The Country Music Association with the help of Epic Recording artist Tammy Cochran and RCA Recording artist Andy Griggs donated $100,000 to charities designated by artists who participated in Fan Fair 2002 as part of the "Cause For Celebration!" charitable benefit program.
Fan Fair, "The World's Biggest Country Music Festival," is an opportunity for Country Music artists to give back to the fans who support their careers, but it is also an opportunity to help raise money for worthy charities supported by the artists throughout the year. As part of the "Cause For Celebration!" program, half of the net proceeds from the event are divided among causes designated by the participating artists.
Cochran presented a check to the Cystic Fibrosis Chapter of Nashville on behalf of artists who designated the charity. Cochran, who is an honorary member of the chapter's board of directors, lost her two younger brothers to the disease and is very active in supporting the work of the foundation. "Country Music fans have the biggest hearts," Cochran said during the presentation. "By coming to Fan Fair the fans are giving a little of themselves to this cause."
Representing the artists who chose the Muscular Dystrophy Association as their designated charity, Griggs was at CMA to present a "Cause for Celebration!" check to several representatives of the Nashville MDA chapter. "I don't think there is a wrong charity – especially when it comes to children. But MDA has my heart," Griggs offered, citing his past work as a counselor at an MDA camp in Louisiana. In 2002, Griggs hosted and claimed the title at a celebrity archery tournament during Fan Fair and he plans to bring the popular event back to Fan Fair in 2003.
More than 150 artists took part in Fan Fair's "Cause For Celebration!" program. The $100,000 will be distributed among 53 charities. The top six charities selected for 2002 were the Country Music Retirement Center; Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum; St. Jude Children's Research Hospital; Special Olympics of Tennessee; Make A Wish Foundation; and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Charity allocations were calculated and contribution amounts verified by the accounting firm of Lattimore Black Morgan &Cain, P.C. providing their services on a voluntary basis.
"The response to the program from the artists has been overwhelming," said Ed Benson, CMA executive director. "They enjoy spending time with fans, but the added benefit of helping their favorite charities in the process makes their participation in Fan Fair a rewarding experience for everyone."
In 2002, net income only slightly exceeded expenses, but the CMA Board of Directors voted unanimously to support the charity program by contributing additional CMA funds needed to ensure that $100,000 would be donated on behalf of the participating artists. "Even though we have incurred substantial cost increases in redesigning Fan Fair, we are proud that we were able to keep our 'Cause For Celebration!' commitment to the artists who support this unique event," Benson said. "And this is just the beginning – we hope that as Fan Fair continues to grow, so will our charitable contributions."