Volunteer group merges live music with community causes
by Danielle Jackson
As the largest charitable concert event in North Carolina, Band Together NC uses the powerful medium of music to bring people together and raise funds for worthy causes. But it didn’t start out that way.
The nonprofit — developed by five friends as a call to action after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 — originally was created to help fund recovery efforts throughout the world. In recent years, though, it changed its focus to its own back yard.
“It became apparent to us that Wake County, the place where we were raising our children, needed our help,” says Danny Rosin, co-founder and volunteer president.
So the group refocused its efforts on selecting a specific local cause each year and hosting a concert to raise funds for that particular cause. This concept has enabled Band Together NC to spread its impact throughout Wake County.
“We’re proud to call the Triangle home and to have the privilege of serving our community,” Rosin says. “The Triangle is a great place to raise a family, and we’d like to do our part in keeping it that way — and perhaps making it even better.”
A solid start
Band Together’s first concert raised more than $60,000 for family relief efforts in New York City and Washington, D.C. Twelve concerts later, in 2010, the organization hit a new milestone as its surpassed the $1 million donation mark.
The 501(c)3 nonprofit is run entirely through the efforts of its hundreds of volunteers. And almost a decade later, its original founders — Rosin, Tom Lyon, Phil and Shellie Gruber, and Skip Mangum — remain part of its board.
“We’re still leaders invested in what we’re doing,” Rosin notes. “It’s proof that Band Together has stamina.”
He calls the organization’s focus a party with a purpose, drawing major headliners — and ever-increasing crowds — to downtown Raleigh each year. Benefitting organizations over the years have included Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Triangle, the Food Bank of Eastern North Carolina, Lucy Daniels Center for Early Childhood, Music Maker Relief Foundation, Operation Smile, SAFEchild, Special Olympics North Carolina, and Wake County Boys and Girls Clubs.
Making a difference
Last year’s nonprofit partner was StepUP Ministry, a faith-based organization that prepares low-income and homeless people in Wake County to change their lives and become self-sufficient. The benefit concert was held May 22 in downtown Raleigh, drew 2,500 people, raised $358,000, and featured acts like Michael Franti & Spearhead, One EskimO, and Holy Ghost Tent Revival. Funds raised helped StepUP Ministry hire an employment counselor and life skills case manager, who were able to train an additional 125 people in week-long employment classes and another 30 in one-year life skills classes, as well as place 50 more people in jobs.
“I’m pretty confident that I will not experience another event like Band Together, and it was because of the people and their belief in StepUP and its training of people in the Triangle,” says Steve Swayne, the organization’s executive director.
Alliance Medical Ministry, the 2011 concert’s benefactor, provides primary and acute care for the working uninsured.
“It’s basically everything you’d use yourself with regard to primary health care, ranging from annual physicals to treatment for things like strep throat,” says Sean Harrison, co-founder and executive director.
Alliance Medical Ministry houses a 21-room clinic, pharmacy and lab in its 18,000-square-foot facility, which is located near WakeMed Health & Hospitals in Raleigh. In 2010, the group — which includes a core professional medical staff and several volunteers — saw an estimated 12,400 patients.
Band Together has a goal of raising $500,000 for the nonprofit, which will hire another doctor and nurse to increase the number of patients it can treat.
“Patients don’t just come here never to be seen again or get bounced around among doctors,” Harrison notes. “They’re assigned to a provider and will see the same doctor each time, which is particularly helpful for chronically ill patients to help improve their lives and better manage their health.”
Now that’s something to celebrate.
Danielle Jackson is editor of Wake Living, Fifteen501 and Triad Living magazines.
To learn more
For more information on Band Together, an all-volunteer organization that raises funds for and awareness of select charities through events that showcase and support musical talent, call (919) 447-4949 or visit www.bandtogethernc.org.