About Innovative Giving Enhancement
Innovative Giving Enhancement “IGE” is a 501 (c)(3) educational nonprofit public charity conceived and founded by Michael Becker in 2014. IGE is governed by artists for benefit of the arts, artists, communities and societies worldwide. All IGE activities and programming are educational by design with revenue fully directed to philanthropic activities and programming.
Originally envisaged in 2011 as an international communitarian salon for a select group of friends, artists and master musicians, overwhelming interest for participation from artist and fan communities encouraged reevaluation and expansion. As IGE transitioned from salon to educational nonprofit, organizational and philanthropic structures were designed to maximize benefits for Musical Ambassadors, nonprofit partners, local communities and participants. Not only do IGE Immersions provide context for international musicians, artists, and supporters to dislocate from the mundane and rediscover inspiration, but Immersions benefit local partner nonprofits and artist communities through donations, grants, artist residencies and educational programming.
On conclusion of the prototype 2013 Venice Immersion, IGE orchestrated three successive Venice Immersions in 2015, 2016 and 2017. In October, 2018 IGE conducted the inaugural Barcelona Music and Art Immersion, and in October 2019 IGE conducted the inaugural Lisbon Music and Art Immersion.
We are proud to announce IGE’s upcoming Prague Immersion – October 1-10, 2021.
What is an IGE Music and Art Immersion?
Music and Art Immersions are IGE’s principal educational programs and the primary vehicle for our philanthropic activities. Immersion revenue provides the majority of funding for IGE. Immersions bring together North American Musical Ambassadors, European All-Stars and a range of participants who together form community while advancing the IGE mission.
IGE Immersions are seminal era defining musical moments, each a unique, essential event in musical history. Unlike any traditional music festival, intimate IGE Music and Art Immersions dissolve boundaries among superstar musicians and fans, performers and spectators, participants and environments. Participants experience multiple historic, one of a kind collaborations of curated supergroups as they day in and day out live, encounter art and create community with their favorite musical icons. Immersion concerts and jams integrate the finest of European improvisational players exclusively for the handful of participants and local charities.
Why are IGE Immersions 10 days and 9 nights?
Immersions are 10 days and 9 nights facilitating formation of a unique Immersive community. Of course, events are abroad, travel times are considerable and it takes a few days to adjust to time differences. Really, the longer period simply reflects our artistic vision and view of the minimum time necessary to form cohesive community. Given the long term work of so many supremely creative individuals, the broad range of remarkable venues and utterly unique experiences at hand, the philanthropic goals we set, and naturally the historic artist collectives of our favorite musicians, shorter events would neither permit the substantive creative arc nor serve the envisioned experience. We would much prefer to extend rather than shorten the Immersion!
What are IGE local partner charities and how does IGE select them?
As a nonprofit, IGE operates in collaboration with a broad range of local charities with compatible missions in each Immersion city. These essential relationships provide access to remarkable venues and insider experiences largely off limit to for profit organizations. Nonprofit partners join with IGE participants to form global community. Together, IGE and local partners make possible the Immersive experience.
What types of charitable activities does IGE engage in?
As an educational nonprofit, revenue funds IGE programming. The Immersion is the principal vehicle through which IGE promotes its mission and achieves it philanthropic goals.
Recent IGE partners and donation recipients:
Kaua’i, Hawai’i: Kaua’i Hospice
Venice, Italy: Conservatorio di Musica Benedetto Marcello di Venezia, Centro Culturale Don Orione Artigianelli, ACIT Venezia – Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello, Laboratorio Artisti Outsider Venezia, Artistic residencies for Italian master musicians
Barcelona, Spain: Street Child, Hospital de Sant Pau, a world heritage site, Reial Acadèmia de Ciències i Arts de Barcelona and MEAM, Museo Europeo de Arte Moderno. Two dozen artistic residencies for Spanish master musicians
Lisbon, Portugal: APCC – The Associação para a Promoção Cultural da Criança (Association for the Cultural Promotion of Children) is a national, non-governmental, non-profit Portuguese organization which develops leisure activities of a socio-cultural and educational nature for youths and children.
Other 2018 Donations: Hanalei Initiative, Earthjustice, Rex Foundation, Beautiful Lives Lost Portrait Project, AltruVistas
How does IGE engage with the local musician communities?
Multi-genre European All-Stars are carefully selected for participation in the artist collective. We term their participation Artistic Residencies for which they are compensated. Expect top tier performances from local and regional musicians. European All-Stars perform in their own bands and in concert with IGE Musical Ambassadors.
Matt Butler, Chief Event Orchestrator
Matt is founder and conductor of The Everyone Orchestra, a revolving cast of musicians who play festivals, concerts and special events around the world (www.EveryoneOrchestra.com). His unique improvisational conducting technique and collaborative platform are designed to span musical genres, build community and break the boundaries of how audiences and performers experience music.
Matt heads the teams that plan, design and produce IGE events and performs as a Musical Ambassador on drums and conducting. He lives with his wife and two teens in Portland, Oregon U.S.A.
IGE Board Members
Michael Becker, President
Michael Becker founded IGE in 2014 on retirement from nearly three decades of international teaching in Nepal, Japan, China, Switzerland, Ecuador and most recently, Portland, Oregon. Prior to teaching, Michael worked as a socially responsible investment broker, advertising account executive, and groundbreaking natural foods restaurateur.
Given lifelong love for travel, decades as an ex-patriot, and significant experience creating and implementing extraordinary international travel experiences for students and adults, Michael synthesized his expertise and various interests into the creation of an entirely unique public charity for benefit of musicians and artists, international arts nonprofits and local communities.
Multifaceted artist Scott Law is an accomplished guitar master, songwriter, vocalist and solo recording artist operating at the very highest level of his craft. A not so secret weapon sought after for his distinctive ability to elevate the potency of any stage collaboration, Law is a fearless improviser circulating with legendary Bluegrass, American Roots, Rock and Jamband luminaries including Phil Lesh (Grateful Dead), The String Cheese Incident, Peter Rowan, Darol Anger, The Travelin’ McCoury’s and many others. Scott’s original music and guitar style comes straight from the heart of psychedelic Americana, granting him the creative latitude to constantly push the envelope and help create singular, unforgettable musical experiences for audiences worldwide.
Californian singer-songwriter and band leader, Nicki Bluhm, has been a frequent Musical Ambassador through IGE’s earliest Venice and Barcelona Immersions. She brings her deep knowledge and experience as a world traveler and performer as IGE expands to Lisbon and beyond.
Louis brings 35 years worth of real estate transaction and philanthropic experience to the IGE board of directors. He work as a Managing Director of Berkadia Commercial Mortgage, a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway and Jefferies Financial Group. Berkadia operates a national platform for multifamily and commercial real estate finance and investment sales. Louis’s specific focus is on developing large volume, scalable programs to address affordability issues facing workforce rental housing in US cities. He has developed novel Impact Investment and ESG Funds for this purpose with Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, Microsoft Corp and other large institutions. He is also co-director of The Weisman Family Foundation (WFF) which was established in 1950 as a 501 c 3 family foundation. WFF financially supports specific mental and physical health problems by supporting medical research and treatments. Additionally WFF supports a wide range of music, arts and marine ecology causes.
Originally from New York he lives in Seattle with his wife Laurie. They both love live music and meeting new people, especially when travel to new places is involved. Kind of what IGE is all about.
Jay Blakesberg is a San Francisco-based photographer, filmmaker and public speaker whose work has appeard in numerous worldwide magazines including Rolling Stone, Guitar Player, Relix, Time, Vanity Fair, and countless others. He has photographed many legendary musical artists, including the Grateful Dead, B.B. King, Phish, Radiohead, Tom Petty, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, The Rolling Stones, Tom Waits, Neil Young and Carlos Santana to name just a few. His photography has been included in over 250 CD packages, been published thousands of times in books and magazines worldwide, and he has published fifteen coffee table books of his music photography.
Matt is a CPA, who has been working with the founder of IGE for over a decade. His background in compliance, combined with volunteer work on other board of directors provides him the experience to help assist IGE to achieve sustainable future growth. Matt is passionate about music and the artistry and community IGE are what really gets him excited about being involved.
Melissa brings her balanced, thoughtful approach, applying business and risk management acumen, derived from her career as an aerospace executive and her current role as director on the board of a large California-based credit union. She has a deep love of live music, and after participating in the Lisbon immersion was hooked, and wants to leverage her operational and strategic expertise to help IGE thrive and grow its mission into its exciting potential.
Adam Eaton has been a licensed attorney for over 30 years specializing in antitrust, securities litigation, and commercial disputes. He is currently a Senior Vice President at Visa Inc., with global responsibility for litigation and competition law matters. Adam is responsible for developing and executing Visa’s global and corporate legal strategy and coordination of legal disputes and regulatory matters across its international operating regions. Before joining Visa in 2004, Adam served as in-house senior litigation counsel for Comcast Cable, which he joined in 2000, after ten years in private practice focusing on complex commercial litigation and dispute resolution.
Adam was raised in Montana, where he met his wife Susi, and they now reside in Denver. They are both avid followers of live music and enjoy being a part of the communities that often arise around touring bands and festivals. Adam and Susi both enjoy traveling, drawn to places near and far by the music and artists they love.
IGE Advisory Board Members
Laura is a visual artist from the Pacific Northwest focusing on anthropomorphic three-dimensional works with a surrealist twist. Next to making art and seeking out random objects for future pieces she has a deep love for culture and has visited 17 countries, as well as taken numerous road trips throughout the United States. Since the earliest Venice Immersions, Laura has brought to IGE her passion for creativity, taste for adventure, and full range of skills gained from almost three decades of experience in the bar and hospitality industry.
Dr. Annie Robertson Ph.D
Dr Annie is a great lover of live music and can frequently be found (during non covid times) in the front rows of many concert venues grooving intensely. She is a native Oregonian living in Portland, OR where she has a private practice as a licensed psychologist. Her life mission is to help others come to their senses and live more in presence, bliss, and equanimity.
Kellie Raydon ND, MSOM
Dr. Kellie Raydon is passionate about sharing in live music experiences, travel and the immersive community created by IGE. She is also deeply devoted to being of service to her patients in her private practice in Portland, Oregon and abroad. She has been honored by Portland Monthly Magazine as one of Portland’s top doctors, and she believes that authentic health and wellness extend far beyond the clinic.
IGE European Advisory Board Members
Aaron Feder (originally from Chicago, but has been in Barcelona 12 years), is primarily a multi-instrumentalist and band leader, as well as a composer and producer.- he plays guitar, pedal steel, dobro, bass and sometimes banjo. Aaron enjoys playing virtually any style of music under the sun (and moon) as evidenced by his various projects: Alma Afrobeat Ensemble, an internationally touring modern Afrobeat band; Blueroomess, Americana roots music; False Flag, a post-Kraut rock psychedelic hip-hop improvisational group; Afrikemet, a high-life, soukous, Afro-pop band; The Burning Shore, a Grateful Dead based jam band; and his solo project, just called A.L.F. Oh, and he is part owner and partner in Slow Walk Music, a record label and booking agency. And he is a linguist, with graduate studies in Spanish linguistics. And a university professor. And a translator. And he can never pass up a good game of hoops if the level is high enough!