Giving Back Through The Arts
The American Guild of Musical Artists has the good fortune to share the same acronym, AGMA with the America Gives More Act. We have always been a philanthropic organization and anytime we are associated with other movements or organizations that promote giving, we are proud of the connection. The America Gives More Act boost the cause of philanthropic giving into a new light.
The America Gives More Act gives tax breaks to large donors. This is a simplistic explanation of a more complex structure, but that is a bottom line. From the mere standpoint of good business logic, it protects a company from paying higher taxes while it supports charitable giving. It’s an all around win/win situation. Corporations that need to please shareholders, can offer a vast catering menu of profits, that will satisfy everyone’s appetite in the deal.
And let’s not discount the fact the philanthropy is also associated with great personal importance. It gives the shareholders the bragging rights of saying they were a cornerstone in a particular project that affected the lives of the needy. Whether it’s local, like bringing instruments into a neighboring middle school or sending food to depressed areas of America, the sense of self satisfaction is also a significant player. Philanthropy enriches the lives of the receivers and the givers.
The American Guild of Musical Artists has held many performances in the aid of a cause. We are very active and have found that sense of satisfaction to be worth all the hard work involved with pulling an event together. We are often called on to assist with moral, such as after Hurricane Katrina several years back as well as garnering financial contributions through ticket sales.
A rocking good concert will bring out the best in people and prompt them to dig deep into their pockets to help a cause. Financial donations are the best many people can do with personal time limitations. Through appreciation of the arts and the creative artists that provide entertainment, financial donors can give and walk away feeling like they have done their part and received more than they’ve given. If time or personal inclination doesn’t permit them to be hands on they still make a huge difference with their financial gifts.
Benefit concerts are one of the Guild’s best ways to help a community struck by disaster. I am constantly amazed at the level of participation by the musicians who essentially donate of their time and talents. A minimum wage is earned to offset travel and set-up expenses, but it’s not unusual for many of the artists to refuse payment and have it redirected to the core effort.
Performers willing to give of their talents to benefit a worthy cause is as old a practice as the field of entertainment itself. In the last century we saw big name, Hollywood stars entertain the troops. Bob Hope was one of the most prolific philanthropist known for bringing much needed comic relief and moral boosting entertainment to the troops during WW II, the Korean War and the Viet Nam War. He goes down in history for his generosity in honoring the men and women who were putting their lives on the line to keep the world free. Mr. Hope may have set the standard by lending his enormous prestige and worldwide influence to a grand cause, but even the smallest backyard stage shows in a neighborhood crippled by floods or tornadoes, sees the best in the entertainment business give top quality performances in the name of the needy.
The American Guild of Musical Artists is dependent on your philanthropic deeds, as well. We depend on the kindness of others to make the whole program work. We want to continue to give and not hold back in times when our giving means a plate of food, a smile or a warm, safe bed for those who are facing challenges. It’s a circle game that never has to end. There will always be needs, and we at AGMA want to be the part of the equation that will always give.