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Newport Festivals Foundation and Rainey Day Fund Join Forces to Support Marginalized Voices in Music

November 3, 2021

NFF and Rainey Day join forces – launch first round of grants to BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and disabled creators.

The Rainey Day Fund and Newport Festivals Foundation have announced a partnership to support BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and disabled musicians and other creators working in roots music. To launch the partnership, the Rainey Day family of funds have made a donation of $45,220 to Newport Festivals’ Musician Relief Fund.

First established in 2018 by broadcaster/journalist Kelly McCartney and social justice advocate Donald Cohen, the Rainey Day funds have supported more than 100 BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and disabled artists and creators in roots/country music. In the past year, Rainey Day created two offshoot initiatives: The Color Me Country Artist Fund (co-founded with singer/songwriter Rissi Palmer) supports BIPOC musicians in country music, and the Rosetta Fund (co-founded with journalist/author Marissa R. Moss) supports BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and disabled media members (journalists, podcasters, photographers, etc) working within the roots/country music space. 

“I got the idea to approach Jay [Sweet] about teaming up after hearing his conversation with Adia Victoria on Call & Response and recognizing that the work we’re doing to offer support and build equity for marginalized folks lines up so beautifully with the work of the Newport Festivals Foundation. And because the Venn diagram of the Rainey Day and Newport Folk families have so much overlap, the partnership was obvious to them, as well,” Kelly explains. “It’s both thrilling and comforting to know that NFF can expand our work in the present while also ensuring it for the future.”

To celebrate the partnership, NFF has made three grants to support individuals via each fund: 

  • Rainey Day: Durand Jones
  • Color Me Country: Julia Cannon
  • Rosetta: Annie Parnell 

All future distributions from the Rainey Day funds will be managed by Newport Festivals Foundation, though Kelly and other members of the organization will remain actively involved in the process of selecting grant recipients. 

The Newport Festivals Musician Relief Fund was launched in April of 2020 to support musicians in the Newport Folk and Jazz communities, and musicians from Rhode Island. “It is such an immense honor that Kelly, Rissi, Marissa, and everyone else at Rainey Day trust us to continue their essential work,” says NFF’s Executive Director, Jay Sweet. “Since the founding of our festivals over 60 years ago, artists have been the core of our community. As a result, we’ve felt a responsibility to support historically marginalized musicians, not only by putting them on our stages, but through initiatives like our Musician Relief Fund. Partnering with Rainey Day to continue that tradition will allow us to fulfill our dedicated mission to put these funds into the hands of musicians who need it.”  

About the Rainey Day family of funds: Our mission is to provide assistance to BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and disabled artists and creators who add to the rich fabric of roots and country music. In addition to financial support, the funds also provide mentorship and resources to bring forth the storytellers of our future – storytellers who represent all, not just a few. We believe that putting more diverse voices on the stage will naturally lead to more diverse faces in the audience, thereby normalizing inclusion, because representation and reflection must be present at every level of our society and in every aspect of our industry, if change is to truly be seen.

​​About Newport Festivals Foundation:

Newport Festivals Foundation is a 501(c)(3) profit organization with a mission to foster the legacy and expand the impact of its Folk and Jazz Festivals through programs that support musicians, educators, and students. The Foundation’s goal is to offer opportunity, inspire through exposure and facilitate the collection of resources needed for musicians to celebrate and innovate. The focus on creating unique experiences to spark engagement is accomplished through a variety of initiatives taking place all over America, including instrument donations, performances at schools and support for music education programs with partnering organizations. 

For more information on the education initiatives of Newport Festivals Foundation, please visit


Your donation to Newport Festivals Foundation will help ensure the future of our festivals and support musicians and music education programs across the country.