Barbershop has enriched your life,
and I hope you will help pay it forward to others
who really need this wonderful community.
Our mission at HFI is to connect people to the singing causes YOU (the donor) care about. It’s no longer my primary directive to make a profit for an organization and their larger financial needs. At HFI, I am here to serve the wishes of you, the donor. I really like being on our team and serving this mission. I’m hoping you might too.
You could help us in a variety of ways, including…
In 2022, HFI gave back approximately $800,000 to over 350 districts, chapters, and harmony brigades. Yep… those funds kept these groups alive as they rebounded from no live events and significant membership loss; perhaps when they needed financial help the most! You can designate your giving to your chapter, and we will automatically pay out to your bank account a few times a year.
The POH program (music for incarcerated young men) in Ohio and growing now into Texas with the help of the Vocal Majority! We also have been funded by Josh Groban’s organization Find Your Light Foundation (yes… THAT Josh Groban). Because of our donors, these kids are given the ONE thing they need more than anything else in their lives. Harmony. Let’s help these forgotten young people with love, and the healing power of harmony.
The Association of International Champions (gold medal winning quartets from BHS) are giving back to our barbershop community and schools at no cost to the participants! This HFI partnership for the AIC outreach program has impacted over 6,000 students, 140 music teachers, and is only getting more popular with requests pouring in! I had the privilege of directing an event with 200 middle school kids in California with BHS champions “Signature” last spring, and I got to tell you: this program got me so inspired that I made a leap of faith to retire from public school music teaching and work for HFI!
You may want to give directly to BHS in Nashville and their four program areas to 1) energize young singers 2) preserve barbershop 3) build singing communities and 4) support music education. 100% of your giving will go to our partners in Nashville, with nothing “off the top” for HFI administrative fees.
it’s 2023, and individual philanthropy for churches and service organizations are no longer the norm. I get it… times have changed. However, we at HFI believe that if everyone chips in, just a little bit, we can make a profound difference and help barbershop move past surviving to THRIVING. Can you imagine if the world found the joy WE know singing barbershop? The conflicts we could solve? The people who don’t know the family they are missing?
These programs are not magic and require some money to make them happen. Think about it: $10 a month is all it takes to get started. Heck, I pay Netflix quite a bit more than that, and my heart is not happy when I see my bill. However, my giving to HFI feels really good. I know my gift is helping barbershop into the future, and I like being part of something bigger than me.
I would love to have you join our HFI team and be a barbershop hero. Barbershop has enriched your life, and I hope you will help pay it forward to others who really need this wonderful community. Think about it?
July 2023 Announcement
In case we have not met, I’ve proudly been part of our district since the 1980’s, am a retired music teacher, former BHS director of education, and now your Harmony Foundation International rep up in Bellingham, Washington. The mission of Harmony Foundation International is to connect people through charitable giving to enrich lives through singing, and it’s a great fit for me at this phase of my life.
If you are newer to barbershop (or perhaps just missed it), HFI is a separate organization than the Barbershop Harmony Society. This is how most higher education and hospital philanthropy works. Yep, we at HFI overtly support BHS and are deeply connected, but our first loyalty is to you, the donor. This relationship between HFI and BHS was working quite well for many years, until our “troubles” began 3 years ago.
As you may know, the Barbershop Harmony Society sued our volunteer board members of HFI. It’s all rather complicated, and eventually BHS settled with HFI a few months ago. The full agreement is available to read online, but I acknowledge that a 45 page legal document is difficult to follow.
A two sentence version of the agreement would be:
The BHS and HFI relationship will look very much like our relationship pre-lawsuit. HFI will be visiting chapters, brigades, and barbershop conventions to raise funds on behalf of BHS. Those funds will be used to help BHS execute their programs.
A checklist version of the main points (leaving out many details) would be:
HFI will resume raising funds on behalf of BHS
BHS will cease all fundraising activities
HFI will make a $610,000 yearly payment to BHS, made in installments
A $1,000,000 Barbershop Harmony Society Endowment Fund shall be created, remain the asset of HFI, but distributions shall be made to BHS
Donors may now clarify their unrestricted legacy gifts (estate gifts) to HFI, BHS, or some combination of the two
All New Restricted Gifts to BHS that have a specific purpose must be approved by BHS’s Gift Acceptance Committee. Restricted Gifts to Harmony University, Next Generation Barbershop, or any other previously existing BHS program may be accepted without permission.
BHS may apply for additional funds (beyond the $610,000) with a grant from HFI or other grant-making organizations
If BHS grows membership by 5% over the prior fiscal year and HFI’s unrestricted giving exceeds $2.5M, then HFI will increase it’s contribution
HFI may continue to support programming like Power of Harmony, AIC Outreach, and Donor Choice to chapters and districts and engage in fundraising with other barbershop-related groups.
HFI will not be allowed to actively fundraise for SPPBSQSUS in any capacity
A new system for selecting members of the HFI board
BHS will assign at least two BHS Fundraising Employees to begin working full time with HFI, with the BHS employees reporting directly to the HFI CEO.
Lawsuits are always painful, but at some point we must come back together as a barbershop family and, well… forgive. For me, as a former staffer at BHS when this lawsuit started and now as an HFI staffer when the lawsuit ended, re-hashing misinformation is counterproductive and pointless. Why would I want to say bad things about the place I used to work and the organization I have loved since the 80’s? Why would BHS want to bash the organization that is raising money for the programs they execute?
I also recognize that before you are comfortable with your charitable giving, you may have questions about the settlement. I get it. Reach out to me directly with any of your questions…. that’s my direct email and cell phone below. I’ll answer your questions, but also share great news about HFI and BHS programs that are changing lives!
Cell: (253) 241 – 5616