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Gift Recognition Opportunities


The Blues Foundation will provide suitable recognition for the Campaign for the Blues Music Hall of Fame. All gifts of $1,000 or more will be recognized in the new permanent home for The Blues Foundation. Gifts of all sizes will be celebrated on the Blues Foundation website and in campaign publications. Donor names will be displayed in an architecturally appropriate manner throughout the new space. Donors will be consulted to ensure that the form of recognition is in keeping with their wishes. 



Main Floor

Rotating Gallery: $350,000

Gift shop/welcome center: $350,000

Gallery mini-stage: $150,000

Grand Staircase: (reserved)

Foyer: $75,000

Executive suite: $50,000

Elevator: $50,000


The Blues Underground

Hall of Fame: $700,000

Hall of Fame landing area/stage: (reserved)

Living touch screen interactive: $150,000

Conference /Classroom: $150,000

Sitting area: $100,000

Interactive production room: $75,000

HOF Departure Hall: $50,000

Administrative Center: $50,000

Archives: $50,000

Hall of Fame alcoves 1-8: $50,000

Administrative Suites: $25,000

Break area: $25,000

Fulfillment room: $25,000

Restrooms: $25,000



The Blues “blue” portal: $350,000

Little Milton bench: (reserved) 

*The values for these naming opportunities are based solely on utility, placement or perceived appeal and do not necessarily reflect the gift’s designated purchase or the actual cost. Donors are encouraged to consider undesignated gifts and/or the least restrictive designation. Plans for the Blues Hall of Fame are not final. If alterations are required that affect a commemorative gift, an appropriate substitute will be arranged in consultation with the donor(s).

The Blues Foundation would like to thank the following for their generous in-kind donations to the Campaign for the Blues Hall of Fame: 

Archimania, Memphis, TN • Design 500, Memphis, TN Doheny Blues Festival, Dana Point, CA Garden Path, Memphis, TN IberiaBank, Germantown, TN Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, Kansas City, MO Leylett & Rogers, Lebanon, TN Martin, Tate, Morrow & Marston, TN Michael Dorf Presents & City Winery, New York, NY North Atlantic Blues Festival, Rockland, ME Robinson Maites, Chicago, IL Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Chico, CA Simi Valley Cajun and Blues Festival, Simi Valley, CA Standard Builders, Memphis, TN Tampa Bay Blues Festival, St. Petersburg, FL The Majestic Grille, Memphis, TN VividPix & Design, Des Moines, IA And everyone associated with the fundraiser at the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem on March 6, including the promoters Steve Berkowitz, Michael Dorf, Joe Morton and Patricia Watts, as well as each of the performers including Blues Hall of Famers Taj Mahal and Allen Toussaint, as well as Keb Mo, Bettye LaVette, Sugar Blue, Shemekia Copeland, Otis Taylor, Colin Linden, James Blood Ulmer, Sam Moore, Todd Rundgren, Elvis Costello, Steve Jordan, The Roots, Living Colour, Macy Gray, Chuck D and a few more.


Blues Ambassadors 

The following individuals have allowed us to add their name to the honorary committee in support of our $3.5 million Campaign for the Blues Music Hall of Fame. As of April 15, 2012:

  • Dusty Baker, Cincinnati, Reds manager
  • Marcia Ball, performer
  • Jim Belushi, actor
  • Paul Benjamin, North, Atlantic Blues Festival
  • Steve Berkowitz, producer
  • Elvin Bishop
  • Bobby “Blue” Bland, member, Blues Hall of Fame
  • Congressman Steve, Cohen (D-Memphis)
  • Dion, performer
  • Billy Gibbons, ZZ Top
  • Peter Guralnick, author, member Blues Hall of Fame
  • John Hammond, performer, member Blues Hall of Fame
  • B.B. King, King of the Blues, member Blues Hall of Fame
  • Denise LaSalle, performer, member Blues Hall of Fame
  • Bettye LaVette, performer
  • Shelby County Mayor, Mark Luttrell
  • Taj Mahal, performer, member of Blues Hall of Fame
  • Steve Miller, performer
  • Roger Naber, Legendary, Rhythm and Blues Cruise
  • John Oates, performer
  • Joe Perry, Aerosmith
  • Bob Porter, radio personality and record producer, member Blues Hall of Fame
  • Bonnie Raitt, performer, member Blues Hall of Fame
  • Keith Richards, Rolling Stones
  • Roy Rogers, Performer
  • Bobby Rush, performer, member Blues Hall of Fame
  • George Thorogood, performer
  • Memphis Mayor AC Wharton 

Luther Allison • Billy Boy Arnold • Dave Bartholomew • Lead Belly • Chuck Berry • Blind Blake • Bobby “Blue” Bland • Mike Bloomfield • Lonnie Brooks • Big Bill Broonzy • Charles Brown • Clarence Gatemouth Brown • Roy Brown • Ruth Brown • Paul Butterfield • Leroy Carr • Ray Charles • Clifton Chenier • Albert Collins • James Cotton • Robert Cray • Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup • Reverend Gary Davis • Walter Davis • Bo Diddley • Willie Dixon • Fats Domino • Champion Jack Dupree • David “Honeyboy” Edwards • Sleepy John Estes • Blind Boy Fuller • Lowell Fulson • Buddy Guy • John Hammond • W.C. Handy • Slim Harpo • Wynonie Harris • Billie Holiday • John Lee Hooker • Lightnin’ Hopkins • Big Walter Horton • Son House • Alberta Hunter • Mississippi John Hurt • J.B. Hutto • Elmore James • Skip James • Etta James • Blind Lemon Jefferson • Buddy & Ella Johnson • Lonnie Johnson • Robert Johnson • Tommy Johnson • Louis Jordan • B.B. King • Freddie King • Albert King • J.B. Lenoir • Lazy Lester • Furry Lewis • Robert Jr. Lockwood • Professor Longhair • Big Maceo • Taj Mahal • Big Maybelle • Percy Mayfield • Jimmy McCracklin • Mississippi Fred McDowell • Brownie McGhee • Jay McShann • Blind Willie McTell • Little Milton • Roy Milton • Memphis Minnie • Mississippi Sheiks • Matt “Guitar” Murphy • Charlie Musselwhite • Robert Nighthawk • Johnny Otis • Little Junior Parker • Charley Patton • Pinetop Perkins • Ma Rainey • Bonnie Raitt • Dr. John • Tampa Red • Jimmy Reed • Jimmy Rogers • Otis Rush • Bobby Rush • Magic Sam • Son Seals • Johnny Shines • Memphis Slim • Sunnyland Slim • Guitar Slim • Bessie Smith • Otis Spann • Frank Stokes • Hubert Sumlin • Roosevelt Sykes • Hound Dog Taylor • Eddie Taylor • Koko Taylor • Sonny Terry • Sister Rosetta Tharpe • Rufus Thomas • Irma Thomas • Big Mama Thornton • Allen Toussaint • Big Joe Turner • Ike Turner • Stevie Ray Vaughan • T-Bone Walker • Sippie Wallace • Little Walter • Dinah Washington • Muddy Waters • Johnny “Guitar” Watson • Junior Wells • Peetie Wheatstraw • Bukka White • Big Joe Williams • Sonny Boy Williamson #1 • Sonny Boy Williamson #2 • Johnny Winter • Jimmy Witherspoon • Howlin’ Wolf


The BluesFoundation Staff


Executive Director: Jay Sieleman

Deputy Director: Joe Whitmer

Membership : Cindi James

Financial: Glenda Mace

Hotel & Catering: Priscilla Hernandez


Board of Directors


Executive Committee

Bill Wax (DC)

President - Sirius XM

Eric Simonsen(UT)

Vice President - Blues Fan

Gary Anton (FL)

Bradfordville Blues Club

Kevin Kane (TN)

Memph is CVB

Dorothy Moore (MS)

Performer Clay Purdom (TN)

Treasurer - Martin, Tat,

Morrow & Marston , P.C. 



Phillip Barkett (CA)

Wealth Management

Kathy Bolmer (TN)

KB Consultation  

Jostein Forsberg (Norway)

Notodden Blues Festival

Zac Harmon (TX)


Stefan Levy (IL)

Big Cat Search

Alan Maites (IL)

Robinson & Maites

Jerry “Boogie” Mason (MS)

Mason Media Services

Ron Partain (TN)

The Bogdahn Group

Thomas Ruf (Germany)

Ruf Records

Joey Sichting (TN)

Fed Ex

Eric Steiner (WA)

Washington Blues Society

Ricky Stevens (MS)

Blues Fan

Cassie Taylor (CO)


Bob Trenchard (TX)

Catfood Records

Laurie Tucker (TN)

Fed Ex 

Olga Wilhelmine (LA)

Performer Kuji Chahal

Fisher Investments  


A Longtime Dream


Since its earliest days, The Blues Foundation has envisioned a Blues Hall of Fame. Artist renditions appeared as early as the 1983 Blues Music Awards program. The Foundation’s leaders have long recognized that, in addition to stability and operating efficiencies, a stronger physical presence would dramatically improve its ability to fulfill its mission.


A key component for the success of any organization is a sound fiscal base from which to meet its goals and objectives. In recent years, The Blues Foundation has built such a base while continuing to fulfill its mission in each of its programs and activities.


In 2006, the Foundation adopted a strategic plan that embraced a permanent home. The following year, with a grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis, the Foundation began work with Design 500 to discern requirements for and shape of the new home—its location, size, space allocations, and programming priorities.


A suitable location was identified in December 2010—a condominium located at 421 South Main with approximately 3,800 square feet at street level and 7,700 square feet on the lower level. By this time, The Blues Foundation had quietly and steadily eliminated all debt and built reserves of more than $400,000. This financial strength enabled the Foundation to secure a short-term loan to help pay for the purchase of its new building and some basic renovations when this opportunity arose.


Foundation operations began there on July 5, 2011. With the first phase completed, The Blues Foundation continues to pursue its goal: a home that enhances the ability to carry out its mission. 





If not us, who? If not now, when? Look at the demographics and the resources; today’s blues fans are in a position to build the Blues Hall of Fame.It is our responsibility to take on the challenge. 



Plans that Focus on Mission


Foundation leaders, with Design 500 and the architectural firm archimania, have determined that the best way to enhance the Foundation’s mission is to expand one of its existing programs— the Blues Hall of Fame. Both programmatic and pragmatic reasons support this focus.


The Blues Foundation is the international home of blues music, and it is based in Memphis. The two most important events in blues music are staged in Memphis each year—the International Blues Challenge and the Blues Music Awards. Since 1980, The Blues Foundation has inducted individuals, recordings, and literature into the Blues Hall of Fame. Each induction included a public announcement, a presentation event, and a printed program; more recently, it also included postings to The Blues Foundation’s website. A new Blues Hall of Fame at 421 South Main enhances one of the founding programs of The Blues Foundation. Now, with the final development of 421 South Main and the Blues Hall of Fame at its heart, The Blues Foundation is poised to create a facility for the world to visit every day of the year. And it will expand the audience and customer base for blues music, a signature business in Memphis. The new Hall of Fame will be the place to:


  • honor inductees year-round;
  • listen to and learn about the music; and
  • enjoy historic mementos of this all-American art form

The new Blues Hall of Fame will be a place for serious blues fans, casual visitors, and wide-eyed students. It will facilitate audience development and Blues Foundation membership growth. It will expose, enlighten, educate, and entertain. The new facility will serve all four components of the Foundation’s mission: preserving history, celebrating excellence, supporting education, and ensuring the future of the music.


The new Blues Hall of Fame will be the centerpiece at 421 South Main. The plan includes an attractive, inviting, and functional façade with a public art component (a bronze statue of Little Milton on a bench as depicted on the cover of his last album “Think of Me”). It provides approximately 5,000 square feet of space for programming and 1,500 for administration, with the remaining 5,000 reserved for circulation and hosting events, for housing normal building mechanicals, and for storage and expansion. 





Our goal is to create a memorable experience for the visitor that presents the rich history of blues music through recognition and respect for the men and women who created this music, while also spotlighting The Blues Foundation programs that ensure the future of one of the great cultural contributions to the world: blues music. 



An Investment with Long-Term Benefits


New facilities at 421 South Main have the potential for a longterm return on investment for The Blues Foundation.


Memphis is known as the “home of the blues.” “Music is an integral part of the social and economic fabric of the city,” according to an economic impact study conducted by the University of Memphis in 2004. “Many of the city’s highest-priority economic development plans are built upon initiatives to attract young, dynamic, high-income professionals to the area,” the study observed, and it recognized that the diversity and creativity of blues music are a unique advantage for Memphis.


The bronze statue on the right is entitled “Think of Me” and is a recreation of the cover of the last album by Blues Hall of Famer and Memphian Little Milton.






Each year, tens of thousands of tourists travel to Memphis on musical journeys to see Graceland, Sun, Stax, the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, Beale Street. The National Civil Rights Museum, across the street, currently attracts 200,000 visitors annually to the South Main Street neighborhood and is investing in renovation and expansion there. This location is particularly synergistic since the Blues Hall of Fame, with 95 percent African-American artist inductees, will by definition be a tribute to African-American culture. And The Blues Foundation is already responsible for bringing thousands of dedicated blues fans to Memphis twice a year, for the Blues Music Awards and the International Blues Challenge.

The new Blues Hall of Fame, based on attendance at other Memphis musical destinations, is expected to attract 20,000-30,000 visitors in just the first year. Some visitors will purchase items in the gift shop; some will become dues-paying members of the Foundation; some will make a donation. These additional revenues can be directed to support all the Foundation’s program initiatives—the HART Fund (which pays medical expenses), Generation Blues (youth music scholarships), and the Blues Music Awards. And the on-site expenditures have the potential to grow as the Hall of Fame operations mature.





The National Civil Rights Museum on one side of the street and the Blues Hall of Fame on the other. Both will be there forever. The perfect location.~ Blues Hall of Famer Bobby Rush 



The Campaign for the Blues Hall of Fame


To see the plans realized, the Foundation board approved a campaign to raise up to $3.5 million, including the repayment of its loan, to be allocated as follows.


Building Acquisition & Occupancy $432,800

Renovations & Exhibits $2,372,800

Project Costs $694,400

Total Goal $3,500,000


For blues fans around the globe—who visit Memphis in a virtual sense hundreds of times every day for a wide variety of services through The Blues Foundation’s website— the campaign offers a unique opportunity to ensure expanded access to the blues. Information, musicians, and performances archived in the Blues Hall of Fame, together with its exhibits, will be rich new resources available to all worldwide.


Therefore, we invite the entire blues community to invest in the Blues Hall of Fame, a facility that preserves and celebrates the blues, honors our legendary inductees, and creates a home overflowing with history and permanent recognition for the musicians and the music. For local fans, the new facility offers an opportunity to invest in the community and the music that has put Memphis on the map. And it is time to make the blues’ home a reality that will celebrate the music long into the future.



ALL who support this campaign ultimately have the opportunity to enhance The Blues Foundation’s programming, such as the HART Fund and Generation Blues. A campaign investment will see the realization of the new Blues Hall of Fame, and it will nurture growth and long-term viability for the entire organization.


Progress Report June 2012


Since October, we have raised over $900,00 in cash and pledges. Donations may take the form of a pledge over a period of up to five years. A bank will issue a construction loan on the basis of signed pledges.



Fundraising is serial in nature. We started with the Board of Directors, then reached out to others close to home, in an ever-expanding circle. All potential donors want to know that the Board of Directors is invested, that it has “skin in the game.” The Blues Foundation Board of Directors committed $350,000, in amounts ranging from $1,000 to $100,000, to get the campaign on solid footing.



We have raised another $550,000 since then. To date, most has come from individuals—which is not surprising since it is blues fans (in the broadest sense of the word) who provide about 85 percent of the support for this organization. The Blues Foundation is very much a “user fee” organization in the sense that those who think blues music is important are the financial supporters. Among the gifts to date are two Leadership (six-figure) gifts, one from a Board member who pledged $100,000 in honor of Smokey Wilson and Willie “Big Eyes” Smith and one from ArtsMemphis, our local organization dedicated to funding the arts. We are proud to announce that George Thorogood and the Destroyers recently became the first of our Blues Ambassadors to make a Major (fivefigure) gift. We have fifteen other Major gifts at this time.


Securing significant support from the current Board was the first step. We now have six other efforts under way:

  1. Current Board members are in the process of reaching out to folks they believe may be interested and able to contribute.
  2. Past Board members—including many who voted for early phases of this project—are being solicited by Board President Bill Wax and former presidents Pat Morgan and Paul Benjamin.
  3. Charter members have been asked to match the Board’s 100 percent participation.
  4. The Memphis Blues Society has set a goal of raising $10,000 before the 2013 IBC and has challenged other societies to set their own goals, and we know other societies are beginning to plan similar efforts.
  5. Festivals around the country, including Tampa Bay, Doheny, Simi Valley Cajun and Blues and North Atlantic are committed to help get the word out and raise funds.
  6. We now have a Donate “button” on our website.
  7. We now have set up a text-to-donate feature. Text –blues-to 80077 to donate $10 to the Blues Hall of Fame.

No one knows what you can contribute financially. Only you do. But what I do know is that it is up to us to lead the way. There may be foundations and companies and rock stars that join us in this endeavor, but before that happens we have to be able to get before them with our story.

  1. Make your own pledge.
  2. Make the Blues Hall of Fame your own cause.
  3. Open doors for us.

If not us, who? If not now, when? Just think, YOU can make the Blues Hall of Fame a reality. Your support matters.




The Blues Hall of Fame will not be built with just cover charges and tip jars. This is an “all-hands-on-deck” effort with every blues fan having the chance to contribute whatever amount they can. But this is old-fashioned philanthropy that requires raising money in chunks one-on-one from those who are willing to write a check and make a significant pledge. This is not a question of how, but who? I doubt whether there was a time in the past or there will be a time in the future when there are so many people with means who have such a deep appreciation for blues music. The demographics are with us. This is a project for baby boomers who came of age with Mick and Keith and both Erics and with Muddy, Howlin’ and John Lee. 




All gifts are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. Please make checks payable to The Blues Foundation.


Click DONATE button


Make check payable to:

The Blues Foundation – Hall of Fame

421 S. Main St

Memphis TN 38103-4464

Tel:             901-527-2583      ext.12

Fax:             901.529.4030     



RBA Publishing-Parent company of Reggae/Blues Festival Guide • P.O. Box 50635 • Reno, NV 89513
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