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We reach out to you today with an unexpectedly urgent request.

In recent days, news has emerged that the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is on a shortlist of cultural institutions targeted for elimination by the new administration. As a result, the Arhoolie Foundation is at imminent risk of losing $80,000 in federal matching funds promised (but not guaranteed) under our current NEH grant.

This means that the Arhoolie Foundation needs to raise $80,000 ourselves in order to receive $80,000 promised to us by the NEH, and we need to do that before either our grant term ends or the new government decides to take those funds away. Your donation today will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the federal government and make it possible for us to continue our work preserving a priceless piece of American cultural history.

On January 30, the New York Times looked at the issues surrounding reports “that the Trump administration was considering eliminating the art and humanities agencies.[1]” Since taking office, President Trump has temporarily frozen grants and contracts by the Environmental Protection Agency, and has moved quickly in signing executive orders on everything from immigration to financial regulations. The arts endowments may not be far behind. We ask that you help us secure the remainder of our federal grant before those essential funds are taken away.

Our grant with the NEH involves the preservation of the Strachwitz-Frontera Collection, the world’s largest and most comprehensive gathering of Mexican and Mexican American vernacular music. Containing over 160,000 recordings on 78-rpm, 45-rpm, and 33-rpm discs, as well as cassettes and reel-to-reel master tapes, the Frontera Collection broadly documents the history, culture, and everyday lives of Mexican Americans throughout the United States.

As Agustin Gurza wrote in his award winning book about the collection: “Through these lovingly preserved recordings, performers who might otherwise have vanished into anonymity can share the personal, human motivations that inspired them to compose and sing — their deep feelings, disappointments, aspirations, tragedies, political commentary, social insights, and folk wisdom, not to mention their way with words.”

Our purpose has been to preserve this valuable one-of-a-kind collection, and to make it accessible to students, scholars and the general public. To date we have successfully digitized over 129,000 recordings, most of which are now publicly available through a website maintained by the UCLA Digital Library:

Without funding from the NEH, we would have turned off the lights on this effort long ago. Although our grant allows us to raise funds for our matching dollars until January 2019, we cannot assume the agency will survive until then. With your help we can draw this money as soon as possible and celebrate the music and culture of our nation’s fastest growing minority.

Please help us ensure that the current administration never gets to take away these critical funds, and help support the Arhoolie Foundation’s most ambitious project to-date. Please make a donation today.

If you prefer to write a check, our mailing address is:
The Arhoolie Foundation
10341 San Pablo Ave.
El Cerrito, CA 94530

The Foundation gratefully accepts gifts, donations and grants from individuals, business firms and other foundations to help us expand our activities. We always welcome monetary contributions but also solicit donations of record collections, photographs, songbooks, broadsides, record company catalogs, artists’ letters and correspondence, posters, films and video clips, instruments, costumes and all other related memorabilia.

The Arhoolie Foundation was classified by the IRS as a charitable and educational organization with a 501(c)(3) status, which means all your donations are fully tax deductible.

The Arhoolie Foundation’s primary purpose is to document, disseminate, and present authentic traditional and regional vernacular musics and by these activities educate and enlighten the public as well as support and reinforce traditional community values. Your donation will go to support our many projects.

Check if your organization or company offers matching contributions that may double or triple your contribution to the Arhoolie Foundation. The Arhoolie Foundation is a qualified 501-(C)(3) non-profit, educational organization.

You can send your donation to:

The Arhoolie Foundation
10341 San Pablo Ave.
El Cerrito, CA 94530


Just click on the donate button below. Please donate now. It’s easy through Paypal (you do not have to set up an account with paypal to donate using a credit card).

You can donate any amount you choose.