Tallgrass to perform for Iowa Shares benefit concert


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In the intimate environment of the Englert Theater, pounding rhythms of "Dirt Stomping Soul" will vibrate through the space.

Audience members will enjoy a night of giving back while sitting directly on the stage with Iowa City band Tallgrass.

"It's going to be really fun to play again in the Englert and take a night to play for a good cause," said band member Matt Skinner. "Plus, we get to dress up nice, too."

The three-piece band will perform from its newly released album, God, Sin, Whiskey, and Women — recorded on the Englert stage — at 8 p.m. Friday at the Englert, 221 E. Washington St. Admission is $15.

The performance will benefit Iowa Shares, a partnership among nonprofit organizations throughout Iowa that have a direct effect on communities through research, education, advocacy, and direct service.

The biggest fundraising Iowa Shares does is through payroll deduction.

The organization is partnered with many different employers in Iowa that have made it possible for their employees to donate to Iowa Shares by having a deduction from their paychecks.

The Englert has been a member since 2008, and theater Development Director Katie Roche serves on the board.

She said the payroll deduction is a convenient way to give and the No. 1 way young adults first become philanthropists.

"When a public workplace allows its employees the option of giving to Iowa Shares, it expands the possibilities of the kinds of nonprofits that their employees can support," she said.

When Roche asked Tallgrass to be a part of the show and informed the members of all the organizations it would benefit, they did not hesitate to say yes.

"This community has been really supportive of Tallgrass over the last year, and this has really been the band's year with a new album, a growing and committed fan base, and it just seem like a fun fit," Roche said. "When it really comes down to it, we just want people to have a great time with a killer band."

Many of the 15 members involved in Iowa Shares plan to attend the concert, one being Laura Dowd.

She has been a part of the organization for three years with her company Local Foods Connection.

"We are excited about partnering with other great nonprofits, and we believe collaborative fundraising efforts can help us reach new sources that we couldn't reach alone," Dowd said.

Working in this collaborative group has taken away some of the competitive feel of fundraising and prevents a duplication of services that allows for partnership.

"Instead of trying to beat each other out for a donation, we work together so it fosters friendship and understanding among the member organizations," Dowd said.

Katy Hansen, the executive director of the Iowa United Nations Association, joined Iowa Shares approximately 15 years ago.

In the future, she hopes that with more nonprofits, employees, and workplaces joining Iowa Shares, it could be a significant source of operating funds for nonprofits that make a difference in the community.

"Our member organizations are looking to address the root causes of community problems," Hansen said. "We want to make change for a better community all around."

Tallgrass — Iowa Shares Benefit
When: 8 p.m. Friday
Where: Englert, 221 E. Washington
Admission: $15

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