Pickleberry Pie Incorporated
21 years of small projects with big impacts
THE HEALING POWER OF MUSIC
Pickleberry Pie Inc., a public charity for children and families, has accomplished small music-oriented projects for over 21 years. Our many projects are united by a single goal: to use the healing power of music and personal contact to improve the lives of kids and teens.
• We provide free concerts and one to one entertainment for seriously ill children in 14 hospitals and one hospice nationwide.
• We have pioneered a program to use the songwriting process to help teens living with cancer.
• We are partnering with a local public radio station to create the first national public radio channel for children.
• We empower kids in families, schools, and day care centers worldwide to vote on awards for music and storytelling.
• And we help families and schools connect with entertainment professionals and related services worldwide
Joanie Bartels gives a first guitar lesson in Los Angeles
Over the years Pickleberry Pie Incorporated has helped millions of kids. Yet our volunteer structure allows the needs of individual kids to always stay in focus. When we put on a concert, we create one for specific children with specific needs. When we put together an awards program, we let individual kids have a majority voice in the judging.
Everything we do for kids, we do for free. We don't rely on fancy technology, equipment, or advertisements. There are no plastic Pickleberry dolls, no video games or computers. We have no paid staff, no overhead, and no development costs.
We keep things simple to simply benefit kids.
Our volunteer organization was started in 1986 by Linda Arnold, P. J. Swift, and a small group of adults and kids. We saw a need for programs for young children in the national public radio system. We simply couldn't understand why no one was making such a series, and so we decided to create one! We eventually recorded over 500 half-hour programs, put together entirely by volunteers. “Pickleberry Pie” was the most popular young children's series on public radio. Our honors included the Gold Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in 1991, The American Women in Radio and Television Award, Parent's Choice and many other awards. Toward the end of the 80's, our volunteers started outreach activities in the San Francisco Bay Area. We created a program to teach songwriting to kids in elementary school, and then an entire radio channel for kids in hospitals called “Sprouts.”
THE HOSPITAL CONCERT SERIES
When we created the “Sprouts” closed circuit children's radio for Stanford's Packard Children's Hospital, we were reminded how healing music can be. Packard Hospital expressed an interest in a concert series and asked for our help. So our volunteers started a free monthly acoustic concert series for seriously ill children in Packard and Shriner's Hospital in San Francisco. Twelve years later, thanks to the generosity of The Bernard Osher Foundation, the Wayne and Gladys Valley Foundation, The Margo and Irwin Winkler Charitable Trust, and other funders, we had expanded to over 140 concerts in 14 hospitals and one hospice nationwide, serving about 15,000 children and their families yearly. Current locations include Oakland, San Francisco, Palo Alto, San Jose, San Leandro, Los Angeles, Portland, Austin, Northern Virginia, and Washington D.C.
LOCAL AND ADAPTABLE
We can be adaptable because we're small and locally-run. Our concert series is planned, scheduled, and managed entirely by the local co-ordinators of Pickleberry Pie: all the hospital staff has to do is publicize the concert to their patients and staff. Because we are well-connected to children's music, we can hand pick the entertainers for the concerts, selecting people we know and trust. We pay our entertainers well, assuring an individualized, site-specific performance each time. Our entertainers are given strict verbal and written guidelines, created in conjunction with hospital staff, to insure that their performance is upbeat and comforting.
We've had a great variety of multicultural performers in our many concerts – from singers to storytellers to clowns to magicians. All performers strive to involve the kids in the concert, using rhythm instruments, group singing, and collaborative storytelling where possible. Small, participatory concerts are crucial to the success of our program. What these kids need most is personal attention.
After every performance, the entertainers visit the kids who are not able to attend the group concert and give them private concerts in their rooms. And all of our Pickleberry performers leave free CDs for the hospital library.
TEEN SONGWRITING PROJECT
Over the years, we haven’t served teens well in our hospital visits, because our concerts were often for much younger children. Yet statistics show that teens and young adults comprise the most neglected group of cancer patients. As typical of the Pickleberries, we knew that we could do something about it. So we sought and received two grants- one from the Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation and one from the Lance Armstrong Foundation- to use the songwriting process to help teens living with cancer in Oakland and Los Angeles. Our goal was to use the songwriting process to aid in the psychological recovery of teens with cancer.
Teen Brooks P. and his professional songwriting coach, Jimmy Hammer
In the past two years, we’ve learned a lot about recruiting and working with the teen population. It’s not simple. It can take us several months just to find the teen, arrange meetings, and finally facilitate the songwriting experience with an individually-selected professional songwriting partner. But we must say, the results have been spectacular, both in lyrics and arrangements. Above and beyond the product, many of the teen participants have expressed deep gratitude for the way their participation in the songwriting process has jumpstarted their recovery. Here’s an excerpt from a sample song:
Lucky to Be Loved
By Stephen P. and Alan O’Day
The Scouts in my troop
Told me to walk tall
They gave me dinners, emails, and calls
The teachers at school
Knew just how I felt
They bent all the rules
Just to give me some help
I’m so lucky to be loved
Thank you everybody for lifting me up
You were always there when the going got tough
I’m lucky, lucky, lucky to be loved.
We are in the process of collecting all of the songs on a special, limited-distribution CD in order to educate child life professionals nationwide about this songwriting process.
A PUBLIC RADIO CHANNEL FOR KIDS
Our Pickleberry volunteers have been quietly partnering on a project with KUSP-FM, our local NPR affiliate public radio station. KUSP has a 35 year track record of excellence in national programming. KUSP and the Pickleberries have been working for the past two years to help public stations nationwide finally address their most neglected audience: children.
Here’s how it will work: with the advent of digital technology, stations across the nation can present three or more distinct channels of HD Radio programming within what used to be only one signal. We want to make it easy for stations to serve kids on one of these HD channels by providing a free children’s channel for the public radio system at large.
To that end, our Pickleberry volunteers have combined new and existing children’s programs to create a children’s channel called Snappers. Pickleberry Pie is the perfect organization to create the channel because we’ve made several children’s channels in the past. Our roster of donated programs will feature award-winning series such as Kinetic City Supercrew, Rabbit Ears Radio, Kids Earth and Sky, and Scholastic News for Kids. We have developed several new programs as well, including Lullaby Land, One World, One Kid, and a new literature program called Chapter One. It’s a fantastic line-up, one that educates and respects children in the way that non-commercial public broadcasting does best.
Snappers programming will be available on multiple platforms, including internet streaming and podcasting. As you might expect, public stations across the country have expressed a strong interest in the free channel as a vital public service (call us for a current list of affiliates.) We hope to be on 80 public stations within two years, benefiting millions of kids and families.
It’s very expensive to create a national channel, even on public radio! But we’ve made Snappers a very cost-effective project, in that 70% of our yearly expenses are covered by donated programming and volunteer Pickleberry time. The 30% that we need (for distribution costs and daily upkeep of the channel) will be raised through foundation and individual donor support. In future years, Snappers will be supported by a combination of underwriting and individual donations. In order to comply with public radio regulations, all project funding will go through KUSP.
For eleven years, Pickleberry Pie, Inc. has been the fiscal agent and parent organization for The Children's Music Web, a non-profit resource for families worldwide. The Children's Music Web is entirely self-supporting through small individual contributions and program service revenue. Our site, www.childrensmusic.org , has had two million visitors over the years. The site features webcast children's radio, song suggestions for teachers, links to music education organizations, and tips on creating songs and audio by kids and for kids.
Our Children's Music Web's awards program for children's entertainers has been increasingly successful. Our awards program is the ONLY awards program truly decided by kids, because we involve families and schools in every step of the judging process. This year, we had about 170 entries in 14 age-specific categories. Over 2000 kids worldwide decide the winners The awards program is self-supporting.
OUR GOALS AND OBJECTIVES FOR FALL 2007 TO SUMMER 2008
Our Pickleberry Pie, Incorporated Board of Directors (see last page) meets on-line frequently during the year. Our Executive Committee meets on-line at least twice a month. During these meetings, the following goals and objectives were set for the coming year:
Objective: Raise funds to continue the free monthly “Very Special Concert Series” for 14 children's hospitals and one hospice in the Bay Area, Portland, Austin, metro D.C., and Los Angeles. Outcome: 140 concerts and 5 hospice visits by noted children's artists, presented free of charge.
Objective: Finish the pilot project to help teens express themselves through songwriting. Present findings to Child Life Conference in May 2008. Outcome: 30 teens paired with professional songwriters. Songs will be collected on a CD.
Objective: Work with KUSP-FM to develop a free radio channel for the national public broadcasting system. Outcome: 24 hour public radio channel for kids by 2010, with broadcasts in 80 cities nationwide. Potential to serve millions of kids and families.
Objective: Continue free services, including on line “webcast” for children. Publicize the site and Children's Music Web Awards. Outcome: 500,000 visits by July 2008, representing continued public awareness and use of the site.
Our funds come from three areas: grants from supporting foundations, program service revenue, and individual donations to the Children's Music Web. We have two separate accounts - one for Pickleberry Pie Inc., and one for our Children's Music Web activities. Although these accounts are combined in the budget below and on our tax returns, we keep them separate in our day to day accounting. The Snappers funding will be handled through KUSP. Note: We have a significant fund balance at the end of each year because we receive funds for programs implemented in the following year.
The Autzen Foundation 4,000
The Bernard Osher Foundation 4,000
The Margo and Irwin Winkler Charitable Foundation 8,000
The Van Loben Sels/Rembe Rock Foundation 2,500
The Wayne and Gladys Valley Foundation (2006 grant) 6,000
The May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust 4,000
Jordan Kitts Music 500
Flooring Solutions Inc. 2,000
Contributions from individuals/program service revenue 27,433
Interest from accounts 130
Total income 58,563
FUNCTIONAL EXPENSES 2006
Printing, Postage and Shipping
Supplies, Equipment, Rhythm Inst, Internet
Consultants (entertainers and local co-ordinators)
All other expenses (rent, telephone, administrative, development etc) are in-kind donations or volunteer. We estimate that these in-kind costs total over $200,000 per year.
BUDGETS FOR 2008 Listed by Project
Hospital Concert Series (all locations- 140 concerts)
Existing funds: 0
To raise: $52,000
George Mark Hospice Concert Series- San Leandro (up to 5 events per year)
Existing funds: 0
To raise: $3,500
Children’s Music Web and the Children’s Music Web Awards
Funds for this project come from program service revenue
Snappers– children’s channel on public radio
Total budget: $655,350
To raise: $190,000
All of the funds for Snappers will be handled by KUSP FM
Pickleberry Pie Incorporated Board of Directors
This is an entirely volunteer and uncompensated Board
Executive Committee- meets on-line twice a month
Monty Harper , children's artist, Vice Chair, Stillwater, OK
Fred Koch , writer for Parent's Magazine, Board Chair, Chicago IL
Irene Light, music educator, Secretary, Vienna VA
P.J. Swift, special education teacher, Treasurer and volunteer CEO, Santa Cruz CA
Other Board members- meets on-line 4 times per year:
Linda Arnold, children's artist, Santa Cruz CA
Katherine Dines, children's artist, Denver CO
Ned Hearn, entertainment attorney, San Jose, CA
Scott Liggettwood, children's artist, Hong Kong, China
Mary Lounsbury, PhD., clinical children's psychologist, Carmel CA
Robbie Schaefer, children’s entertainer and XMKids DJ, Vienna, VANancy Rose Senich, marketing and public relations consultant, McLean, VA
Lanny Sherwin, children’s artist, Santa Barbara, CA
Rachel Sumner, children's artist, Nashville TN
Francesca Talamantes, retired educator, Santa Cruz CA
Barbara Tilsen, day care provider, Minneapolis, MN
Robert Wesley, M.D.(cardiology), Las Vegas, NV