Lester Petrillo Fund Mission Lives On
by Thomas F. Lee
Jimmy Petrillo served as President of the AFM (American Federation of Musicians) from 1940 through 1958. He is perhaps best remembered by most for having led the AFM into a nationwide strike of the recording industry. While the negotiation of the Music Performance Trust Fund was one element of the resolution of this national job action, he -- among other things -- was responsible for the creation of the Lester Petrillo Fund. This charitable trust fund for disabled musicians was created by James C. Petrillo in 1951 in honor of his son, Lester, who died at the age of thirteen. It was Jimmy's $10,000 personal check that provided the initial funding for this program and he continued on as a regular contributor in the years that followed.
The purpose of the fund is to provide financial assistance to temporarily or permanently disabled AFM members. The AFM annually processes approximately 225 applications for assistance. Unfortunately, the economics of our day places certain limitations on the size of grants. Those grants, however, regardless of size, provide financial aid to those members in need.
Members may apply for a grant from the Lester Petrillo Fund by completing an application form which may be secured from their local's Secretary. Members wishing to provide direct contributions to the Fund may due so at any time by sending a check or money order made out to the Lester Petrillo Fund to Secretary-Treasurer's Office: American Federation of Musicians: 1501 Broadway, Suite 600: New York, NY 10036. We will attempt to acknowledge all contributions in the International Musician.
As you read in the November 2000 issue of International Musician, The Carl Wilson Foundation, in conjunction with the AFM, has allocated funds for distribution to AFM members. Carl Wilson, co-founder and guitarist of the Beach Boys, passed away in 1998 at the age of 51 from lung and brain cancer. The Carl Wilson Foundation, founded by his two sons, Jonah and Justyn, is dedicated to cancer research and to improving the quality of life of musicians afflicted with the disease.
We are grateful to Billy Hinsche, CFO of The Carl Wilson Foundation (and brother-in-law of the late Carl Wilson) for his dedication and commitment to this important cause. The generous contribution provided to the Lester Petrillo Fund will serve as a meaningful benefit to those AFM members facing the adversity of cancer.
Those wishing to apply for a grant from funds provided by The Carl Wilson Foundation should complete the Petrillo Fund application and designate it as a Carl Wilson Foundation request.