The Rex Foundation

Last Saturday, I went to a Black Tie-Dye Ball, at the Fillmore Auditorium, in Denver, sponsored by The Rex Foundation. It was a fund-raiser for this San Francisco based organization, that raises money and then grants it to grassroots programs around the country.  Dark Star Orchestra was playing, and my friend Jay, of Pasta Jay’s in Boulder, was catering., and I was excited when he invited me to go along.

Jay has donated a lot of time, delicious Italian food, and energy for Rex Foundation events in Colorado. But I only vaguely knew who they were, that they were inspired by Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead. I been a Dead Head a long time, but since Jerry died, well, you know.

I got a copy of the Foundation’s 2005 Annual Report at the Ball, and learned a lot about them.  Like that, since December 2001 when they launched the renewal of the Rex Foundation,  they have raised $1.1 million, and granted $676,000 to 109 grassroots programs across the U. S. and internationally. Including efforts of their original orginazation in 1984 and 1995, and from 2001 to date, they have granted $8 million to over 1,000 programs.

The report also explained that the Rex Foundation was named after Rex Jackson, a Grateful Dead roadie and later road manager until his untimely death in 1976.

The Rex Foundation presents awards each year, including:

The Ralph J. Gleason Award, in memory of music journalist Ralph J. Gleason, “a major figure in the advancement of music in America in the 1960’s, whose openess to new music and ideas transcended difference between generations and styles.”

2005 Winner:  WWOZ, a community radio station estalished to serve the musicians of New

The Bill Graham Award, in memory of pioneering producer and founding Rex board member Bill Graham, hinself a refugee, this award is for those working to assist children whyo are vicitms of political oppression and human rights violations

2005 Award winner:  Mercy Corps (MC), organized to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities.  The award is in support of work in Western Sudan’s Darfur region, where MC is assisting displaced

Jerry Garcia Award, in memory of Grateful Dead guitarist and founding Rex board member Jerry Garcia, this award is designed to honor and support individual and groups that work to encourage creativity in young people. 

2005 Winner;  Marsh Youth Theater:  provides high quality theater arts education to San Francisco youth with a focus on outreach to children living in the multicultural Mission District.

A sample of the 2005 Grant Beneficiaries:

Organic Farming Resarch Foundation

Sustainable Fishery Advocates

JazzMasers Workshop

Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice

A Living Library
A project of Life Frames, Inc.

San Francisco Youth and Government Delegation

They have a great website at, where you can read about other recipients, get information about future events, and learn how you can get involved.

I guess their Mission Statement about says it all:

The Rex Foundation continues to embody the spirit of generosity and concern that evolved in the culture of the Deadheads and the Grateful Dead, aiming to hep secure a healthy environment, promote individuality in the arts, provide support to critical and necessary social services, assist others less fortunate than ourselves, protect the rights of indigenous people and ensure their cultural survival, build a stronger community, and educate children and adults everywhere.

Guiding Principles and Values:

  • We respect traditional wisdom cultures
  • We respect individual rights and differences
  • We are willing to take risks and trust people
  • We help people who are helping others and are trying to make a difference
  • We help people develop bold new solutions to problems
  • We benefit the broader community and the broader good
  • We practice inclusiveness and open-mindedness
  • We support organizations committed to grasssroots action.
  • We seek to identify entities doing good work that might otherwise be overlooked.
  • Our support helps beyond direct funding by boosting the visibility of the recipient’s work.
  • We want to be an agent of change, to help leverage greater impact
  • We are non-partisan
  • We promote an active, informed citizenry
  • The Foundation is an efficient conduit for supporting the community.
    Being part of the Rex Foundation is enjoyable.
  • We carry on the best of the spirit of the 60’s to create a more harmonius world.

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