Music + Charity — The Yellow Bird Project
by Jillian DOnfro | Syracuse University
Combining great music with giving back is an undeniably winning equation. Think of DISPATCH’s Amplifying Education campaign, or State Radio’s donation to Haiti with every download of its song “Roadway Broken.” Serving up awesome tunes while satiating a desire to help others lets bands connect with their fans and those in need on a personal level, human to human.
Like the concept? We’re introducing you to your new obsession — The Yellow Bird Project. Started in 2006, this Montreal-based organization combines indie rock with, ya know, saving the world. Indie bands sign on with YBP to create unique t-shirt designs. YBP sells those kick-ass shirts on its site, with all proceeds going to whatever charity each band selects.
The quirky site’s “Our Story” page explains the project’s origin. “Let’s set the scene — the year was 2006, the sun it was shining, and two recent uni grads Casey and Matt set out to conquer the world. Like Bono on a mission, we decided it was time to make a difference and bring about a new world order of indie philanthropy.”
The mission of the Yellow Bird Project is three-pronged. First, money goes to a diverse array of deserving charities and causes. Second, each charity organization garners greater awareness and recognition through the support of a hip indie artist or band. And of course, lesser known bands can get discovered by music-minded people who are surfing the site and notice a particularly rad tee. With the slogan T-shirts and Charity [To The Tune of Indie Rock], The Yellow Bird Project caters to college kid staples.
Let us wow you with some of the band and charity match-ups that we especially love:
Rilo Kiley peddles a shirt with sweet tree design that raises money for Free Arts for Abused Children, a national non-profit organization that uses the therapeutic powers of art to help heal children who have suffered abuse.
A portly gentleman in a fighter jet adorns the shirt of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. If you decide to plaster this image upon your chest, your money will go to Arts for Change, an organization that uses art as a catalyst for disseminating information.
Heaping proceeds upon St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Of Montreal sells a Kelly-green t-shirt bearing a mountain lion, but with a presidential spin (check it out—you’ll giggle). St. Jude is a children’s cancer that has changed the way the world sees pediatric cancer care.
As the founders tell it — “Maybe it was philosophy 101, guitar lessons, or an infinite awe for music that inspired us to climb aboard this train we like to call Yellow Bird, but we’re sure glad we did.” So are we.Jillian D'Onfro is a NGJ Staff Writer and a a dual major in Magazine Journalism and Information Management and Technology at Syracuse University.