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Branson Cares For Joplin Keeps on Raising Funds

August 22, 2011|Press Release
Joplin, MO Facebook Page

(Branson, Mo. 8-19-2011)   "Help our Joplin neighbors" was the message the Branson community wanted delivered during the live Branson Cares For Joplin Benefit Concert & Telethon, and clearly, generous viewers and concert attendees got the message. As of August 19, 2011, The League of Branson Theatre Owners & Show Producers (The Branson Show League) is pleased to announce that $202,732.29 of the pledged monies has been collected and a little over $20,000 in pledges is still outstanding.  "To have over 90% of the money collected at this point is amazing," says Cindy Merry, Branson Show League Marketing Chair, "and we expect to see most of the outstanding pledges collected over the next few weeks. Wouldn't it be something to be able to say that of the estimated $221,000 pledged on the night of the benefit, we collected a hundred percent?  Help us reach that goal - if you've pledged a donation, please try and send it in by September 5th as there will be a formal check presentation to St John's Mercy Hospital/Joplin during that week."

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Renee Johnson, Branson Show League Executive Director adds, "Of the monies already collected the Branson Show League has distributed $45,000 to the Joplin Band Booster account, $5,000 to the St Mary's Catholic School Music program, and $1,000 dollars each to Palen Music and Hoover Music for instrument repairs.  We're also happy to report that over 300 instruments have been donated for the schools, with an estimated value of roughly $90,000 to $100,000. Funds donated to Joplin Band Booster account will be used for any instruments needing repair. In addition the Joplin High School was given two guitars (valued at approximately $4000) - a Taylor provided by Doyle Dykes and a Paul Reed Smith provided by Ricky Skaggs. The balance of the collected funds will go to St John's Mercy Hospital/Joplin."

"One hundred percent of all donated monies are going to St John's Mercy Hospital/Joplin and the Joplin Schools' music programs," says Jim Barber, of the Hamner Barber Variety Theatre and President of the Branson Show League. "We'd like to thank the volunteers who have spent an incredible amount of time collecting these donations. As performers, show producers, and those working in the entertainment industry, many of us thought that pulling off a benefit concert and telethon in less then 4 weeks was an amazing feat in and of itself.  In reality, to complete the mission means getting the money collected and handed over to the folks in need. From databasing pledges for invoicing to returning hundreds of messages, the volunteers have probably spent more time on this than their full-time jobs. Our volunteers really have shown the Branson spirit of caring - both for their neighbors and to make sure the job is done right."

Timothy Dutton, from the Dutton Family Theatre and Branson Show League Board Member, notes that some of the time intensive process involved deciphering hundreds of different handwriting on pledge forms. "We had somewhere close to 200 calls that we made to verify credit card information as there might be something about the information we couldn't clearly understand - a transposed number or expiration date in most cases."  Timothy adds, "Actually the great thing about this was we talked to quite a lot of nice people who were so happy to be helping Joplin. They were sweet."

The method of how folks communicated their donation was varied. From the traditional check mailed in to credit cards via phone The Branson Show League tried to accommodate everyone. "Texting a pledge was an interesting new way to get donations," says Susan Weimar, of the Acrobats of China featuring the New Shanghai Circus and a Branson Show League Board Member, "and we had approximately 100 of those, and of course, we had to call each of them to get their credit card information."

Donations are still being collected.  There are approximately 70 calls still to be made to donors to answer queries, clear up donation information, and arrange for collection of donations. Mike Hughes, of the Hughes Brothers Theatre and Branson Show League Business Chair says, "We want to make sure that we raise every bit of money we can to help our friends in Joplin who were devastated by the EF5 tornado. This media release is an update of where we are right now with collections; however we plan to have a nice presentation event in Joplin the first week of September.  So again, please send in your pledge right away.and even if you haven't pledged, feel free to donate now at JoplinBenefit.com."

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