Jack White Donates $200,000 to Jump-Start National Recording Preservation Foundation



The National Recording Preservation Foundation, an independent nonprofit, announced today that Third Man Records honcho Jack White has made a $200,000 donation, which allows the Foundation to become fully operational. White sits on the foundation's board, alongside luminaries like producer-engineers T-Bone Burnett and George Massenburg. Their main purpose is to raise funding for and awareness of the National Recording Preservation Board, a group that advises the Library of Congress on what recordings to add to the National Recording Registry, how to properly archive them, and maintain the National Recording Preservation Plan.

The bottom line in this alphabet soup: No recording lasts forever, and this conglomeration is hard at work trying to keep old and historically significant recordings available to the public for the foreseeable future. It's a cause that I'm happy to support with a portion of my meager tax dollars, but in these times of gridlock and gnashing teeth, it's about as far from a front-burner issue as you can get. The NRPF, the organization of which White is a part and to whom he made his donation, is responsible for raising money, which the NRPB will then use to carry out its archival and restoration duties to the Library of Congress, as well as promotional efforts to keep the issue from being overlooked.

It's a nice non-commercial gesture on White's part, similar to his support of the Detroit Masonic Temple, and which dovetails nicely with recent Third Man projects like the Sun Records reissues and Document Series. After all, the once-nearly-forgotten recording of Son House's "Grinnin' in Your Face" is White's favorite song, so why not give others a chance to make similar discoveries?

Gerald Seligman, the Foundation's Executive Director, is enthusiastic about the group being able to get down to business:

“The donation is very much a game changer,” says Executive Director Gerald Seligman. “It is our first and therefore provides the welcome opportunity to go from talk about the needs and priorities of audio preservation to concerted action. With this contribution we can now put up our basic structure, begin enacting the preservation plan — and give out our first grants. We're committed to doing that right away, and certainly within the coming months.”

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