The Grateful Dead, one of the most famous rock bands in American history, recently added to its groove in the local community by donating to A New Direction Beverly/Morgan Park (AND).
Supporting victims of domestic violence, AND received a $5,000 grant in late September from the non-profit Rex Foundation, which was founded by the Grateful Dead in 1983 to support social services.
Jay Caauwe, a Rex Foundation advisory board member from Beverly, said AND shares a common goal of helping people in need.
As he learned more during the last year about AND, he saw discovered how much it helps victims of domestic violence, and he knew it deserved a grant.
“That’s what we do. That’s what AND does,” Caauwe said. “It was a perfect fit.”
The donation from the Grateful Dead’s foundation came at a good time, as AND prepares to host its annual benefit and reception on Oct. 26.
Tickets to the benefit to be held at Ridge Country Club, 10522 S. California Ave., from 7 to 10 p.m., are $75 and are available online or at the door.
AND provides services that include domestic violence crisis intervention and safety planning; counseling and education; child therapy for clients age 3 to 18; legal advocacy; and referrals to other support systems.
Founded in 2011, AND also focuses on preventing violence in teen relationships, and its staff visits area high schools to host question-and-answer sessions with students.
Jessica McCarihan, AND board president, said the grant will go toward helping families in need, expanding an outreach program and adding a women’s therapist.
She’s grateful that Caauwe is supporting a “young and growing organization” like AND, especially because it does not receive government funding.
“Private funding goes a long way for us,” McCarihan said.
Caauwe learned of AND in the spring after visiting the Quilter’s Trunk, a Beverly quilting and sewing shop, where owner Lisa Wilberding told him about AND.
Caauwe then spoke with AND board member Michelle Page, his neighbor.
A proud “Dead Head,” Caauwe learned of the Rex Foundation many years ago, he said, and is one of nine advisory board members. The Grateful Dead created the organization 36 years ago and named it in honor of Rex Jackson, a road manager who died in 1976.
The foundation, based in San Anselmo, Calif., also supports endeavors in the arts, sciences and education, and after Grateful Dead lead singer Jerry Garcia died in 1995, leading to the Dead’s dissolution, bands comprised of former Grateful Dead members have continued to raise funds for the charity.
Since 1984, the Rex Foundation has donated $9 million to over 1,300 recipients. Caauwe said that AND is the first local grant recipient.
“Our whole mission, our whole job, is to impact the lives of those who don’t have the ability, wherewithal or resources to make the necessary changes themselves,” Caauwe said. “And, we find it works best at the grassroots level because we can connect.”
Caauwe worked in the financial market for four decades, including at the Chicago Board Options Exchange, and he founded Supercritical, a cannabis consultancy, in early October.
He hopes to promote ways that the cannabis industry can make people’s lives better. He said his life is focused on helping others.
“I retired from 40 years in finance,” Caauwe said. “I want to give back.”
The Rex Foundation has helped other organizations in Chicago, he said, and he hopes it will continue to make an impact locally.
Support can be provided, he said, wherever needed.
“We cover everything.”
AND officials are looking forward to their upcoming benefit, which comes during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
The evening will include refreshments, hors d’oeuvres, live entertainment from Motown Nation, a raffle and a silent auction, with prizes including a six-day vacation to Costa Rica, two round-trip tickets on Southwest Airlines to anywhere in the continental United States, two Apple watches, two nights in a four-bedroom loft in River West described as an “apartment to the stars,” a trip to Park City, Utah, and an in-home dinner hosted by acclaimed Chef Tony Quartaro, of Beverly.
For more information about the Rex Foundation, visit the website at rexfoundation.org.
For more information about AND, visit the website at anewdirectionbmp.org.