The Lance Armstrong Foundation struck gold for their charity by selling bright yellow LIVESTRONG bracelets that quickly became a sign of one’s personal charity.

Through this clever campaign, not only has the LAF spawned a rubber bracelet craze that’s sweeping the nation, but has also donated over $14 million to organizations and programs aimed at improving the quality of life for cancer survivors.

Given the immense success of the LAF campaign, the temptation to create a bracelet to raise money for any and every cause is almost irresistible.

Fortunately, the folks at Foundations Records chose to follow a different path and create a compilation album, “Rock For Relief,” to benefit victims of recent natural disasters.

“The idea to put together an album that would benefit victims of the natural disasters from the past year came about shortly after the Indian Ocean tsunamis,” the album’s executive producer Steve Bursky said.

After proposing the idea to various artists and managers, many artists signed on to the project and donated tracks for the disc. The final track list includes songs from socially conscious artists such as O.A.R., Guster, Jack Johnson, The Clarks and the now-defunct rock trio Dispatch.

Foundations Records then teamed up with Rounder Records Group and Zo Records to release the disc, which will be available in independent record stores throughout the country and online at starting Jan. 31, 2006.

With questions about whether your donation goes to disaster victims or a charity’s payroll, one has little incentive to make a charitable donation when they don’t know how, when or where their money will be used.

Those behind Rock For Relief did not want potential donors to have any doubts about how their money would be used. They chose to donate all proceeds from album sales to a charity – not giving any portion of the profits to the record companies or artists.

That charity is Mercy Corps, a national nonprofit organization chosen because of its vision and high rate of effectiveness.

Mercy Corps allocates 92 percent of its resources in over 35 countries to help alleviate suffering, oppression and poverty, and is currently providing assistance to over seven million people, including victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami and Hurricane Katrina.

“Music is a universal language that can uplift spirits,” Bursky said, “and with this album, hopefully it can also help alleviate the burdens of those suffering from natural disasters by providing them with food and other necessary resources.”

So when deciding which CD will be the latest addition to your music collection, pass over “Now That’s What I Call Music: Volume 234” and pick up “Rock For Relief” to donate to a worthy cause and get some great music in return.

Swain can be reached at

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