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Rex Foundation Announces Jerry Garcia Award and Grants


The Rex Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to supporting distinctive arts, environmental and social services programs through grassroots giving, is pleased to announce the recipient of the Jerry Garcia Award, along with other new grantees.

Arts for Humanity! is the recipient of the Rex Foundation's Jerry Garcia Award in memory of Grateful Dead guitarist and founding Rex Board member Jerry Garcia.  This award honors and supports individuals and groups that work to encourage creativity in young people. We believe the work of Arts for Humanity! (AH!) is just what the Jerry Garcia Award is about.  AH! celebrates humanity through the arts with programs that cultivate creativity and empower people with developmental disabilities, at-risk youth, the elderly and others in partnership with local artists and the Santa Barbara community. AH!'s performing and visual arts programs benefit individuals and build community by giving a voice to the underserved through the power and beauty of the arts.

We made four additional grants to grassroots non-profit organizations doing outstanding work.  In connection with the generous support of the Sacramento Kings that resulted from the February and March, 2011 Grateful Dead Tribute games, the following two local area programs received Rex grants:

  • Sacramento Blues Society Blues In The Schools (BITS) program, which gives Sacramento-area youth an opportunity to participate in a dynamic interactive musical experience with professional musicians. The Blues In The Schools program brings students together with musicians, educators, storytellers, and other performers in a synergistic environment, creating a free flowing exchange of the Blues experience and facilitating a lifelong passion for learning.
  • The Yolo County Children's Alliance, which was established in 2002 as an essential services program at Alyce Norman Center in West Sacramento to address a number of concerns that impacted children and families.  The Rex grant helps support the Children and Families' Access to Food program that provides 150 low-income families with fresh fruits and vegetables and other food items each week. This program, threatened by recent state budget cuts, not only provides essential food and nutrition education, but also enables the Alliance to reach more families with additional support services.

The two other Rex grant recipients are:

  • The Tiburon Salmon Institute (TSI), an organization that teaches school-age youth about salmon, steelhead, and the stream, river and ocean habitats that we share with them, with the overall mission to "Empower Today's Youth To Save Tomorrow's Salmon."  The Rex grant of $5,000 both supports this vital work and helped make possible a matched grant from the Belevedere Community Foundation, thereby significantly boosting the ability of TSI to advance its program.
  • The Bolinas Stinson Summer Camp provides all local West Marin children with equal access to memorable summer camp experiences. Although camp fees are kept to a third the cost of similar camps, many area families are unable to pay even part.  The Rex grant provides funding for The Music Project for the Bolinas Stinson Summer Camp to provide additional activities in the form of music education for the campers, with emphasis on building community through music, especially through the rhythms of drumming.

Click here to learn more about each of these great Rex grantees.

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About the Rex Foundation:

Furthering what Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead started 27 years ago, the Rex Foundation endeavors to fund grassroots programs that are often under the radar of larger funding entities, yet work in bold, innovative ways to carry out essential work toward a healthy environment, promotion of the arts, protection of indigenous cultures, assisting others less fortunate, building strong communities, and educating children and adults.  The Rex Foundation has distributed $8.6 million in grants to over 1,000 programs across the U.S. and internationally, while also carrying out fundraising initiatives that foster creativity and positive community connections.  Visit www.rexfoundation.org for a complete list of grantees and information about current initiatives.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo Keep the Music of their Childhood Alive

The centuries-old story of their country and culture has been the foundation of the a cappella singing group Ladysmith Black Mambazo since its beginnings, almost fifty years ago. On 'Songs From A Zulu Farm,' out January 25, 2011 (Listen 2 Entertainment Group), the nine-man group returns to their origins in the open fields of Zulu country to recreate the idyllic world in which they once lived by singing traditional folk tunes sung by mothers and fathers to children throughout the generations.

"These are songs from the earliest time in our lives," says Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder and frontman Joseph Shabalala. "When we sing these songs, we're singing from our personal history. It is such a joy for us to put these stories and songs together for our fans to enjoy too."

'Songs From A Zulu Farm' speaks to the universal joys of childhood. "Whether you are in Ladysmith, Virginia, or Ladysmith, South Africa, children are hearing songs they will carry with them for the rest of their lives and share with their own children," Shabalala says. "We hope that these songs sung to South African children can be enjoyed by families in many other places in the world."

Among the 16 tracks on 'Songs From A Zulu Farm' is "Old McDonald… Zulu Style," the classic children's song reworked in ways never before imagined as it's piped through the language and culture of the Zulu people.

Listen to "Old MacDonald" here.

Shabalala professes his love and longing for the times and places of his youth in “Thalaza,” a song he composed to encourage Zulus – and people of every nation and culture – to reconnect to the innocence of their younger years. “Your roots are who you are,” says Shabalala, who revisits the farmland of his youth every month. “I go home to see the sights I’ve known since I was a baby. When I see a field there, I see my father and mother standing with me as a little boy. I love going home because it is just that…home.”

Check out some Grateful Web coverage of Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Rex Foundation Announces Ralph Gleason Award to Jorma Kaukonen

We certainly set out running and we took our time! Once the board determined who was to receive it, consensus was unanimous.

The Rex Foundation is pleased to award Jorma Kaukonen the 2009 Ralph J. Gleason Award for a scholarship program at Fur Peace Ranch to serve Appalachian youth. The $10,000 award is in memory of music journalist Ralph J. Gleason, a major figure in the advancement of music in America in the 1960s, whose openness to new music and ideas transcended differences between generations and styles.

Founding Rex board member, Jerry Garcia, and guitarist Jorma Kaukonen were peers in the Haight Ashbury days of 1960s San Francisco. Their respective bands, Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane, exemplified the San Francisco Sound. Both musicians were pickers, that is they loved to play. Jerry and Jorma both taught guitar. Jerry gave lessons at Dana Morgan's Music Store in Menlo Park near Palo Alto south of San Francisco. Jorma continues to teach at the 116 acre Fur Peace Ranch which he and wife Vanessa created in South Ohio on the edge of Appalachia. According to Jorma, "Fur Peace Ranch is a ranch that grows guitar players." Classes and workshops are held throughout the summers with instructors who are also world class musicians. Fur Peace Ranch accommodates budding musicians of all skill levels. Jorma Kaukonen continues to perform with fellow musician, Jack Casady, in Hot Tuna.


The Rex Foundation gratefully acknowledges the contribution Jorma has made to a vast community of music lovers, musicians and underserved youth who will continue to be nurtured with this award.

Furthering what the Grateful Dead started 26 years ago, the Rex Foundation endeavors to fund grassroots programs that are often under the radar of larger funding entities, yet work in bold, innovative ways to carry out essential work toward a healthy environment, promotion of the arts, protection of indigenous cultures, assisting others less fortunate, building strong communities and educating children and adults everywhere.  The Rex Foundation has distributed $8.6 million in grants to over 1,000 program across the U.S. and internationally, while also carrying out initiatives that foster creativity and positive community connections.