“The Canadian music industry has come together already, even though Unison is fairly new. Everyone I talk with is eager to help, eager to volunteer and very supportive of the fund. We are looking forward to spreading the word across the country and getting more people involved, growing the number of people who can fundraise with us and spread the word about the benefits of Unison.”
– Jodie Ferneyhough, Founding President of Unison
The Unison Benevolent Fund is the brainchild of Jodie Ferneyhough and Catharine Saxberg, both of whom have been touched by the loss and illness of friends within the music community. Catharine had seen that similar relief programs existed in other sectors, and decided it was time to unite the music industry: to create a process by which we can help each other.
Ferneyhough explains: “The idea of Unison started shortly after a tragic accident to a well-known musician. It occurred to me that although benefit concerts and fundraisers, in the short-term, were a great thing and brought the community together, there was no organized support system in the music business for people when they fell on hard times. Musicians, roadies, riggers, soundmen, managers, indie publishers, labels and a myriad of others, might not have access to money if there was ever an emergency… We felt it was time for the industry to have a way of taking care of itself.”
Catharine and Jodie began speaking to their friends and colleagues and quickly found unanimous support for the idea – and the Unison Benevolent Fund was born. The Board of Directors was formed in 2010, and reflects a cross-section of the Canadian music industry itself.
“The creation of an emergency fund was our first priority,” Catharine Saxberg, Vice President of Unison’s Board explains “as we’re mostly self-employed, it’s often more difficult for us to secure bank loans, or other types of emergency financing when we need it. Our long-term goal is to provide access to additional assistance programs and insurance options. We’d like to use our strength in numbers.”
In July 2011, The Unison Benevolent Fund received initial commitments of $250,000 from Music Canada and Slaight Music, followed by a $100,000 commitment from a collective of music publishers in 2012. On October 24, 2011, Sheila Hamilton was appointed executive director.
Unison would like to recognize the contributions of our founding board members and supporters, whose vision and initial contributions made Unison a reality.
Casablanca Media Publishing
CONNECT Music Licensing
EMI Music Publishing
MRD – Music Revenue Data Inc.
Ole Media Management
Shalinsky & Company LLP
Sony ATV Music Publishing Canada
Sony Music Canada
Universal Music Canada
Universal Music Publishing Group
Warner Music Canada
Warner/Chappell Music Canada Ltd.
FOUNDING BOARD MEMBERS