Photos by Andrea Zucker

What does the HART fund do?

The Blues Foundation established the HART Fund (Handy Artists Relief Trust) for Blues musicians and their families in financial need due to a broad range of health concerns. The Fund provides for acute, chronic and preventive medical and dental care as well as funeral and burial expenses. Throughout the year at various events the HART Fund provides free health screenings for musicians, with services including but not limited to checking blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, prostate cancer, Hep C, anemia, thyroid, kidney and liver testing via blood work. 

February is our Month of HART and we ask each of our affiliated blues societies located within the United States to host a HART Fund benefit in their community. US blues artists are often under or uninsured, and the HART Fund is here to help them when they often most need it by offering direct financial support for medical, dental, vision, hearing, and/or mental health needs. We also ensure that blues musicians receive dignified funerals at end of life by providing resources for their families related to their burials. And of course, our health screenings at the IBC and other blues events are often the only healthcare that blues musicians receive, and all of it is offered at no expense to them.

To register your blues society’s HART Fund benefit, please email information to [email protected].

Check out these 2021 virtual HART Fund benefits:

Virtual Health Screenings

These times are especially stressful and difficult, and The Blues Foundation wants to help our blues music community stay healthy.

We are offering Virtual Health Screenings for full time blues musicians and full-time blues industry members.

The Blues Foundation will provide at no charge full lab work to assess anemia, kidney / liver function, electrolytes, thyroid function, cholesterol panel, diabetes, Hepatitis C, prostate cancer screening, HIV, and other sexually transmitted diseases. Full privacy guaranteed at a medical lab near your home with
follow-up by a HART Fund medical doctor.

The application to apply is below and needs to be completed in its entirety and sent to Keisha Moore Alston at [email protected].

Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a first-come first-served basis with funding for the first 50 applicants who qualify.

Download Virtual HART Fund Screening Form

How the HART Fund has helped

“I am writing to say a BIG THANK YOU for assistance with purchasing my new hearing aids. I’m still adjusting to wearing them, but I can tell you that it has already made a serious change for the better in my life! I am beginning to play gigs and record again!

I truly cannot thank you enough for your help! I’m looking forward to creating more of the music we all love so much – BLUES!

Thank you, God  bless you for your kindness and generosity…”

Fred Kaplan

The Blues Foundation has made such a difference in my life. After taking quite a fall and subsequently knocking my front teeth out while unloading my bass amp during a rain, I was so embarrassed to be on stage without teeth. I wouldn’t smile or even sing back-up during our shows. Being a struggling musician, I didn’t have dental insurance or the funds to replace my teeth or have the two loose ones pulled. Your generosity gave me back my smile, but more importantly, my self-confidence. I am proud to be on stage, singing and performing and back to making a living playing bass. I can never thank you enough for all that you have done for me and other musicians in need, Still performing,”

Earl Hancock

“I am reaching out to you not only to thank you for the financial assistance but also to let you know that I am Cancer Free! I had my final scans and they showed that the cancer is gone.

The Hart Fund really helped me and my family tremendously during this most difficult time and my wife Karene and I just wanted to say thank you again. It is very much appreciated. I am back to playing music again!”

Mark Telesca

“Words cannot adequately express the gratitude we feel for The Blues Foundation/HART Fund and all they’ve done to support us in a time of need. Not only were they there to help us monetarily, but the genuine words of concern and support helped boost our spirits immensely. We are so thankful for this foundation that supports Blues musicians, a special group who keep this wonderful music alive at all costs.”

Lynda & David “Hurricane” Hoerl

“A little over a year ago Tim Betts played a set with Lil’ Ed at the Hubert Sumlin Benefit for the Hart Fund. Little did I know a few months after this night Tim would be facing his own serious health scares. Tim received help from friends, fundraisers, Triad Musicians Matters, Fitzgerald’s and MusiCares. Then I was put in touch with the HART Fund who picked up almost all of the rest of Tim’s bills for him. The same people who Tim had played for a benefit are now giving to Tim. I am both excited, touched, and relieved all at the same time. I want to share my appreciation and thank all the people who have helped him. Thank you so much!! We do appreciate it. We look forward to when we can help someone in need.”

Amberly Stokes (with Tim Bett's blessing)

Additional Resources

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Keeping Music in Austin Alive & Well. If you are an uninsured, professional musician in the Austin-area, you may be eligible for low-cost primary health care services, basic dental care and mental health counseling through HAAM, the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians.


Its free Fair Price™ search tool makes it easy to find the price you can expect to pay for medical services in your area. With answers at your fingertips, you can now make fully-informed decisions to get the right care at the right price – whenever you need it.


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With its Musicians Emergency Fund, provides help for elder Jazz and Blues Musicians in the form of rent, utility and food assistance. It also partners with Englewood Hospital in NJ to provide free medical assistance through a pro bono network of physicians and specialists.


Provides a safety net of critical assistance for music people in times of need. Services and resources cover a wide range of financial, medical and personal emergencies, and each case is treated with integrity and confidentiality. MusiCares also focuses the resources and attention of the music industry on human service issues that directly impact the health and welfare of the music community.


Helps professional musicians by providing emergency financial assistance in meeting current living, medical and allied expenses. Serves deserving musicians by providing financial assistance to those who need help in meeting current living, medical and allied expenses. Financial help is viewed as an opportunity to say “Thank You” to those who have given so much to enhance the quality of musical life in our land.


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Provides financial assistance to all types of career musicians who are facing illness, disability, or age-related problems. Helps preserve our most profound art by becoming one of music’s many compassionate and generous charities.


Become a Member

Becoming a member of The Blues Foundation gives you an opportunity to be personally connected to a blues community where you will experience a vast amount of resources, information, news, views, insight, and activities not available anywhere else. You will be part of an organization which is special, fun, and unique.

“I am so happy to be part of a family – the blues family. No matter where I go, there is a member of this family everywhere I stop. The Blues Foundation has been so important in keeping blues societies around the world informed about upcoming artists, such as myself, and about unknown artists who have never been discovered”    

Grady Champion

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