The Pearl Jam Home Shows are expected to raise more than $11 million to fight homelessness, according to concert organizers. Donations are still coming in, with a final figure expected in the coming weeks.
So where is the money going?
A 13-member advisory group has met, and will continue to meet, to identify organizations “working to both move people to housing stability and keep people from becoming homeless in the first place.”
The group includes well-established philanthropic foundations, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as smaller community non-profits, including Chief Seattle Club, which supports American Indian and Alaska Native people.
The group has yet to decide where most of the money will go, organizers said. Those decisions will likely be finalized in September, if not by the end of August.
Some donors can specify where they want their money to go, for example, youth homelessness, addiction treatment, or mental health services. Others can contribute to a general fund, which the advisory group will help allocate.
So where is the money coming from?
A chunk of Pearl Jam merchandise sales goes to The Home Shows fund, which is sponsored and managed by United Way of King County and The Seattle Foundation. Concert-goers can also add a donation to their ticket purchases. Pearl Jam promised to match every dollar donated, up to $960,000.
On Wednesday, more than 80 Seattle-area restaurants are donating a portion of sales to the fund.
Businesses and philanthropic groups are also writing checks.
All of that is helping push the fund past $11 million. By comparison, the City of Seattle budgeted $77.6 million for homeless response in 2018.
Perhaps the greatest value of the concert, organizers say, is that it is giving a considerable amount of visibility to organizations quietly doing work on the streets to reduce homelessness.
A set of videos highlighting Seattle non-profits have been viewed and shared widely on social media. Some smaller groups would have a difficult time reaching more than a few hundred people on their own, organizers said.
They said the concerts are also bringing new donors into the fold, people who haven’t spent much time thinking about homelessness, or how to address it.
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