PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — More than a decade ago friends, family and local musicians rallied around Jeremy Wilson after he was diagnosed with a congenital heart condition.
“To have so many people come and gather around me and give me this gigantic community hug, well, it changed my life,” Wilson told KOIN 6 News. “As an independent musician, we work without unemployment benefits.”
That’s when Wilson realized he could give something back.
“This happens to a lot of musicians. And who are musicians? They’re the first people everybody goes to when there’s a catastrophe to raise money and stuff,” Wilson said. “Why don’t we have our own organization to help each other out?”
Over the past 10 years, the Jeremy Wilson Foundation has raised more than $850,000 and helped nearly 150 local musicians with funding for medical care.
“Obviously with what’s happened with the COVID-19 situation here, where all of the venues are closed down, it’s a pretty radical experience to go through as a musician,” he said.
The Jeremy Wilson Foundation was there to help, distributing more than $40,000 in the first few weeks of the pandemic to more than 100 local musicians.
“I know from these 106 people that we were the first assistance in about a 4-month period of time that this happened that actually reached those musicians.”
Just like the rest of us, the foundation is looking ahead to an unknown future.
“You know,” Wilson said, sighing, “that last thing to open up again is going to be the music industry, the live music world.”
But with the community’s help, the Jeremy Wilson Foundation will continue to help local musicians keep their heads above water.
“To watch this transformation happen again and again and again to different people who we’ve helped throuhg our emergency fund is, I mean, it’s humbling, man,” he said.
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