The Board of Directors of The Blues Foundation, the national organization of blues societies and blues fans, unanimously approved a series of motions designed to integrate the Blues Music Association, the trade alliance of blues professionals, into the Foundation. The Blues Music Association (BMA) will become an arm of the Blues Foundation and its assets will be transferred to The Blues Foundation. The process is expected to be completed quickly to maximize joint efforts surrounding the 25th anniversary of the W.C. Handy Awards in May, 2004 and the "Year of the Blues" initiative proclaimed for 2003 by the United States Senate.
The Blues Music Association was established in 1998 as a 501(c)6 trade association to support and promote the professional efforts of those involved in the blues music industry. The Blues Foundation is a 501(c)3 chartered in 1980 with a mission of blues music education and preservation. This current move to integrate the two organizations reflects a desire on both groups’ parts to unify their efforts to further develop and preserve what is an essential cultural underpinning of all American music.
"The efforts of the Blues Music Association and The Blues Foundation are so closely parallel that working together can only lead to more success and visibility for the blues,' says Bruce Iglauer, president of the Blues Music Association. "We want to emulate the structure of the other genre-specific music organizations by creating a strong working relationship between blues professionals, including blues musicians, and the fans and educators. We look forward to working with our friends in the Blues Foundation to benefit everyone in the blues community."
"The opportunities with the Blues Music Association and the Blues Foundation being one will allow our efforts to reach new heights," says Kevin Kane, president of the Blues Foundation. "As we approach the 25th anniversary of the Handy's in 2004 a multi-focussed but single organization makes the most sense. The future is very exciting for the Blues Foundation. As we pursue our dream of a Blues Music Hall of Fame and Handy Museum the synergy of what merging the Blues Music Association and Blues Foundation can accomplish is limitless."