Maren Morris has donated $70,000 to the band program at East Nashville Magnet High School and an additional $10,000 to East Nashville bar The Fox, helping out her neighborhood in a time when many need it. The Grammy winner's donation to the high school will help the program purchase instruments, uniforms, tuxedos and gowns.
The school received the donation as part of Morris' HEROES Fund, a Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee partnership that supports music education in public schools and is funded through proceeds from ticketed meet-and-greet events on Morris' tours. "Education and access to funding for public school music and theater departments has always held a special place in my heart," the singer, a public school graduate, told The Tennessean via email, adding that her philanthropic efforts stem from her experience at Grammy Camp as a teenager.
At the camp, which is the Recording Academy's summer program for young people who hope to work in the music industry, Morris said that she first learned that other young people "around the world" also wanted to be professional musicians.
"Now that I am where I am, it gives me so much joy to give back money to the spark that enflamed my interest as a creative human being," she said. "With so much uncertainty for public schools this year during COVID, I wanted East Nashville Magnet to have one less worry for their fine arts department."
Broadway bars taking advantage of these loopholes right now are cannibalizing our Nashville small businesses who have been following the health orders since day 1. Going to donate to my friends at The Fox because this is absolutely heartbreaking. https://t.co/McsDdPqvKQ— MAREN MORRIS (@MarenMorris) August 5, 2020
Morris recently discussed The Fox's plight on Twitter, sharing video in which the bar's owners criticized downtown establishments for not adhering to mask mandates and asked Nashville Mayor John Cooper for regulation of health mandates amid the pandemic and enforcing the rules he set out. "It's killing your small business community," The Fox owner Andrew Cook said in the clip. "Bars like ourselves and our friends that are gathered here today, we're paying the price for the negligence of the bigger bars and establishments that are coasting by on these loopholes and getting away with what they shouldn't be getting away with right now."
"Broadway bars taking advantage of these loopholes right now are cannibalizing our Nashville small businesses who have been following the health orders since day 1," Morris wrote. "Going to donate to my friends at The Fox because this is absolutely heartbreaking."
In a follow-up tweet, she added, "Yay to my friends at @thefoxnashville and so many small businesses for shedding a light on this uneven treatment. Please, @JohnCooper4Nash consider the sweeping penalties that affect the local haunts that make Nashville a place people want to visit in the 1st place."