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February 26, 2010

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February 26, 2010

I came to Society of Singers when I was unable to pay my rent or health insurance. They helped me in my hour of need and for that I will be forever grateful.

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If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

help many others in need and is still doing a fantastic job with whatever they have. There are always times in this industry when we suffer and are unable to meet bare necessities. The very kind and understanding staff have helped me, and must continue

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2007

February 26, 2010

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February 26, 2010

I have been through a prolonged period of inability to work due to a job-related injury. It took six years for me to receive a settlement from Worker's Comp, and during the interim, I nearly lost my home due to my inability to pay my mortgage. Within days of receiving my application, The Society of Singers came to my rescue with a much needed emergency grant that saved me from losing my home. Without their assistance, I would have given up. But because of a much-needed boost during a time of need, I was able to stay in my home. Since then, I have tried to help other singers and musicians suffering the same kind of emergency situations, and my passion to help others was born out of the generosity and help I received unconditionally from the Society of Singers. Since musicians rarely have health insurance or other benefits, the work that the Society of Singers does is extremely important to the music community they serve. There is not enough support to be offered, but the Society of Singers came through for me, and many others. I hope they receive the recognition they richly deserve.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Their grantmaking to me, and their kindness during the process. It is difficult for me to ask for help, but they made it very easy to get an emergency grant when I needed one.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

A desire to give the same kind of assistance to other musicians suffering similar circumstances. There is a great need for this assistance, and SOS personifies empathy and kindness on the highest level.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Unbelievably kind, generous and empathetic to a fault. Wendy Garfink is an exemplary leader for this organization.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Put a huge dent in the suffering of millions of underinsured musicians.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

February 26, 2010

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February 26, 2010

The Society of Singers was exemplary in coming to my assistance! I've been a singer/actor for over 20, made my living. 2 years ago, I fell ill, was hospitalized, with subsequent surgeries. I wasn't able to pay my bills or the rent. Last year, a fellow singer suggested I contacted them. They paid my rent once or twice and helped me in a time of extreme need. I'm so grateful for them: Bless you and Thank you from the bottom of my heart

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The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

helping me in need...thank you thank you thank you!

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How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

February 26, 2010

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February 26, 2010

I was down and out after Hurricane Katrina and really needed financial help as I could not find a music job that could pay the bills plus my vehicles were giving me major problems. The SOS helped me tremendously at the time and I will never forget that! Thank you so much for the help you gave to me and my family in time of need.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the fact that they helped me and my family when I needed it the most

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If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

maybe help songwriting/musicians like me work recording, writing, gigs, etc.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2007

February 26, 2010

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February 26, 2010

…A true story On April 11, 2007, I was critically injured when a MTA bus struck my car. I sustained a variety of injuries ranging from a broken hip, two broken collarbones, two torn rotator cuffs, a 70% severed sub scapularis to multiple body and facial lacerations some that would require stitches and eventually, plastic surgery to repair and improve. One of the most frightening moments of my life was when the firefighters cut from my car with the jars of life. The vehicle was completely destroyed. Disbelief and pain were quickly replaced by overwhelming anxiety and uncertainty as I wondered how I would recover physically, emotionally, and financially from the mounting losses I was suffering as a result of this accident. I was on the fast track to losing everything including my home and the twoe things that meant the most to me in the world. The first was the opportunity to continue my education as a full-time college student at UCLA and the second was pursuing my career as a composer, singer and producer. I was in need of immediate aid there was no one to help…or so I thought. A friend called the California Jazz Foundation, who contact the Society of Singer and within hours of learning of my situation, they began making arrangements to get me medical care, in home aid, legal advice, resources to cover living expenses and transportation to my medical and physical therapy appointments. Don’t these people know I’m a jazz musician? Yes, they did and that was the reason they were there for me. The Society of Singers along with the California Jazz Foundation and MusiCares, made it possible for me keep my home, continue my medical and rehabilitation treatment and recover enough to resume my academic studies in the 2007 fall quarter. I graduated in June of that same year and made the National Dean's list as well. As a native daughter of New Orleans, the greatest jazz city in the world, I am sincerely and deeply grateful to the Society of Singers for their efforts to ensure the longevity of jazz as an American art form by providing invaluable resources and services to the artists of that community in their time of need. You have made me proud to call myself a jazz musician because your efforts demonstrate a love, respect, and genuine concern for us I did not know existed. You allowed me to endure the healing process with courage, enthusiasm but more importantly, dignity. You were my bridge over troubled water and I stand on higher ground because of it. Thank you! Please support the Society of Singers Sandra Booker Jazz Musician & Comedienne

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If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

change the lives and futures of countless artists who have committed their lives to the preservation and performance of American music and its history as such. The Society of Singers provides an invaluable for musicians in their time of crisis and need.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2007

February 26, 2010

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February 26, 2010

SOS consist of real life troopers who truly care for the singers of America. We were relocated to Kansas after Hurricane Katrina and really had no idea of what was in store financially. We got a call on my cell from Emily and Wendy stating that they were prepared to assist us with funds to pay for living expenses. They paid rent, sent money for food and clothing, and replaced the musical instruments that were damaged in the flood. The call was unexpected but a great blessing to us. My wife and I get very emotional when we think of this because we were in such a state of shock trying to shield our children from the horror that was upon us. To receive such a call saying "We're here for you. This is what we're prepared to do. What else can we do?" was like "Oh my God!" a tremendous blessing. That was not the first time they've helped us. In the past when I had the surgery on my back they assisted with all of our bills. SOS is a blessing to many singers & musicians. They should be most proud to know they have caring, kind-hearted members like Emily, Wendy, and the rest of the staff. Singers and musicians would not survive without such an organization that gives so much support, love and care. Much love and appreciation to you all. The Martinez Family

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

As a recipient.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Would not.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The great help and Love we got.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Marvelous!

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Help lots of Singers and make a greater contribution to our Music Society.

Ways to make it better...

Could not be better.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Financial for the future of all needed Singers.

One thing I'd also say is that...

Please do not stop we need you so much, more now than ever.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2007

February 26, 2010

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February 26, 2010

I am a professional singer and I originally became aware of Society of Singers from a pianist I worked with. It's difficult to put into words how much I appreciate the help that SOS ended up giving to me. When I was in my early 20's, I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease called "Sjogren's Syndrome". There are varying degrees of this disease, but the common factors are, dry eyes and dry mouth. When I came to SOS for help, I was in my late 30's and the lack of moisture in my mouth had caused my teeth to deteriorate so badly, that my dentist said I was about 6 months away from dentures. All of my teeth had already been filled, and my gums were receding badly, as well as my teeth were literally cracking. Not only was this horrifying to consider as a single woman, but especially as a singer! My dentist said that my teeth could be saved by crowning all of them, but that would be the only way. The cost was going to be several thousands of dollars, and I had no savings - I was living gig to gig - hand to mouth. There was no way I could ever pay for this procedure. When I went to SOS, I was nervous and thought that there was no way I was going to get a grant, but everyone there was very kind and I consider it a small miracle, and an answer to prayer, that I was given a grant to save my teeth. I wish I was able to pay back, in full, what I owe financially to SOS - I don't know if I'll ever be able to do that. My hope is that this letter will end up helping SOS in order to help others in times of need.

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The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I am not exaggerating when I say that without the help I received from SOS, I would not have teeth. It is impossible for me to express my gratitude to the donors and to SOS for their generosity toward me.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

hope they would be able to attract younger people to be donors and get younger people to understand the need to help others.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Wendy Garfinkel. She is a kind and giving person who is gifted to help others.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Great - very helpful. Especially Wendy.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

HELP SO MANY PEOPLE!!!!

Ways to make it better...

I could tell every singer in America about SOS....but they just don't seem to get it. There is no union specifically for singers - if every singer were a member of SOS, we could all be helping each other!

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

reaching a younger demographic.

One thing I'd also say is that...

it's a shame that SOS isn't more widely known. If every singer in America were members, we would be able to help each other in times of need.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

February 26, 2010

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February 26, 2010

I cannot remember when I started singing. What I do remember is that they finally consecrated my robe in the church choir when I was five. I started singing professionally when I was sixteen. I am a lyric Soprano with a four and one half octave range. Too bad that did not help when I could not pay my bills after a serious injury which I sustained on stage which left me with a mallet fracture to my finger on my right hand, damage to my spine and my head. ( I lost consciousness in this experience and Workman's Comp was never mentioned.) I was on a cane for 2 years. When I contacted SOS I could not believe it. It is hard for me to even write about this without getting emotional. The first thing she said to me was, " I'm here to pay all your bills!" I could not speak which is a miracle in itself. I felt like an angel from God had come into my life. SOS was the safety net that I needed until I got on Disability which I did receive the first time I applied, but it was a 7 month process. If it had not been for SOS I would have been homeless, and just the thought of that is so scary since it is coming from a Princess who has ALWAYS worked, and lived at a very reasonable level of comfort. MORE THAN THE SUPPORT was the positive energy-- the attitude that 'you are not alone--(which was a blessing since all of the fair weather friends had gone)and all of your years of working have meaning, and we are absolutely here for you.' Even though I know that I will see my 100th birthday -- I already know that SOS is going to be in my will. I know they will be grateful for the money, but there is something I will never be able to replace and that is the emotional support just knowing that someone cared. The first law of nature is survival of the fittest, and if something happens to you and you are no longer one of the fittest-- you will quickly find out that there is a price to be paid -- and this is coming from someone who never took an asprin before this. What SOS does for you cannot be measured in dollars and cents. It has restored my faith in humanity. I recently have watched people's hearts go out to the people of Haiti, and that is a good thing. We just sometimes forget that charity begins at home

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

They literally saved my bacon and kept me from being homeless

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Make sure that they had the funds to have a larger staff.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

I will never forget hearing those words in such a cheerful voice-- 'I'm here to pay all of your bills!'

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Understanding. when you have always been sucessful -- a 'valley esperience' is hard enough, and you meet people that you have never met before -- some who take full advantage of your situation. That was NOT the case here.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Every artist would know that they have a safety net, and when it is time for tithing would remember who either was there or would be there for them if something happened.

Ways to make it better...

It could not have been better.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Money!!

One thing I'd also say is that...

We need to know more about them and what they do BEFORE something happens, and that would be another source of income.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2007

February 26, 2010

more

February 26, 2010

In 2003, I suffered a brain aneurysm. SOS came to my rescue, assisting with living costs. They didn't make the application process difficult, which was a total blessing, since after surgery, I could not navigate through any red tape. Tears came to my eyes, when at the end of the year, I received a wonderful "Diva Care Package" full of lotions and hair care products and CDs, just thoughtful little things, that brought tears to my eyes. Thank you, SOS!!

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The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

their helping me after major surgery.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

add an office to NYC. I would also work on creating housing for retiring singers on the East Coast, where so many artusts live.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the ease with which they gave me a grant.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

compassionate, kind and considerate.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

create workshops for aspiring singers, teaching them life skills necessary for artists in the USA. It could also create housing for artists who often have erratic sources of income.

Ways to make it better...

there was an office on the East Coast, so that I could volunteer for them, from time to time.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

trying to find funding. The general public knows only about the lives of the rich and famous, and don't know that for every rich and famous singer, there are 100 who struggle to live from their craft.

One thing I'd also say is that...

I'm glad that SOS exists, to know that they care about singers, whether they're in the limelight or not.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2003

February 26, 2010

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February 26, 2010

I had been working as a musician since 13 when I left home.This is in 1959. I have been with bands with the #1 hit at the time. Then I found myself out of work in Memphis health getting bad and teeth looking horrible. Got a gig and to sing I was hiding behind the mike so my teeth were hidden. Although working I could not afford the over $2000 dollars dental work would cost. So Society of Singers came to my aid and I was able to sing with confidence. They are caring people and I for one am very grateful to them and am glad to know they are helping Singers to continue to do such good work

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The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

there ability to help with health needs of singers.

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How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2006

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