Phish benefit concert: Giving plan and first grants announced

For Immediate Release
November 14, 2011

Stuart Comstock-Gay
President & CEO
Vermont Community Foundation
802-388-3355 ext. 285 (Carolyn Fox)

The rock band Phish through its WaterWheel Foundation announced the initial grants from their September 14 concert at the Champlain Valley Exposition via their WaterWheel Fund for Vermont Flood Recovery, housed at the Vermont Community Foundation. The bulk of the concert proceeds are now in the fund, as the final accounting and vendor payments for the concert were recently finalized. The fund now holds approximately $835,000; an additional $300,000 – $400,000 is expected to be added to the fund as supplementary revenue totals from webcast, digital audio download, and merchandise proceeds are confirmed in the near future.

The band’s WaterWheel Foundation has worked closely with philanthropic advisors at the Vermont Community Foundation to jointly develop a comprehensive giving strategy for the concert proceeds. The first round of grants from the fund will be distributed this week.

The fund’s initial round of support for Irene relief and recovery efforts will be comprised of several large grants ranging from $50,000 to $150,000 in the categories of farms, businesses, nonprofit organizations, food, and housing. Included in the likely list of grants are the following funds and organizations which are working hard to distribute contributions to Irene victims: the Vermont Farm Disaster Relief Fund and the Vermont Farm Fund Emergency Loan Program to support farmers who were affected by the flood; the Vermont Irene Flood Relief Fund to support small businesses affected by the flood; the Special and Urgent Needs – Irene Recovery Fund to support nonprofit and public sector organizations affected by the flood; and the Vermont Food Bank.

The fund had previously granted $50,000 to the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity (CVOEO) for their Mobile Home Project Fund, to provide immediate support for mobile home park relief efforts.

“We are incredibly grateful to Phish, the WaterWheel Foundation, and everyone associated with the event for their hard work, generosity, and commitment to getting these funds into the hands of Vermonters as quickly as possible given the condensed timeframe for planning the concert,” said Stuart Comstock-Gay, president & CEO of the Vermont Community Foundation. “The contributions of the band, the vendors, and all the concertgoers and fans are translating to critical support for flood victims across Vermont.”

Following the initial round of grants, the band intends to make a second round of smaller grants to approximately 30 local relief efforts at the town level across the state to help address the needs of families and individuals as well as town services and infrastructure in the areas hardest hit by the storm. The WaterWheel Foundation expects to make most of those grants within the next two weeks.

Additional grants to support long-term relief efforts will be announced as a clearer picture of the next phase of recovery needs around the state develops.

The Waterwheel Fund for Vermont Flood Recovery does not accept applications for support. Individuals can donate to the fund at the Vermont Community Foundation’s Irene response website, or via the band’s website

About the Vermont Community Foundation

The Vermont Community Foundation was founded in 1986 and is Vermont’s largest homegrown foundation, managing a collection of over 600 charitable funds that invest more than $18 million annually in Vermont through grants, loans, and other investments. In addition, it helps keep Vermont’s nonprofit community vital by offering endowment management and planned giving services, and providing leadership in charitable giving of all kinds. Visit or call 802-388-3355 for more information.

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