The Pearl Foundation (named after Janis Ian's mother, Pearl) is an IRS-approved 501(c)(3) public charitable foundation. It was formed after the Janis Ian Online Auction, through which Janis and her fans raised over $73,000 to fund college scholarships for returning students. That money was used immediately to fund a perpetual scholarship at Goddard College, Pearl's alma mater. Shortly after, Janis and her partner Pat formed the Pearl Foundation, in order to continue the spirit of hope and charity that imbued the online auction.
Mission Statement: We believe that ignorance is deadly, and knowledge is the greatest gift you can offer. We also believe that people are essentially good, and those who have extra resources through talent or birth are often moved to help others not so fortunate. Through education, we can change people's lives and make the world a better place.
We remember that Janis Ian's mother Pearl, suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, was given a new lease on life because of her time at Goddard College's program for returning students. We aim, in our own small way, to provide that "new lease" to all our participants.
Funding: The Pearl Foundation is funded solely through the donations of fans, friends, complete strangers, and Janis Ian and Patricia Snyder. We don't have board meetings in Puerto Rico or pay any salaries; everything but our actual tax preparation and filing fees is donated. Our annual costs have never exceeded $2,500, and we will have given away more than $900,000 in scholarship funds by the end of 2015.
The students: We endow a scholarship at an accredited school, with the proviso that first preference be given to students who have been out of school (whether elementary, secondary, or college) more than five years. These are called "returning students" and often need financial help more than younger students who have never been in the work force or taken on the obligations of family, mortgage, etc. Our scholarship monies have been used to provide everything from full tuition to child care during classes for these students. We play no part in deciding what student receives the scholarship.
Scholarships are provided without regard to gender, race, creed, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, or other limiting factors.
The schools: Pearl Foundation scholarships are currently being endowed at these schools:
Goddard College, Plainfield, VT
Berea College, KY (two scholarships)
Warren Wilson College, NC
University of Tennessee Law School, Knoxville (scholarship itself personally funded by Janis Ian and Patricia Snyder, but abiding by and named Pearl Foundation)
Where we are now (updated December 2015): As of December, 2015, we will have given away more than $900,000 to provide scholarships at these institutions. We have done this without advertising, without grants, without a fundraiser or staff. We are proud of that!
Where does the money come from?
- Net profits from Janis Ian merchandise sold at shows and through the website are donated to the Pearl Foundation. This means that for every item you buy, some percentage is going back to scholarship funding.
- There are donation buttons throughout the site; 100% of these monies go to the Foundation.
- On tour, there is a "tip jar" on the merchandise table. 100% of money going into the "tip jar" at shows is donated to the Foundation.
- We have fans who tithe regularly, or send contributions when they can. We have received anything from $1.00 to $10,000 in this manner.
- Through eBay's Giving Works: If you shop or sell through eBay you can choose the Pearl Foundation as your favorite charity and we will receive a portion of the money from each transaction. It costs you nothing.
Additionally, we offer special merchandise items through the Janis Ian website and Rude Girl Express mail orders. 100% of sales on these items are donated directly to the Pearl Foundation, and checks should be made out accordingly. These monies are deductible for you to the extent allowable by the IRS.
Thank you for your support, thank you for listening!
Website originally designed by Tina Abato