Justin Timberlake, Tiger Woods, veteran music industry executive Charles Goldstuck and more are partnering to support the Bahamas with a relief fund pledging at least $12 million to the beleaguered island nation.
The One Bahamas Fund, a U.S.-registered 501(c)(3) non-profit is now running with support from Timberlake and Woods’ international real estate development and asset management company NEXUS Luxury Collection, the Royal Bank of Canada and members of the Bahamian resort community Albany, where Goldstuck last year completed construction on world-class recording studio The Sanctuary, located on the grounds of the resort. They are all now imploring their peers to get involved.
“I do want to make an appeal to my colleagues and peers and friends in the music industry to support either the One Bahamas campaign or one of the many other campaigns that others are running to raise funds for the Bahamas,” Goldstuck, founder and co-chairman of Hitco Entertainment, tells Billboard. “You have a lot of people in dire circumstances with dire needs. So any support coming from our industry will make a difference.”
Hurricane Dorian struck the Abaco Islands on Sept. 1 with sustained winds exceeding 175 miles per hour before moving to Grand Bahama Island the following day, where it stalled out for nearly 36 hours at roughly the same intensity. Both places sustained catastrophic damage, displacing a combined 70,000 residents — a number representing 20% of the Bahamas’ entire population. The death toll currently stands at 50, while the number of missing was last reported at 1,300, with many of those feared to have been swept out to sea by the powerful storm surge.
“What most Americans don’t realize is when something happens in America, you’ve got FEMA, and you’ve got the government that can just press a button and say, ‘We are going to put X billion dollars in disaster relief,’” says Goldstuck. “But in the Bahamas, that doesn’t exist. So if the private sector doesn’t step up, then there’s no one to help.”
Goldstuck tells Billboard that 100% of money donated to the One Bahamas fund will go directly to relief efforts in the country, including both first-response efforts on the ground and long-term support including shelter (temporary and low-cost housing), living necessities (clothing, food and communication devices), educational support (scholarships, transportation costs and supplies), community (aiding in infrastructure needs outside the Bahamian government’s traditional purview) and seed funding for Bahamian businesses. The fund will also work with grassroots and established programs “with proven success and accountability controls in place” to directly assist those impacted by the storm and accelerate rebuilding efforts.
To distribute the money, Goldstuck notes the fund will soon convene a reconstruction committee — to be appointed by NEXUS Luxury Collection co-owners investor Joe Lewis, Woods, Timberlake and golfer Ernie Els, among others — to ensure it gets allocated appropriately.
“That organization will be working very closely with the Bahamian government to make sure that the resources are going to where they are most needed, and where the most vulnerability exists,” he says.
For Goldstuck, formerly president and COO at BMG, the devastation of the storm hits close to home. Though he only lives on the island part-time (Albany, located on New Providence island, sustained only “minimal damage” in the storm, he says), he has made a significant investment of energy there in an effort to lift up local residents, including co-founding the Bahamas Youth Foundation, which offers scholarships for local teens to attend music programs at the Sanctuary recording studio.
“You know, you will never meet a Bahamian that isn’t full of laughter and talent,” he says. “I always say to people that the Bahamas, pound for pound, has the most talented human beings, because every Bahamian can play an instrument, can sing. From a music industry standpoint, there’s not a Bahamian that doesn’t love music and doesn’t participate in music.”
For more information and to make a donation, visit OneBahamasFund.org.