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WEB FIRST: Hamden native launches website to aid Gulf

July 12, 2010 NJAPW

Published: Wednesday, July 07, 2010

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By ANN DeMATTEO
Special to The Register Citizen

Concern for the oil spill disaster along the Gulf Coast, connections and technology have merged to create an innovative online fundraising campaign, and it all began when Hamden native Eric Knight had an idea.

Give to the Gulf, a website that encourages giving through music, will be launched today at L & R Productions in East Hartford, a recording studio. Artists will begin performing at 3 p.m. at the company, 87 Church St.

Knight, who now lives in Farmington, said that four words, give to the Gulf, woke him out of a sound sleep at 4 a.m. six weeks ago.

“I wrote down the words on the pad I keep next to my bed,” Knight said Tuesday.

He thought the words had a good sound for a fundraiser. But how to pull it off?

When you’re the founder of Remarkable Technologies Inc., a products and marketing company, and you’re also a musician and inventor, you just have to make a few calls.

So that’s what Knight did.

One call and meeting led to another and in three weeks, www.givetothegulf.org was created.

Knight said he’s “still pinching” himself at the thought that so much has come together in such a short time for “such a great cause. It has the potential of raising millions. We’ve set in place a mechanism for continued giving. It’s just amazing that it’s come together in six weeks.”

Working with Paul Lombardo and Tom Russo of L & R Productions, and Mike Sokol of JMS Productions in Maryland, the online model for the website portal was developed, Knight said. They collaborated with musicians nationwide, and established relationships with corporate partners including iTunes and TuneCore.com, he said.

“All over the country, people are asking how they can help their fellow Americans in the Gulf. We thought it could be as simple as sharing music and downloading a song,” he said.

Give to the Gulf, Volume 1, features 11 original songs, including the title track, “Give to the Gulf.” Volumes 2 and 3 are already in the works.

When visitors download music from Give to the Gulf through iTunes, 100 percent of the proceeds that musicians would normally receive goes directly to the United Way Gulf Recovery Fund. The fund provides emergency assistance, such as help with food, rent and utilities, and supports long-term recovery work to rebuild lives through educational, financial and health-related programs.

Other musicians who submit their music to be part of the fundraiser in the future, will retain all ownership and copyrights to their music.

Once the music is submitted, the website is a conduit to Apple’s iTunes system under the Give to the Gulf music label umbrella.

“Give to the Gulf” is Knight’s second contribution to help with the oil spill catastrophe. In May, he designed a method to stop the oil flow, which gained attention early in the disaster. It can be found at www.remarkable.com/oil_spill_solution.html.

For more information about Give to the Gulf or to download music, visit www.givetothegulf.org, e-mail info@givetothegulf.org or call 203-987-8084

Call Ann DeMatteo at 203-789-5716