Today kicks off the ongoing Exclaim! Holiday Gift Guide series, helping you find the perfect gift for the music lover on your list. In the spirit of the holidays, we're diving into the charitable side before the commercial side of the holidays; we thought we'd offer people a chance to be obsessive givers, as well as receivers. Below are a few ideas for music-related or musician-approved charities.
The Exclaim! Holiday Gift Guide: Giving Back (To Charity):
Gifts That Keep Giving
● After last year's covers record Too Cool to Live, Too Smart to Die, the folks behind Have Not Been the Same: The CanRock Renaissance, 1985 to '95 are offering up a collections of rarities and unreleased material from many of the bands included in the book. All proceeds from the titular record, which was released through Pheromone Recordings, will go to the Kids Help Phone.
● FundTunes functions like any digital music store, except that as well as offering up MP3s, half of the net profit from each download goes to a charity of the customer's choosing.
● Fans of Animal Collective, or even just really cool kicks will be interested in the shoes each band member designed for Keep. Best of all, part of the proceeds go to the Socorro Island Conservation Fund.
● Fucked Up donated the proceeds from their "Do They Know It's Christmas?" single to Justice for the Missing and Murdered, Sisters in Spirit and Downtown Eastside Power of Woman, all three of which battle violence against aboriginal women.
● MC Eternia has supported the 411 Initiative for Change, a group that creates arts & culture programming for schools, for a number of years.
● Sarah McLachlan founded the Sarah McLachlan School of Music.
● Jill Barber is involved in the Girls Action Foundation, which creates programs to build up the skills and confidence of young women.
● Meredith Shaw launched the Girls Who Believe contest through the similarly focused Girls Inc.
● Sarah Harmer has spent close to a decade advocating against the building of rock quarries in the Niagara escarpment; donations to Protecting Escarpment Rural Land will be accepted through her own website.
● Feist donates proceeds from her tour merch to Citizens All United for Sustainable Environment, who oppose the building of a limestone quarry two hours north of Toronto.
● The Simple Plan Foundation was started by the Montreal pop punks to donate to a variety of charities.
● Rush's Geddy Lee sits on the board of directors of Grapes for Humanity Canada, a non-profit organized through the wine community.
● It helps to give to a cause you believe in, so music fans might want to consider some of these music related charities. Both MusiCounts and Music Makes Us support music education in Canada.
● The Unison Benevolent Fund provides emergency relief and benefit programs for Canadian music industry workers.
● Music Heals is a music therapy non-profit.
● Talkicmusic.com is a social networking site that donates much of its ad revenue to charity.
● When it comes to musicians giving back, it's hard to top the dedication shown by Raine Maida and his wife Chantal Kreviazuk over the years to War Child. "They're doing interesting things," says the Our Lady Peace frontman. "They try to find the right local partners so that once they leave there's an infrastructure there. It's pretty crucial." A grassroots non-profit dedicated to giving aid to children in conflict zones, Maida and Kreviazuk travelled with the organization to Iraq in 2001 for the doc Musicians in the War Zone and then to Darfur, Sudan in 2004. Over the years they've encouraged many other Canadian artists to get involved. "They come at it from a different approach and try to have that creative spark. They're trying to motivate the next generation to get involved."
Tune in tomorrow and next week for the rest of the Exclaim! Holiday Gift Guide, including books, gear, videogames, and more.