The Little-Known Nonprofit Helping Your Favorite Bands Give Back
May 4, 2017
Grantee News From Revolutions Per Minute:
“I want to help you but I don’t know how,” Hurray for the Riff Raff’s Alynda Segarra sang on her Trayvon Martin tribute “Everybody Knows” back in 2014. Fortuitously, the song led her to Revolutions Per Minute, a nonprofit that quietly has helped musicians turn their good intentions into effective advocacy since 2005, when it was known as Air Traffic Control. Last year, selling “Women Are Powerful and Dangerous” T-shirts with help from RPM, the band raised more than $7,000 in just one week for Third Wave Fund, which benefits LGBTQ youth in need, and Oakland-based girls’ group Radical Monarchs. “RPM really eliminates that hopelessness you can feel sometimes when you’re like, ‘I care, but I don’t know what to do,’” Segarra tells me.
The song that first brought Segarra to RPM now finds a home on the organization’s most visible project to date: Our First 100 Days. Launched on Inauguration Day by Secretly Group’s family of labels and the folks behind last year’s 30 Days, 30 Songs, the subscription compilation benefits groups fighting President Trump’s aggressively regressive policy threats. It consists of a new song per day, through April 29, from a host of indie favorites including Angel Olsen, Will Oldham, Mitski, Toro Y Moi, Jens Lekman, and Waxahatchee, raising almost $100,000 to date from $30 subscriptions as well as charity merch from Courtney Barnett, David Byrne, and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Guided by RPM, the team behind Our First 100 Days chose a wide range of beneficiaries that “really speak to the core of what is so totally fucked about the Trump administration,” says Secretly partner Phil Waldorf: pro-choice advocates All Above All, immigrant rights supporters Cosecha, and environmental activists People’s Climate Movement, plus regionally focused political organizers Southerners on New Ground and Hoosier Action. More>