Tune-Yards Tries to Keep the Glass Half Full With H20 Charity The Water Fountain

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Merrill Garbus of Tune-Yards performs during the Austin City Limits Music Festival at Zilker Park on October 4, 2014 in Austin, Texas.  

Part of Billboard's "Good Works" series, we take a look at musicians working for change. Here, we get the lowdown on alt-pop act Tune-Yards' charity The Water Fountain.

The Name: The Water Fountain

The Founder: Tune-Yards, the Oakland, Calif.-based, world-music-meets-alt-pop act led by Merrill Garbus.

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What It Is: A fund that raises money to help support organizations dedicated to water issues -- from pollution to drinking-water access -- around the world. "I was having a lot of anxiety about water in my own community, where there has been a huge drought," says Garbus, who launched the fund in December. "Water is going to be a big source of conflict in the world."

How It Works: Tune-Yards -- which donated $15,000 to Haitian dance company Rara Tou Limen in 2014 -- contributes $1 from every ticket sold on tour to the fund, along with fan donations and a portion of revenue from sales and licensing of 2014 LP Nikki Nack. The fund is a partnership with RPM, a nonprofit that has helped acts like R.E.M. and Pearl Jam with their philanthropy.

Named after: A Nikki Nack standout that recently was used in a Sonos ad. "I was apprehensive about selling 'Water Fountain' for use in a commercial," says Garbus. "A huge part of being convinced to do that was starting this fund with money we got directly from that."

How To Help: To learn more or to donate, go to

This story first appeared in the Jan. 17 issue of Billboard.