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Bad Blood
Posted by editor_usa

UM’s EJAF Donation Causes Some to Feel Slighted

Friday 7
March 2008 @ 16:32
– GMT

The Adams Center has raised between 60 and 80 percent of the $75,000 promised to the Elton John AIDS Foundation in an as-yet unsigned memo with the Howard Rose Agency, venue director Mary Muse told the Montana Kaimin yesterday.

Quite frankly, the $75,000 we never regarded it as something that might not happen, Muse said. Its a very do-able thing.

This news correlates with optimism expressed this week by University of Montana administrators that the donation money will be raised in time for the songster’s April 11 concert.

UM Vice President Jim Foley commented that he thinks Mary is involving people in the community to raise the $75,000.

I think its a whole bunch of us, including students, Foley said. A lot have come forward to try to be helpful, not only the university, the student community, but the community of Missoula, to bring this world-class entertainer back again.

Muse said she did not make a public announcement about the donation because she felt a media blitz would generate bad blood between the Adams Center and local AIDS charities. The contribution was not meant to directly compete with them, she explained. 

Keri McWilliams, executive director of the Missoula AIDS Council, spoke out after reading about the Adams Center donation.

McWilliams issued a statement on behalf of the Council:

We certainly support the efforts of the Elton John foundation to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS. However, we would like to remind the university community that HIV/AIDS is an issue right here in Montana. Missoula AIDS Council provides statewide prevention services, as well as supportive services for those living with HIV/AIDS in Montana. So obviously we would like to see our community resources stay in Montana and go to local efforts.

Muse said the Adams Center has not made plans to release detailed information regarding donors and donation amounts to the public, and it is doubtful that the information will be made available. This is a measure to protect any private donors who wish to remain anonymous for personal reasons and does not mean the centre is trying to pull the wool over anyones eyes, she remarked.

We are facilitating donations, we are not making the donations.

Negotiations for a second concert began shortly after ticket sales for the first one concluded. Because the show sold out so quickly, Mary called Eltons representatives to ask if she could reserve a second concert date.

Due to a busy tour schedule, Elton was unable to play a second time in the fall. But Muse said his people were considerate when she continued to ask, How can we get a second date?

Muse said in answer to her question, the Howard Rose Agency mentioned the pianist’s passion for his AIDS philanthropy. Muse did not say who first suggested the Adams Center make a contribution, only that during negotiations the parties landed on something mutually beneficial.

When we made this commitment, we believed it was reasonable and doable, and we still do, Mary said. 

She said she alerted the UM administration to the donation deal within 10 minutes of making the offer, and that ASUM was alerted about the same time.

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