “They’re the people in black, they’re the ones who crawl up in the rafters. Our business was one of the first businesses to close and we’ll probably be the last one to open back up in a lot of ways.”
CMA will march on to support the music industry during this hardship. “We’re going to continue to support programs around the country. We’re doing another nationwide program that will be announced in the next few weeks with six to eight markets that are music cities outside of Nashville, but that have a high density of people in the music business who are hurting right now. We’ll continue our support with groups like the Music Health Alliance, and Porter’s Call to work on creating access to mental health resources during this time.”