Sunday, November 15, 2009

How We Spent the Michael Jackson Benefit $$$

That 2.5-minute report was KVBC's Hetty Chang breaking news of some of what we're doing with the money we raised from "Las Vegas Celebrates The Music of Michael Jackson" at the Palms. Now I'm going to provide a fuller explanation.

First, I'm a wee bit bummed to say that after expenses were factored in, Erich Bergen and I actually did not hit the $100,000 mark I had hoped, believed and said we had. We're still waiting for the check from the concession sellers, but when it's all done we'll have raised a little bit more than $96,000. There were a couple of expenses that I wasn't aware of when I made the previous estimate, but that's just a function of we show-producing newbies having so much to do pulling this off that we didn't always remember to tell one another about some costs.

There's still the potential for more proceeds once we edit and package the DVD version sometime early next year and small donations come in every so often via our site VegasLovesMJ.Com. And, as previously stated, any credible journalist who wishes to review our records, including receipts, is more than welcome to contact me.

To answer one question that had been asked, though, nobody from the Jackson family received a dime for anything. Per union rules we did have to pay the members of our band, but every other performer on the Pearl stage appeared for free. Also, neither Erich nor I received a thin cent of compensation unless you count the box of leftover T-shirts in my garage, and the records we submitted for reimbursement held by the Clark County Public Education Foundation prove this. The money from our various revenue sources -- concessions, tickets, the Paypal donation account and the Moonwalker screening -- goes directly to them and then has been disbursed when we provided receipts and two members of the CCPEF board review them.

All that said, we DID raise $96,000! And here, after some meetings, is what we decided to do with it:

* 30 percent goes to the Artists 4 Kidz program, a partnership between the CCPEF and entertainer Clint Holmes that pairs aspiring student performers to be mentored by professional singers, dancers, musicians and actors of which there are so many in Las Vegas. That's about $28,000.

* $5,000 goes to pay to bring the Canadian group Barrage to perform at Sierra Vista High on April 7 for a concert for which several schools will be selling tickets. The schools keep the proceeds from the tickets and, since past years' shows of similar type have raised as much as $8,000, this arrangement allows our funds to grow. All proceeds of that ticket sales must go to music education programs, per our original edict.

* Eleven schools will receive $2,500 grants for their music departments to use buying instruments, risers, sheet music and whatever else they need. If the principals commit a matching $2,500, then we will give them another $2,500. It's a way to give principals, who have so many demands for discretionary funds, an incentive to push some of it this way. Those schools are Robison Middle School, Monaco Middle School, Findlay Middle School, Cashman Middle School, Swainston Middle School, Knudson Middle School, Cram Middle School, Lyon Middle School, Brown Middle School, Bonanza High and Desert Oasis High. That's $60,000 and, so far as I've heard, all principals are meeting the challenge.

We held back a small bit of the money just in case there are further expenses. In a few months, we'll give that to a 12th school if there's enough. Rick McEnaney, the director of secondary fine arts for the CCSD, chose those schools based on need and provided us with lengthy explanations for each pick.

As Hetty's KVBC report shows, the needs in this district are dire. It is so gratifying to be able to put on a show that Norm Clarke declared the best in Vegas this year and to do actual, tangible good at the same time.


Hiker said...

Good report. Congratulations on such a fine job! The public accounting is marvelous in a time when people are afraid to open their books to scrutiny. Bravo!

atdnext said...

Congrats! Raising $96k isn't something to be ashamed of, and it's great to see the music saved at Chapparal HS. Any chance we'll see future benefits to help more schools? I fear we'll need more if the state decides to make more budget cuts in January.

Michael said...

Congratulations and enjoyed reading the breakdown and transparency angle of this story.