In 1994 the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund was founded to provide assistance to all career musicians who are facing financial hardships due to illness and disability. Eligible recipients include recording artists, session musicians, and songwriters from all over the country and from every musical genre. Sweet Relief assists musicians with their living expenses, insurance premiums, prescriptions, medical treatments and expenses including operative procedures, groceries and utilities bills. The organization also offers assistance to elderly musicians, with or without serious medical conditions, experiencing financial difficulties.
Depending on the individual need, grants can range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars. To qualify for assistance applicants must embody a significant professional music career besides demonstrating serious financial hardship. Even those with private or publicly funded health care may still require assistance.
Often treatments for cancer, brain injuries, strokes and MS expenses can quickly add up to hundred thousands of dollars. The Sweet Relief Musicians Fund acts as event organizer, administrator, and personal advocate uniting family, friends, industry partners and fans when overwhelming financial complications are encountered by an already suffering artist. Sweet Relief also acts as a liaison between the musician and insurance companies renegotiating medical costs so that money can be used to keep artists in their homes during treatment and rehabilitation.
Many major recording artists including Richie Hayward of Little Feat, Garry Shider of Parliament Funkadelic, Exene Cervanka of X, and Mike Porcaro of Toto have all looked to Sweet Relief for leadership, compassion, and solution. Sweet Relief participant Doobie Bros. bassist Skylark suffered a stroke. He posted a message to fans on Doobie Bros website saying, “Every day has been a good day, filled with signs of recovery. I’ve been working hard, doing all kinds of exercises, feeling real good about my progress, and I’m really looking forward to the day I can join my brothers onstage.”
Unfortunately, each week the organization hears from notable artists reaching out for help due to facing overwhelming challenges. Historically musicians have been notoriously underinsured and the lack of benefits within the industry compounds the problems of those already stuggling. Sweet Relief and all the musicians involved with the program see the need and are more than willing to assist these great performers. The hope is by sharing their very personal stories, they will further promote the cause of distressed musicians encouraging more financial aid and generosity.
By supporting Sweet Relief Musicians Fund donors have the opportunity to assist in events to raise additional revenue for those in need. If you would like to help out this wonderful organization there are a few service campaigns where participation is currently needed. An individual monetary donation is quick and easy, for more information on how to donate click here. There are autographed guitars, limited edition prints and shirts available for auction on Ebay too, all proceeds going to Sweet Relief. Over the years musicians have provided services by volunteering their time and talent, donating proceeds from a tour or event merchandise, including the Sweet Relief logo on their merchandise and coordinating Sweet Relief Benefit Concerts. You can find more information on how you or your band can help out and get involved here.
If you are a musician that needs help you can contact Sweet Relief toll free by calling 888-955-7880. If you prefer there is an online application you can fill out and someone from the organization will be in touch with you as soon as possible. Sweet Relief Musicians Fund offers additional services and resources as well as financial assistance, such as employment and job-placement resources and information on Unions and Guild assistance funds. Check their resources page here for additional categories. A list of live music fundraising events is posted here,