On Friday, January 19, it sponsored Local Coverage, a one-of-a-kind concert at Turner Hall Ballroom featuring local acts covering other local acts’ songs and raffles of gift cards and other items. Even better, the evening benefited the Milwaukee Women’s Center, which provides emergency shelter and supportive services for homeless families and survivors of intimate partner abuse and their families. The event raised a record-breaking $8,218!
The music – by De La Buena, Lex Allen, Space Raft, B~Free, NO/NO, Listening Party, Negative/Positive, and Jaill, all of whom donated their time and talents to the event– was truly extraordinary. Plus, raffles of items and gift cards donated by local businesses helped to raise funds for the Milwaukee Women’s Center.
January’s Local Coverage event is just the latest example of Milwaukee Record’s dedicated support of the center. Last year, its Roast of Milwaukee and the release of its Re-Porter beer from Company Brewing also raised funds for the center’s programs.
We asked Tyler Maas, Milwaukee Record’s Co-Founder and Editor, why the site has been so supportive of the Milwaukee Women’s Center.
+ Why did Milwaukee Record decide to support the Milwaukee Women’s Center in your events? How was that connection made?
The decision to support Milwaukee Women's Center was an easy one to make. In the three previous years of the event, we'd given proceeds to a girls’ rock and roll camp. Last year, we split the donation evenly between them and an after-school program. While I feel it's important to give encouragement and opportunity to the youth of our city, seeing rising reports of abuse and learning your funding had been cut made it more apparent than ever that there are people who need our help right now. I had this platform to raise funds to immediately have a positive impact on someone who needs help.
I first learned about the Women's Center from Olivia Doyle, who founded and co-organizes this incredible annual event called Riverwest FemFest. They also donate proceeds to Milwaukee Women's Center. That introduction made me look deeper into the organization. Katie Rose, who helped organize Lady Business last year, also told me about the various needs the center still has, so Milwaukee Women's Center came to mind when thinking of this year's organization.
+ Why did you decide to turn over the proceeds of your events to the MWC? I’m sure that Milwaukee Record could have used that money for your own purposes.
While Milwaukee Record is still a fairly young publication and one of the city's smallest media outlets, I've always thought it was crucial to use our limited voice and whatever reach or influence we may have to make the city we cover a better place to live. We love Milwaukee, but we can be better. We're capable of more. If a three-person operation can use whatever small platform we developed, an original show concept, and a lot of work to raise thousands of dollars for those in need, then anybody can. This is our little way of telling Milwaukee we're here to stay and that we're going to do our part to continue to make the region a better place, even if it's in small ways.
Another reason we don't keep any money is because we ask all the musicians involved to play for free. The nature of this show—giving artists roughly 100 days to learn and re-imagine an entire set composed of another band's material—is one that's incredibly difficult and time-consuming for musicians. That's not lost on me, and neither is the generosity of sponsors, volunteers, and raffle supporters. Everyone gladly donates their time, talent, and energy to this event, so drawing any income from it didn't seem right to me.
+ Is Re-Porter still on sale? If so, where can I find it?
Company Brewing is fresh out of Re-Porter. However, it's available at a few places around town still, but it's about tapped out. I've confirmed we'll be brewing it again with Company Brewing this fall. There's also the possibility of it being on sale in cans next time around. Other than it being amazing to be able to drink a delicious beer with our business' name on it, donations from Re-Porter sales were applied to the show total. Thanks to Company Brewing and the support of over 16 bars and restaurants in Milwaukee and places as far away as Oshkosh, we were able to apply approximately $2,500 more to our donation total.
+ How important is philanthropy to your mission as a publication?
Milwaukee Record is a business that survives solely on income from advertisers. Though we aren't a non-profit and I'd certainly like to be making more from this venture, I also recognize that we've been able to fashion this unique platform where we can add events like Local Coverage and our Roast of Milwaukee show that can have a positive impact on those around us. It's not an opportunity everybody has. Individually, my voice can only go so far, but when some dumb idea has the aid and the audience of this media outlet I helped start, it can have a notable effect on the community I call home and the city I love. Of course, both those event ideas I mentioned would just remain ideas if not for the skills and generosity of Milwaukee musicians, comedians, and various other creatives that breathe life into show concepts I've thought up.