NASHVILLE, Tenn., Dec. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- The holidays are times of giving and the Country Music Association continues to do its part by donating $100,000 to charities designated by artists who participated in 2004 CMA Music Festival as part of the "Cause For Celebration!" charitable benefit program. CMA also made a separate $500,000 donation to the development campaign of the Country Music Hall of Fame(R) and Museum today in Nashville.
CMA Board Chairman Kix Brooks, of Brooks & Dunn, was on hand to participate in the announcement in the Ford Theater at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on behalf of the CMA Board of Directors. Capitol Nashville recording artist Jamie O'Neal also attended, representing all the artists who participated in 2004 CMA Music Festival.
"Artists have always participated in the CMA Music Festival, or Fan Fair, for 'spiritual' reasons - their spirit for the fan or just to give back to what got them there," Brooks said. "CMA recognizes this and has found a way to help the artists share this spirit with various causes that are meaningful to them. It is our hope as this festival grows that this 'sharing' could become not only meaningful, but truly significant to the needs of the community."
"CMA Music Festival is a way of giving back to the fans who support us all year long," said O'Neal. "Being able to donate some of the event's proceeds to charity makes it even more worthwhile for me. I am proud to be here today representing all the artists who participated in the 'Cause for Celebration!' program."
CMA Music Festival is an opportunity for Country Music artists to give back to the fans who support their careers, but it is also an opportunity to help raise money for worthy charities supported by the artists throughout the year. As part of the "Cause For Celebration!" program, half the net proceeds from the event are divided among charities designated by the participating artists. In 2004, 241 artists selected 94 separate charities as beneficiaries of the annual program.
"This is the fourth year of CMA's 'Cause For Celebration!' and artist participation and enthusiasm for the program continues to grow," said CMA Executive Director Ed Benson.
For the fourth consecutive time, the Country Music Retirement Community was the largest single recipient of funds from the program. On behalf of all the artists involved and all the charities that will benefit from the program, Brooks and O'Neal presented a check to CMRC Board President Brian Williams and CMRC Executive Project Coordinator Katie Gillon.
"It was clear from the inception of this project that we would need to have the full support of the artist community to make the vision of the Country Music Retirement Community become a reality," said Williams, Senior Vice President, Director Entertainment Banking SunTrust Bank. "Having now been one of the designated beneficiaries of the 'Cause for Celebration!' for the fourth year running, the Retirement Community Board of Directors is confident knowing that we have that support."
Rounding out the top five charities selected in 2004 were the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum; St. Jude Children's Research Hospital; Music City Christian Fellowship; and Vanderbilt Children's Hospital. Charity allocations were calculated and contribution amounts verified by the accounting firm of Lattimore Black Morgan & Cain, P.C. providing their services on a voluntary basis.
In addition to the "Cause for Celebration!" donation, the Country Music Hall of Fame received a separate check in the amount of $500,000 from CMA Board of Directors President Victor Sansone. The amount was unanimously approved by the CMA Board in its September meeting and is in addition to the $2 million previously donated by CMA to the Country Music Hall of Fame's original capital campaign.
"We are very grateful to the Country Music Association for this generous gift in support of the Museum's mission, which is the preservation of the evolving history and traditions of Country Music," said Museum Director Kyle Young. "The essence of the Museum is a remarkable 800,000 item collection, most of which has been donated, and the staff experts who interpret and care for it. The CMA's gift will support the tremendous cost associated with both the care of this unduplicated collection and our ability to make these treasures accessible to current and future generations.
"I think it is also important to note that the Museum's charter as a not- for-profit educational organization is not well known," Young continued. "A gift from such a prestigious organization as the CMA will help others recognize the value of our work and may inspire additional philanthropic support."
Since the inception of "Cause For Celebration!" in 2001, CMA has contributed $400,000 to charitable organizations (most of them in Middle Tennessee) - an exciting and substantial prospect as CMA works to grow CMA Music Festival in the future.
All of the artists - numbering more than 200 - that perform and make appearances at CMA Music Festival donate their time and often attend at their own expense. Their generosity helps keep ticket prices affordable for the fans that travel from every state and around the world for "Country Music's Biggest Party(TM)."
"The artists play for free and we could never afford to compensate them what they make touring, but we can give something back to charities and organizations that are important to the artists," Benson said. "It is one of the elements that make CMA Music Festival the unique event that it has become."
"You won't find an event like this anywhere else in the world with stars of this magnitude and numbers all playing for free," said Tony Conway, CMA Music Festival Executive Producer and President of Buddy Lee Attractions. "These artists do the event for the fans and for the charities the event supports. I can truly say we have the most caring and giving artists in the world."
Tickets for CMA Music Festival 2005, June 9-12, in Downtown Nashville are currently on sale. Four-day ticket packages are divided into categories corresponding to different levels of reserved seating at The Coliseum (the popular Gold Circle ticket option is sold out). Tickets may be ordered by calling, toll-free (800) CMA-FEST and through all Ticketmaster outlets.
A complete list of charitable organizations that received funds from the 2004 "Cause for Celebration!" is below in alphabetical order: