Billboard’s Philanthropy Issue: Inside How the Music Industry Gives Back
As 20 Feet From Stardom star Merry Clayton sang “Way Over Yonder” at the 2014 MusiCares Person of the Year tribute honoring Carole King, little did the famed soul singer know that four months later she would need MusiCares’ help. That July, Clayton was in a near-fatal car accident that left her wheelchair-bound. “My wonderful manager gave them a call, and it was a done deal,” says Clayton of The Recording Academy’s organization that helped her rehabilitation and sent a repairman to her house to fix her stair lift.
“I hear these stories regularly and am moved beyond words,” says Neil Portnow, president/CEO of MusiCares and The Recording Academy. “It’s unbelievably gratifying.” Indeed, in 2015 MusiCares dispersed a record-setting $4.7 million to nearly 7,000 members of the music industry, ranging from former label executives to roadies in need of everything from rent and addiction recovery to dental care and funeral expenses.