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Sweet Relief Musicians Fund

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Sweet Relief Musicians Fund

The Sweet Relief Musicians Fund emblem
FounderVictoria Williams
Area served
United States
MethodFinancial Aid

Sweet Relief Musicians Fund is a nonprofit charity that maintains a financial fund from which professional musicians can draw when in need of medical care or financial needs. Initially intended as a one-time CD launch benefit for Victoria Williams, Sweet Relief has evolved into a charity organization that relies on donations from artists and the public as a general fund to all professional musicians in need. The fund provides financial assistance to all types of career musicians who are struggling with their finances while facing illness, disability, or age-related problems.


Founding and first CD release

The organization was started after musician and singer Victoria Williams was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 1993 and had no way to pay for her medical expenses. Money was raised through benefit concerts and the release of a CD, Sweet Relief: A Benefit for Victoria Williams, featuring artists like Lou Reed and Pearl Jam.

Second CD release

A second CD titled Sweet Relief II: Gravity of the Situation was released in 1996. All of the proceeds went toward Sweet Relief Musicians Fund to aid the organization. A variety of alternative rock artists volunteered their time to perform a variety of songs from Vic Chesnutt. Some well-known artists including Garbage, R.E.M., Hootie and the Blowfish, The Smashing Pumpkins, Joe Henry and Madonna performed for the CD.


Sweet Relief provides service to the music community through financial assistance in the following categories:

  • Insurance Premiums
  • Prescriptions
  • Housing Costs
  • Food Costs
  • Alternative Therapies/Treatments not covered by insurance

Criteria for eligibility

Candidacy for assistance depends, among other factors, on the availability of funds and the number of eligible applicants, along with the following criteria:

  • The applicant must be a musician who has regular public performances, or performed on at least three widely released recordings (audio or audiovisual), or written music that has been performed on three widely released recordings, or published on three occasions.
  • The applicant must demonstrate financial need.
  • Older musicians that require short-term assistance for basic needs.
  • Except for retired or semi-retired older musicians, the applicant must have, or recently have had, a serious medical condition. A condition is considered to be serious when it substantially affects the applicant’s ability to work within or outside the music industry.

Exceptions may be made to any individual who does not meet these criteria but believes himself or herself to be eligible for assistance.

Management staff


  • Bill Bennett - President
  • Aric Steinberg - Vice President of Development & Artist Relations[1]

Board of directors

  • Victoria Williams - Founder, Singer/songwriter and musician
  • J. Mark Matthews MD
  • Ariel Hyatt
  • David Bournasian
  • Paul Fox
  • Martin Kamenski
  • Matthew Kaplan

Advisory board

  • Jared Levy
  • Mike Rouse
  • Don Strasburg
  • Eric Pirritt
  • Benjamin Myers
  • Regius Gunawan
  • Keith Mitchell
  • Eric Mayers

Notable supporters

Sweet Relief Musicians Fund has worked with many notable musicians. A list of supporters, past and present, is shown below:

Discography (benefit albums)


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Sweet Relief Musicians Fund
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