By John Lynds
One of Seattle’s most influential rock bands to come out of the early 1990s Pacific Northwest ‘grunge’ scene announced it has donated a portion of its ticket sales during the band’s two Boston shows at Fenway Park earlier this month to Zumix for a second time.
Pearl Jam and the band’s Vitalogy Foundation announced Zumix will receive $18,000 to help fund some programs at the popular Eastie music and performing arts non-profit on Sumner Street. Earlier this month Pearl Jam played two sold-out shows at Fenway Park. With proceeds from ticket sales, Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy Foundation contributed funds to Zumix, as well as to three other local charities.
The Vitalogy Foundation is a public non-profit organization that was founded in 2006 by the members of Pearl Jam (Eddie Vedder, Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament, Mike McCready and Marr Cameron) and and their manager. The Foundation supports the efforts of non-profit organizations, like Zumix, who are doing commendable work in the fields of music, community health, the environment, arts & education and social change.
The first time Zumix received a donation from the Seattle rockers was back in May 2006 when the band played at the Boston Garden. That money at the time helped Zumix finish their Firehouse Capital Campaign when the music center moved from Maverick Street to the historic Sumner Street Firehouse.
Pearl Jam is one of America’s most influential alternative rock bands. Since 1990, they have toured 38 countries, performed 966 shows, sold nearly 32 million records in the United States, and an estimated 60 million worldwide.
Zumix has been doing great work in Boston and surrounding neighborhoods for 25 years – giving kids a safe place to go where they can not only build incredible music skills, but find mentors and peers who help them gain confidence, communication skills and other key attributes that help them on the pathway to a successful life.
Zumix has grown to serve over 1,000 young people per year, has an incredible reputation in Boston, and has received national attention as well, having received the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from Michelle Obama at the White House in 2011. Yet Zumix still struggles to raise funds each year, to keep their mission of providing predominantly free access to their programming.
“This gift is so incredible for us for two reasons,” said Steven Snyder, Zumix’s Board President. “First – we definitely need the funding. We have huge waiting lists for our programs and it is always a challenge for us to do all that we do for the kids without needed resources. And second – Pearl Jam – are you kidding? That is the WOW factor! Pearl Jam making a gift of this nature to Zumix hopefully introduces us to others who may want to lend support. And the kids at Zumix of course think it is so cool to be recognized and supported by a rock band of their status.”
Zumix, during their 25th Anniversary celebrations, has a number of special events planned, including a Radio Launch Block Party on September 17 at the Zumix Firehouse.
Their radio station, WZMR is going live on 94.9 FM and a special radio shout out to Pearl Jam is being planned.
Zumix’s Director Madeleine Steczynski said she could not be happier about the Vitalogy Foundation Donation.
“We are so thankful to Pearl Jam, the Vitalogy Foundation, and the many friends of ours who helped made this happen,” she said. “Pearl Jam is such an amazing band, and also amazing people. They never let success control them, never became pawns in the industry. They paved their own path, remained committed to their art, and connected honestly with their fans. Their generosity is incredible, and we are so honored to have been chosen as one of their beneficiaries.”
Pearl Jam recognizes Zumix’s 25-year commitment of improving young peoples lives through music, and hopes this contribution will help Zumix continue their great work for another 25 years.