Matt Strickland believes in the power of that special song . “”Everybody is drawn to great music,” he says. “When you hear that song on the radio, it takes you to a different place.”
And Saturday night, music’s reach will be center stage when Band Together, the nonprofit Strickland runs which partners with local nonprofits each year to raise money and awareness, hosts its annual benefit concert at Koka Booth Ampitheatre in Cary, N.C. The show features local band Big Something, Southern Culture on the Skids and the B-52s as headliners. Band Together’s partner this year is Urban Ministries of Wake County.
A 2002 graduate of NC State with a sociology degree, Strickland became executive director Band Together last year. He says there’s been a learning curve but that the payoff is worth it. “We have such a dynamic group of volunteers on our board,” he says. “I’m really thrilled to see all the fruits of our labor when we turn over that big check on stage Saturday night to Urban Ministries.”
Band Together features one local nonprofit each year and partners with it to share resources and go after sponsorships and donations. Strickland says Urban Ministries of Wake County has been an ideal partner because it does so much. It runs the second largest food pantry in Wake County. It operates the Helen Wright Center for Women, which serves as a transitional shelter for 300 homeless women annually. And it helps with the Open Door Clinic, one of the first free clinics established in the state that offers comprehensive medical care for uninsured adults. “I think the neat thing is that they do a lot of work, but they operate so efficiently,” Strickland says. “Ninety-four cents on every dollar is going right to the programs.”
Strickland says Band Together was started ten years ago to bring a feeling of humanity back into the world after 9/11. And every year since, he says, it’s proven to show the power of music. “That medium of live music draws people to your cause,” he says.