By Dave Paulson, The Tennessean
Tennessee-based arts, educational and environmental programs are getting a big boost from Bonnaroo.
The Manchester-based four-day music and arts festival announced Wednesday that it made $82,000 in donations to nine organizations across Tennessee via its charitable arm, the Bonnaroo Works Fund, which is sustained by a portion of festival ticket sales. Several Middle Tennessee organizations received donations between $2,500 and $15,000 including the Manchester Arts Center, Notes for Notes, Junior Achievement of Middle Tennessee and Land Trust for Tennessee.
"It takes the support of the entire community for Bonnaroo to achieve the success that it does," said Bonnaroo co-founder Ashley Capps. "The more successful that we've been at integrating the success of the festival into the success of the community as a whole, the better it is for all parties involved."
Organizations applied for funding last fall through a grant process on the Bonnaroo website. The East Tennessee Foundation administered the fun and vetted the applicants, and the nine recipients were selected by an independent panel of judges.
In addition to Bonnaroo Works Fund's donations, officials announced that local organizations - including the Coffee County Chamber of Commerce and numerous sports, arts and education groups - earned more than $200,000 through volunteering at Bonnaroo's concession booths. The June festival donates a portion of concession sales to its participating organizations. Jeff Cuellar, Bonnaroo's director of community relations, said many of those organizations earn almost all of their annual funding by volunteering at Bonnaroo.
"It becomes a big thing, and I think it affords opportunities to these organizations, to these members of our community, that they may not be able to get elsewhere," he said.
Junior Achievement of Middle Tennessee President Trent Klingensmith said Bonnaroo's $15,000 grant will be used as branding support for schools that take part in its JA BizTown program, which teaches 4th through 6th graders about economics and government.
"To get (a donation) from an arts/music festival, that's really unique," Klingensmith said. "I love the fact that they're in our community, entertaining folks, and at the same time, finding a way to give back."