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Now that the sun has set on the world’s greatest free “art party”, preceded by the world’s biggest sporting spectacle, New Orleans wakes up to the morning of philanthropic giving in support of the Roots of Music Foundation (RoM) by the ticket marketplace StubHub. It is perhaps fitting that the company had set its sights on New Orleans to launch its StubHub Rising Stars program, where it identified RoM as having “the greatest positive impact” for underserved, at risk youth. New Orleans itself is a rising star, having recovered in amazing fashion from the effects of Hurricane Katrina and decades of neglect, to firmly re-establish itself as one of the great cities of the world.
The film industry hasn’t failed to notice the attractive quality of post-Katrina New Orleans, either, and television shows such as HBO’s “Tremé” help showcase the music and poetry of the Big Easy’s streets. The producers of “Tremé” have hired young people from RoM as extras on various episodes and co-produced a documentary with StubHub to showcase RoM’s work. The documentary reached an audience of nearly 50,000 people before Super Bowl Sunday, leading StubHub to donate an additional $50,000 from the StubHub Foundation (an corporate advised fund of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation) to match the $50,000 Rising Star grant award made earlier in January 2013. The total of $100,000 will “keep [RoM’s] doors open, offering mentoring and musical education to 140 kids, keeping them safe and off the streets while fostering the future musical talent of New Orleans,” said RoM co-founder Allison Reinhardt. It’s the largest single donation in the organization’s history.
Additionally in 2013, the Rising Stars program granted $25,000 to New Orleans’ Youth Empowerment Project to support expansion of its sports and recreational programming for inner city youth.
The Rising Stars award is designed to have a transformative effect on both organizations and the communities they serve. Choosing RoM was no accident, says StubHub Head of Corporate Responsibility Emma Leggat: “We came to New Orleans in 2012 to meet with locals and ask their opinion on whom to award. The overwhelming recommendation was for Roots of Music.” In addition to the financial support, awardees gain access to StubHub’s network of sports, theater, and music fans, and employee service projects- StubHub staff will periodically visit New Orleans to work with RoM on community projects.
StubHub will be looking to organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York City, and London, England, in 2013 for the 2014 award. For more information on the Rising Stars program, visit www.stubhub.com/rising-stars. For more information on the Roots of Music Foundation, visit