Nonprofit will help independents find partners, raise funds

The National Independent Venue Association announced Tuesday the formation of the National Independent Venue Foundation, a nonprofit organization to help independent venues and promoters around the country find partners and raise funds.

Hal Real, founder and president of World Café Live in Philadelphia and secretary of NIVA, will lead the organization as its president.

“The National Independent Venue Foundation is built on the same guiding principles as the National Independent Venue Association. While NIVA remains the advocacy, sponsorship, and membership trade organization branch of the cause, The Foundation has been created to focus on separate, supplemental initiatives, such as the Emergency Relief Fund,” Real said in a statement. “The Foundation hopes to learn from existing best practices and training programs undertaken by NIVA’s members and expand upon them to provide education and community programming, employee training and support, and economic development initiatives to further develop both organizations’ efforts to enhance diversity, equity and inclusion. Long-term, we hope to establish an endowment fund to assure sustainability of NIVA and Foundation programming for years to come.”

NIVF leadership also includes Rev. Moose of Marauder and executive director of NIVA as executive director; Tobi Parks of xBk Live as vice president; Laura Wilson of the Bohemian Foundation as secretary / treasurer; and Torrie Allen of Arts Midwest, Annie Brinn of Warner Music Group, Taneshia Nash Laird of Newark Symphony Hall and David M. Mayeri of Berkeley Music Group – The UC Theatre as board members.

“While we wait for Congressional support that would allow our industry of independent venues and promoters to survive, I’m excited to be working with the National Independent Venue Foundation on next steps that, once we are back in business, will allow every member of our community the equal opportunity to thrive,”  Parks said in a statement. “It’s more than just that feeling of being in an audience, surrounded by other fans of all backgrounds who are connecting in that moment. Our goal is to support diversity, equity, and inclusion in all levels of our industry — from fans to artists, employees to owners, and beyond.”

NIVA was formed by independent venues throughout the U.S. in April after the COVID-19 pandemic halted all mass gatherings in March. NIVA President Dayna Frank was selected to VenuesNow’s 2020 All-Stars list and was the cover subject of Pollstar’s 2020 Impact 50 issue.

The news of NIVF’s founding comes just after Marc Geiger announced his new venture, SaveLive, which will offer a lifeline to struggling independent venues in exchange for a 51% controlling interest in their business.

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