Midwest Music Foundation
Unless you’re a local musician, it’s likely you are unfamiliar with the Midwest Music Foundation. I was until I befriended the MMF’s Executive Director, Rhonda Lyne. Spending time with Lyne, I have learned a lot about the Midwest Music Foundation and the tremendous amount of good it does in the community. I asked Lyne if she minded my sharing some of that with our readers. She was thrilled and so am I.
I first asked Lyne how and why the MMF was founded? “The Midwest Music Foundation was founded in 2009 to give back to the Kansas City music community and help them with medical expenses. My involvement started when I organized a fundraiser for a musician friend of mine, Abigail Henderson, who was diagnosed with breast cancer. Abby was the Executive Director until she passed away. I stepped in at that point and have been the Executive Director since 2013,” Lyne shared. “I, along with Sondra Freeman, an MMF volunteer, made Abby a promise to keep the organization going. It was one of the last conversations we had before she passed. MMF is run almost entirely on a volunteer basis, and the fundraiser I first organized, Apocalypse Meow, is now an annual benefit for our health care fund.”
From those early days, the Midwest Music Foundation has expanded both its focus and its reach, though, at the core, the primary focus remains to assist local musicians facing urgent medical expenses. “Abby’s Fund for Musicians Health Care, which was renamed when Abby passed, gives grants to those musicians. We have given out over $320,000 in grants, along with other health services,” Lyne told me. She added that the MMF is now partnering with local health care providers for preventative care services such as mammograms, dental care, flu shots, COVID tests, custom earplugs, and other health screenings. Last year, the foundation added mental health care grants for counseling and treatments. “And when COVID hit in 2020, we started a COVID relief fund that gives small grants to musicians affected by the pandemic. We have given out over $140,000 from this fund and are still accepting applications as the music industry has still not recovered fully,” Lyne said.
Lyne says the natural partners to healthcare assistance are education, career development, events and resources. Lyne says the group’s goals are clear and straightforward.
Strengthen musicians’ health through wellness services and health care grants
- Advance artists’ careers by providing performance and educational opportunities
- Provide access to a growing network of industry professionals
Lyne told me she loves the hands-on part of the job. “I enjoy being able to help people directly through our health care and COVID grants. Most musicians struggle financially, and most don’t have insurance, or they have plans with high deductibles. I know we can make a positive impact in their lives, and that’s important to me,” Lyne stated.
Lyne says the MMF is always looking for volunteers and donations. If you’d like to help in either capacity, head to their website where links for both donations and volunteers can be found. midwestmusicfoundation.org
And if you’d like to learn more, Lyne says she’d be happy to hear from you directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.