Celebrity Skins: The Grapes of RUSH

Finally! I had to take a step away from working on my aeration post to give a hearty congratulations to RUSH on their Rock Hall nomination. After so many years of not even being a bridesmaid ~ much less the bride, they are being recognized. And it’s about time.

While their reputation as a preeminent rock band is legend, it’s the commitment that both Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson have to Grapes for Humanity Global Foundation that’s very cool indeed.

Founded in 2001 by Arlene Willis, who lost a brother to a land mine accident, GFHGF works to support land mine survivors by  building prosthetic clinics and aiding survivors in welfare issues. Their chief means of fundraising is putting on wine related activites such as wine tastings, wine pairings and wine auctions. Over the years, their philanthropic endevours have expanded and direct proceeds of the events go to specially selected projects that strive to make the world a better place.

It was seeing the direct effect of the money raised from the events that appealed most to Lee. He tells Samaritan magazine (via ultimateclassicrock and noisecreep), “I was very drawn to it because we did small projects. If we raised $50,000, we’d go to Honduras, build a clinic, and you saw the direct result of that money in action.  And that’s something, to me, that makes you feel really good because you know there’s no waste there.”

Geddy sortin' da grapes @ Tawse Winery, Grimsby ON ~ image via John Gundy

Geddy sortin’ da grapes @ Tawse Winery, Grimsby ON ~ image via John Gundy

He and Lifeson hosted the maiden “Excellent Adventure ~ Grapes Under Pressure Tour”  in 2009 at Tawse Winery in the Niagara region. The excursion featured a day trip to the winery in a private car generously supplied by VIA rail. There, participants spent the day out in the vineyard picking and sorting grapes, then enjoyed a luscious lunch with wine while bidding on items in the silent auction that featured RUSH memorabilia. The event raised $37,500.

The venue changes each time to feature a different local winery in a different Canadian wine region. Huff Estate Winery in Prince Edward County played host in 2011. The Excellent Adventures have raised over $350,000 for Grapes for Humanity Canada which is awesome. Touring this way is a great way for the GFHGF to gain more exposure to a wide variety of communities, and for the participating wineries to gain new visitors.

I’ll definitely keep good thoughts for RUSH next spring for the Rock Hall induction. I’ll keep even better ones for the their continued success raising funds and awareness for Grapes for Humanity.



2 comments on “Celebrity Skins: The Grapes of RUSH

  1. LJT says:

    very cool and just like true rock stars to give it all to this worthy cause… no hidden admin or marketing costs sucking the life out of the charitable effort. but then, maybe this isn’t ‘charity’ as much as respecting people by helping to build their lives.

    • That’s true LJT. One of the things I admire about RUSH is that they’ve managed to stay true to who they are all this time. That integrity is also reflected in the type of organization they get behind and support.
      Thanks for your comment. Cheers!

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