Leaders from Top Brands & Nonprofits Gather to Discuss Business as a Force for Good

(L-R) Karen Becker from TCNJ School of Business, Anna Lisa Lukes from Golden State Foods, Melodie Kinet from Samasource, and Chris Fox from Hanesbrands at the Responsible Business Summit West

By Laura Ferreiro

The inaugural Responsible Business Summit West took place in San Francisco November 14-15, bringing together top business leaders, nonprofits, think tanks and academics to discuss issues surrounding Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and ethical business practices.

Attendees included representatives from major brands including Facebook, Google, HP, Levi Strauss, Hanesbrands, Timberland and Target, and nonprofits including United Way, World Vision, Project Wet Foundation, the UN Global Compact and more. The conference, which was organized by the Ethical Corp, tackled important issues including the business value of social impact, how to scale up social impact through partner collaborations, leveraging social purpose as a recruitment tool, and how to realign established businesses around social impact.

On Day 1, a compelling panel on how to effectively educate colleagues about the value of CSR brought together reps from Google, Intuit, and Edelman public relations. Diane Wakeley Solinger, Director of Google.org, said that Google is investing $1 billion in three major social good areas: education, economic opportunity, and inclusion and social justice. Google is providing funding, volunteers and tools to innovative nonprofits to help them further their work, and this is a key pillar of Google’s business. Solinger admitted that it can be challenging to bring Google’s 80,000 employees along on this journey and to get everyone to feel a part of the social mission. She added that Google would welcome the opportunity to collaborate with other tech companies on social good initiatives to broaden their impact. “We go insular too often,” she said.

John D. Edelman explained that Edelman is also “on a journey to embed corporate citizenship and sustainability into everything we do.” In order to do so most effectively, the PR and marketing firm did a survey to find out which Sustainable Development Goals its employees cared about most, and is targeting its social good efforts to address those issues.

Another compelling panel examined the very important business value of social purpose. HP’s Director of Human Rights and Supply Chain Responsibility Annukka Dickens explained how HP is working across industry borders to make an impact, and showed a video about a program that HP implemented to buy recycled plastics from Haiti to make its printer cartridges while also helping local Haitians to earn money by collecting plastic bottles for recycling and transforming waste into useful products, making it a win-win for everyone involved. Watch the video below:

Zendesk’s VP of Social Impact Tiffany Apczynski said that she hopes CSR departments will be on par with other key operational departments like Human Resources at companies going forward, and mentioned that it has been proven that CSR is closely linked to employee contentment.

On the second day of the conference, an External Keynote discussion about the need for businesses to go beyond compliance was delivered by Michael Kobori, Vice President of Sustainability for Levi Strauss and Marcel Jacobs, Director of Supplier Sustainability for Philips Group.

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Cancer-Fighting Virtual Music Festival Returns with Ed Sheeran, Nick Jonas, The Breeders — Exclusive Vance Joy Video Premiere

Vance Joy performs from bed for Bedstock 2017

 By Rachel Komich &
Laura Ferreiro

Ed Sheeran, Nick Jonas, The Breeders, Iron and Wine, Vance Joy and several other musicians are back for the fourth annual Bedstock – a virtual music festival in which artists perform from their beds to raise funds and awareness for kids fighting cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. The artists are playing music from their beds in solidarity with seriously ill kids who have to spend their holiday season in hospital beds. Approximately 100 artists are taking part in this virtual festival to raise money for MyMusicRx, the “music as medicine” program affiliated with the Children’s Cancer Association (CCA).

Ed Sheeran performs from his bed for Bedstock 2017

This year’s theme is “Bigger and BEDDER,” due to the addition of a new inclusive feature that asks the audience for their participation. With the hashtag #BedStockChallenge, anyone can be part of Bedstock by adding their own performance to social media and encouraging their friends to do the same.

“Bedstock is an incredible showcase for the kids we have the privilege to serve and for our passionate belief that joy matters and music heals,” said Regina Ellis, founder and CEO of CCA. “By literally playing from bed, artists and their fans can join MyMusicRx in making a difference right now in the lives of children and teens in the fight of their lives against cancer and other devastating diagnoses.”

Over the past four years, artists including Jack Johnson, Panic! At the Disco, Moby, Norah Jones, Tegan and Sara, Jim James, X Ambassadors, The Decembrists, Lucius, and BøRNS have all gotten cozy for Bedstock and helped raise more than $95,000 to continue MyMusicRx’s mission of providing bedside and online music medicine programs nationwide through 25 pediatric hospitals. The program began more than 20 years ago with a vision to bring joy and stress-relief to patients of all ages and diagnoses through music.

The Breeders perform for Bedstock

“I’m excited to be performing from bed for Bedstock this year and hope that my fans and social followers will join me in supporting such an amazing cause,” said Jonas. “To play in bed for hospitalized kids who can’t get out of theirs is an incredible honor that I am proud to be a part of.”

Event sponsors and partners include Nike, Atlantic Records, Ace Hotel, Pandora, Sonos, Stumptown Coffee Roasters, and more.

Watch the exclusive premiere of Australian singer-songwriter Vance Joy performing his hit “Riptide” from bed below. For a full lineup and to watch all of the performances, go to bedstock.com.

The Killers and Imagine Dragons to Headline Las Vegas Shooting Benefit Show

The Killers

By Kaylee Muchow

A benefit concert will be held next month to help the victims of the recent Las Vegas shooting massacre. The benefit will be held December 1 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and will be headlined by Las Vegas natives The Killers and Imagine Dragons. Other performers include Boyz II Men, Cirque de Soleil performers, Penn and Teller, magician David Copperfield, and more that will be announced soon.

The benefit concert will aid people impacted by the tragic shooting, which took place October 1 in which a gunman shot and killed 58 people and injured more than 500 others at the Route 91 Harvest music festival on the Las Vegas strip before killing himself.

Tickets are available here and range from $75 to $125. Proceeds will go towards benefitting the Las Vegas Victims Fund. If you want to help in other ways, you can donate to the National Compassion Fund by texting VEGAS to 20222 to give $10. Your donation will go directly towards those who were affected by the Las Vegas shooting.

Businesses and Musicians Including Metallica and Dave Matthews Come Together to Support Bay Area Fire Victims

Metallica

By James Pleasant

In response to the firestorms that recently devastated the North Bay area in California, several businesses and musicians have banded together to form Band Together Bay Area – a coalition including Kaiser Permanente, Google, the San Francisco Giants, Levi Strauss Foundation, and Live Nation – to support those affected by the deadliest and most destructive firestorm in California history.

In addition to raising more than $6.5 million from corporate sponsors and donors, Band Together Bay area will host a benefit concert on Thursday, November 9 at AT&T Park in San Francisco, with headliners including Metallica, Dave Matthews, G-Eazy, and more. One hundred percent of the proceeds for this concert will go the Tipping Point Emergency Relief Fund in order to provide housing, food, education, healthcare, and other services to low-income communities devastated by the firestorm.

“Our neighbors in the North Bay have shown incredible strength as a community, and Google is proud to support Band Together Bay Area to help bring critical resources, funding, and support for those affected by the devastating wildfires in Northern California,” said Google VP Jacqueline Fuller.

“The recent tragic events up in Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino Counties have left us all saddened,” said Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich in a video promoting the concert.

“We’re here to help as much as we can, and this concert on November 9 is one small way we can do that.”

The firestorm has burned almost 200,000 acres and 6,000 homes in the Bay Area, leaving thousands of residents without homes or shelter. The damage costs have already reached billions of dollars.

Tickets for the concert are available at bandtogetherbayarea.org and at Ticketmaster. First responders, volunteers, and families that have been affected the fires will be able to attend the concert free of charge.

To learn more about Band Together Bay Area, click here. For more information about Tipping Point Community and their fantastic work, click here.

Linkin Park to Play One-Night-Only Live-Stream Tribute Concert for Chester Bennington

Linkin Park

By Rachel Komich

Linkin Park is hosting a night of music in honor of their late bandmate Chester Bennington on October 27 at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. For one night only, Linkin Park will be joined by artists including Blink-182, Machine Gun Kelly, Jonathan Davis from Korn, Kiiara, Zedd, members of No Doubt, System of A Down, Yellowcard, Avenged Sevenfold and many others.

The concert, Linkin Park & Friends Celebrate Life in Honor of Chester Bennington, sold out immediately but the entire show will be live streaming for free on Linkin Park’s Youtube channel beginning at 7:45pm PST on October 27.

The night will be the first time that Linkin Park will be performing on stage together since Bennington passed away on July 20, so it is bound to be a moving and emotional evening.

Linkin Park established the One More Light Fund in honor of their friend and bandmate’s enthusiasm to give back to others. The fund is part of the non-profit Music for Relief, which was co-founded by Bennington and his bandmates to provide aid to natural disaster survivors and to protect the environment. Follow the link to support The One More Light Fund here.

Joan Baez, Brandi Carlile, Dave Matthews and More Play Lampedusa Concerts for Refugees

Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle and Buddy Miller play Lampedusa Concerts for Refugees 2017

By Rachel Komich

A slew of notable artists have come together for a series of benefit concerts to help refugees rebuild their lives and to support educational opportunities for displaced people. Lampedusa: Concerts for Refugees features a formidable lineup including Emmylou Harris, Joan Baez, Dave Matthews, Steve Earle, Patty Griffin, Brandi Carlile, Buddy Miller, Lucinda Williams, The Mastersons, Lucinda Williams, Lila Downs and more.

The concert series, sponsored by the Jesuit Refugee Service/USA (JRS) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), will hit several cities throughout October including Los Angeles, Tucson, Albuquerque and Dallas. All proceeds will go toward aiding refugees.

“Education is a life-saving intervention for refugees,” said David Robinson, Executive Director of JRS/USA. “With Lampedusa, we hope people are inspired by the music and are compelled to get involved.” The Jesuit Refugee Service is an international organization that goes wherever it is needed in order to meet refugees, regardless of race and religion, to provide access and support for educational opportunities.

“I believe that education is the key to everything,” Emmylou Harris said after her trip to Ethiopia last year to visit one of the many JRS programs in 42 countries around the world. This is Harris’ second year working with Lampedusa.

Matthew Reynolds, UNHCR regional representative for the United States and the Caribbean, explained the importance of education for refugee children. “For children forced to flee their homes, school provides security, stability and opportunity when everything else in their lives is uncertain and unrecognizable,” he said.

UNHCR was established in 1950 by the UN General Assembly to protect the rights and welfare of refugees. Over the past 60 years, UNHCR has helped tens of millions of people get back on their feet.

Check out the remaining tour dates and line up here:

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Guitar Instruction Pack Designed by Ex-Megadeth Member Marty Friedman Benefits Guitarist Jason Becker

Guitarist Jason Becker

By James Pleasant

Renowned heavy metal guitarist Marty Friedman is teaming up with Riff Axelerator to help fund the living and medical expenses of Jason Becker—a legendary guitarist whose career was tragically cut short after he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, in 1990.

Riff Axelerator, a program designed to help guitarists of all levels learn how to play various rock and heavy metal licks, recently unveiled its Marty Friedman lick lesson pack which features 10 different guitar licks spanning Friedman’s expansive career. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to the Jason Becker Special Needs Fund.

Friedman, who’s best known for his work as lead guitarist for Megadeth in the 1990s, worked with Becker on music projects in the late 1980s. The two guitarists played together in the band Cacophony, and on two of Friedman’s solo albums.

Marty Friedman and Jason Becker, before Becker was diagnosed with ALS.

Shortly after receiving the New Guitarist of the Year award from Guitar Magazine in 1990, Becker began to feel a lazy limp in his left leg before officially receiving a diagnosis of ALS later that year, and was given three to five years to live. Despite beating those initial odds, the disease eventually left Becker unable to speak, walk, and play guitar. He remains mentally sharp as ever, and is able to effectively communicate and play music with eye pattern technology invented by his father. Becker’s journey is chronicled in the 2012 documentary, “Not Dead Yet.” 

ALS is a crippling neural disease that robs victims of the ability to use basic motor skills and deteriorates their muscles, eventually causing death. More than 6,000 people in the United States alone are diagnosed with ALS each year, according to the ALS Association.

To purchase the Marty Friedman lick pack and learn more about the fundraiser, click here. To donate directly to the Jason Becker Special Needs Fund, click here.

Music Tastes Good Festival Brings Together Top Bands & Good Food While Giving Back

Sleater-Kinney headlines Music Tastes Good

By Laura Ferreiro

The second annual Music Tastes Good festival is not only poised to sound good and taste good, but it is also doing good.

The festival, which takes place at the scenic Marina Green Park in Long Beach, Calif. September 30 to October 1, features an eclectic musical lineup including Sleater-Kinney, Ween, Ride, Charles Bradley, Los Lobos, Alvvays, Of Montreal, Dengue Fever, Heaven 17 and many more, and a tent filled with gourmet food created by top chefs from around the country. What’s more, it has teamed up with Oxfam, the international relief organization that works to create lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and social injustice.

Music Tastes Good is donating a percentage of ticket sales proceeds to Oxfam, and for just one day — August 31 — 100% of all ticket sales will go to the non-profit.

“We jumped at the opportunity to work with an organization like Oxfam,” said Christopher Watson, Music Tastes Good’s Creative & Marketing Director. “There are four famines in the world today and there’s not nearly enough attention on what’s happening. If we can help create even a small ripple in the big picture, whatever we could do to bring attention to this to help Oxfam we wanted to do.”

Watson explained that giving back is a huge part of why the festival was created in the first place. “There are three cornerstones of our brand — music, food, and doing good things and creating good,” he explained. “Oxfam gives us the opportunity to impress upon others and give back and do good, and honor (festival founder) Josh’s legacy.”

Josh Fischel, a long-time touring musician and documentary filmmaker, teamed up with SoCal talent buyer Jon Halperin to create the Music Tastes Good Festival in 2016. The idea was to showcase top talent and many of their favorite bands to attract showgoers to their hometown of Long Beach, which often plays second fiddle to Los Angeles in terms of attracting major musical acts. Tragically, just as last year’s festival was winding down, Fischel became gravely ill after a long battle with liver disease and passed away.

Alvvays will perform at Music Tastes Good

This year Watson, Halperin and Fischel’s wife Abbie Fischel are working hard to keep Fischel’s dream alive, booking several of his favorite bands, such as Ween, emphasizing good food and giving back. “Josh always wanted to do things as big and as crazy as possible,” Watson recalled. “We tried to stick to that. We booked some of his favorite bands. And Josh loved food, so we worked hard to make sure we elevated the food component and we’re bringing in chefs from New Orleans and Long Beach for a cultural exchange of flavors and ideas. We’re calling it ‘port to port.’ Both cities are so rich in cultural diversity, and we tried to play on this. Essentially we’re honoring Josh by building an incredible party.”

Oxfam Music Outreach Manager Bob Ferguson explained that there’s a lot of synergy between his organization and the festival, which is why it made sense for them to be a part of it. “Oxfam is thrilled to partner with Music Tastes Good this year,” he said. “There are so many interesting parallels between the festival and our work. I love that thousands of people will come together around common interests of great music and delicious food. We work with some of the greatest artists and chefs in the world to amplify our hunger, poverty, and justice campaigns, and we know that Southern Californians are always helpful to us. It’s a perfect place for us to be.”

Grab your festival tickets here. Check out the Music Tastes Good lineup announcement video here:

Dispatch, Bob Moses and More Headline Creating Equilibrium Festival Tackling Environmental Issues

Dispatch

By James Pleasant

With the effects of global warming becoming increasingly evident around the world and a U.S. administration that is rolling back pollution standards, pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement and is defunding the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), more and more musicians and music festivals are becoming eco-conscious and working toward real-world solutions to address these issues.

One such festival is the brand-new Creating Equilibrium festival, which takes place August 25-27 in the Squaw Valley of Lake Tahoe, Calif. The festival and accompanying conference aim to tackle environmental issues head-on and provide attendees with a star-studded concert featuring performances by Dispatch, Allen Stone, Bob Moses and supergroup Secret Stash comprised of Nate Ruess (Fun.), Stefan Lessard (Dave Matthews Band), Mike McCready (Pearl Jam), and Sully Erna (Godsmack), and more.

Creating Equilibrium will also host a “Visons” conference, which brings together technologists, environmentalists, scientists, and business leaders to brainstorm and develop real-world solutions to environmental crises that are doing damage to the Earth and its inhabitants. Speakers including conservation biologist Patricia Wright, Nature of Things host David Suzuki, M.D., YouTube star Prince EA and many more will provide insights and solutions on how to combat modern environmental challenges.

The festival also gives environmental entrepreneurs the opportunity to receive funding for their eco-friendly ventures through the EQ Ventures program. Venture capital firm EQ Ventures will pick three to five startups with the best, most-practical initiatives for solving environmental issues. Winners will receive $25,000-$100,000 as an initial investment, an official EQ Ventures membership that includes mentoring and training, and the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel of additional high-profile investors.

Creating Equilibrium was by founded by journalist and science writer Steven Kotler, technology entrepreneur Gabrielle Hull, and others as a response to the recent lack of government support for environmental issues in combination with their love of music.

For tickets, click here. To apply to attend the “Visions” conference, click here.
To apply to the EQ Ventures contest, click here and sign up by August 6.

Toad the Wet Sprocket’s Glen Phillips on Partnering with Sierra Club for Clean Energy Campaign and Summer Tour

Toad the Wet Sprocket. Photo: Rob Shanahan

By Laura Ferreiro

Toad the Wet Sprocket’s upbeat pop melodies garnered them a string of hits in the ’90s including “Walk on the Ocean” and “All I Want.” But dig a little deeper and you’ll find poignant, introspective lyrics and weighty themes that tackle some of life’s most enduring issues and questions. So it’s no surprise that such a thoughtful band supports many important social causes, ranging from protecting the environment to supporting research for rare diseases.

Now, as the chart-topping band hits the road to mark the 20th anniversary of their 1997 album Coil, Toad has teamed up with the Sierra Club, one of the most influential environmental non-profits in the U.S. Together they’re promoting the Ready for 100 campaign, which is a movement of people working to inspire leaders to embrace a world powered by 100% clean, renewable energy by the year 2050.

“We’re all big supporters of the Sierra Club,” lead singer Glen Phillips tells Music for Good. “It was an easy thing for us to all agree on as far as an initiative to support. It seemed like a no-brainer. We know that the old ways of doing business aren’t particularly good for the planet. The current administration is turning the clock back in terms of stewardship of the planet. We wanted to do our part keep the conversation rolling on how people can get involved locally to [affect positive change].”

Glen Philips. Photo: Ashtin Paige

The Ready for 100 campaign encourages people to act locally to lend their voices to pursuade mayors, CEOs, pastors, principals, civic and community leaders, parents and students to find renewable energy solutions. Renewable energy sources including solar and wind power have no carbon or greenhouse emissions, use resources that will never be depleted, and are not toxic to humans and the planet, unlike energy powered by fossil fuels including oil and coal that can be harmful to people and the Earth’s environment.

The partnership between Toad the Wet Sprocket and the Sierra Club will benefit the non-profit through fundraising, awareness raising and reaching fans directly at their concerts throughout North America. Phillips said that getting involved in this campaign is one way the band can help offset some of the negative impact that touring and personal buying habits can have on the environment.

“We use factory-made goods and go out [on tour] in a diesel-fueled bus,” he said. “To make up for some of the impact we’re having and help net good with what we’re doing, we wanted to get involved in the movement toward clean energy.”

Phillips, who comes from a socially engaged family – his mother and father were both scientists and his mother was a member of the League of Women Voters – said that they also want to do what they can to help foster a new generation of activists. “How do we encourage the younger generations to find their activism, from Gen X to the Millennials?” he asked. “Millennials are getting really involved on the local level. The more tools that are available to remind them of local action, the better. There’s a ripple effect.”

Meanwhile, Phillips was excited about the upcoming tour dates with his long-time bandmates, minus one member of their quartet. “Our drummer Randy [Guss] broke a couple of ribs, so we’ll have another drummer coming out,” Phillips said. “It’s the first time we’ll have someone else in the drum seat. It’s always been the four of us with the exception of maybe five shows ever.”

Toad the Wet Sprocket’s tour will hit cities across the U.S. this summer, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, Tucson, Fort Lauderdale, Nashville, Austin, and Dallas. For a complete list of tour dates, click here.

In addition to attending a Toad the Wet Sprocket concert in a city near you, you can take action and join the global movement for 100 percent clean and renewable energy here.