In less than 60 days, local businessman Mike White raised over $20,000 to help underwrite the production of a musical to educate people on the causes of homelessness. The musical is entitled "Another Sign".
FL,USA : White was inspired to write it after becoming friends with a local chef he once knew, and was shocked to encounter him on the street after the man became homeless through a series of misfortunes. As president of Client Focused Media and Publisher of the Jacksonville BUZZ Magazine, White knew that the perception of homelessness needed to be changed to help people like his friend. He began writing poems on the subject and soon had enough song lyrics for a full-length production that tells the story of everyday people surviving through homelessness.
"The stereotype is that homeless people are just vagrants, and most likely with drug or alcohol addictions. People don't have a lot of sympathy for that," says White. "But people just like you and me are becoming homeless every day for a variety of reasons. It could be due to job loss, natural disaster, or large medical bills from various health issues. Homelessness could happen to any of us."
White raised funds for the project through Kickstarter.com, where anyone could visit and donate. "I was so excited to see all of the community trustees that stepped up to donate," said White. "We had 64 hours left to make our goal and Stanley Bishop from Exit Real Estate Gallery stepped up and pledged the remaining $4200 to put us over the $20,000 goal."
"We have been seeing so many people affected by the economy and losing their homes," said Stanley Bishop, President of Exit Real Estate Gallery." Homelessness is a real issue and I think that this musical project will help shine a light on major issues that not only our city is facing, but our entire country. We are so happy to be a backer on this project."
So many others have stepped up to back the project as well. "The homeless issue is real. Thanks for taking this on. I'm a backer," said Paul Boynton, recently appointed CEO of Rayonier, when he submitted a donation. Wally Lee, President of the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce, sent White the message, "Sounds like a great project...Congratulations to you on your leadership." Other backers include local leaders from Congressman Ander Crenshaw, Brigadier General Michael Fleming and Macky Weaver to supporters in the community like Stephen Strum, Mike Hartley and Jack Sears.
The City Rescue Mission in Jacksonville is one of over 40 local organizations that provide support to the homeless in our area. "On any given night there are less than 900 beds available for the nearly 4,000 homeless men, women, and children in northeast Florida," says Penny Kievet of City Rescue Mission. "One of the largest increases in the homeless population in women and children."
An advisory group of supporters is also helping White launch the project. It consists of Penny Kievet, Development Director of the City Rescue Mission; Michael Boylan, President of WJCT; Woody Carlson, Promotions Director at Renda Broadcasting; Tracy Collins with Action News; Arthur Crofton, morning show personality with WEJZ; Sarah Boone, Director at Theatre Jacksonville; Kent and Pepper Lindsey, owners of Lindsey Films; Lisa Moore, Director of Policy and Compliance with FSCJ; Effrem Williams, founder of Knots for Kids; Peter Weise, Associate District Manager for ADP; Margie Seaman, National Director of Commercial Real Estate at Seller's Realty; William Brown Jr, Attorney, Office of Chief Council, Internal Revenue Service, Dodie Cantrell - Bickley, President ABC/NBC Jacksonville; and Barbara Westrick, Speech and Language Pathologist and Consultant.
City Rescue Mission is a non-profit, faith-based organization in Jacksonville that has provided help to the homeless and needy in Jacksonville and Northeast Florida since 1946. In addition to providing emergency services for the homeless, they offer life-changing programs like the New Day Workforce and LifeBuilders to help the homeless get off the streets and back on their feet. The summer months can be a barren time as the number of donations decrease for City Rescue Mission, which does not receive any local, state or federal funding. For more information on City Rescue Mission, visit www.crmjax.org.
Client Focused Media is a leading full service marketing and advertising firm in Jacksonville, Florida. Established in 2002, CFM represents over 90 area companies in numerous categories and assists with campaign strategies and media solutions. Client Focused Media staffs a team of advertising professionals dedicated to providing clients with the tools and avenues needed to market their business or create brand equity. At CFM, the client always comes first. Visit www.cfmedia.net for more information.