From the Beginning:

The Grateful Dead was always known for generosity and the performance of numerous benefits. In the fall of 1983, the Rex Foundation was established as a non-profit charitable organization by members of the Grateful Dead and friends to further this tradition. The Rex Foundation enabled the Grateful Dead to go beyond responding to multiple requests for contributions, and proactively provide extensive community support to creative endeavors in the arts, sciences, and education. The first benefit concerts for the Rex Foundation were held in the spring of 1984 at the Marin Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium. Since 1984 the Rex Foundation has granted $8.9 million to over 1,200 recipients.

Changes Since 1995:

With the death of Grateful Dead lead guitarist Jerry Garcia in 1995, the Rex Foundation lost a friend and board member. With the cessation of Grateful Dead touring, Rex lost its main source of funding, and until now has limited its grant making to three annual awards. Current board members have reaffirmed the importance of the Rex Foundation and their desire to have the foundation once again carry out its mission in full force. (Please see Archives to check out all of the activities that have supported our renewal.)

The Rex Foundation Mission:

The Rex Foundation aims to help secure a healthy environment, promote individuality in the arts, provide support to critical and necessary social services, assist others less fortunate than ourselves, protect the rights of indigenous people and ensure their cultural survival, build a stronger community, and educate children and adults everywhere.

Moving Forward:

Continuing to embody the spirit of generosity and concern that evolved in the culture surrounding Grateful Dead concerts, the Rex Foundation is on a new path that seeks to include and engage many people. With activities that honor the spirit of community, service and creativity, Rex is building the funding necessary to carry out our mission. Thanks to the resounding response of so many generous supporters, since December 2001 we have granted over $1.5 to 300 programs, across the United States and internationally. We plan to multiply our grant making each year so that we can once again support many grassroots programs across the United States and beyond that might otherwise be overlooked by mainstream funders, yet work in innovative and bold ways to bring about helpful solutions to challenging situations. Please visit Fostering the Power of Community, Service and the Arts to see how Rex views its work in relation to social change.

Guiding Principles and Values:

  • We respect traditional wisdom cultures.
  • We respect individual rights and differences.
  • We are willing to take risks and trust people.
  • We help people who are helping others and are trying to make a difference.
  • We help people develop bold new solutions to problems.
  • We benefit the broader community and the broader good.
  • We practice inclusiveness and open-mindedness.
  • We support organizations committed to grassroots action.
  • We seek to identify entities doing good work that might otherwise be overlooked.
  • Our support helps beyond direct funding by boosting the visibility of the recipient’s work.
  • We want to be a catalytic agent of change, where our involvement helps leverage greater impact.
  • We are non-partisan.
  • We promote an active, informed citizenry.
  • The Foundation is an efficient conduit for supporting the community.
  • Being part of the Rex Foundation is enjoyable.
  • We carry on the best of the spirit of the ’60s to create a more harmonious world.

Help Support Rex:

We encourage your tax-deductible donations to help support Rex’s work. We are also pleased to keep you up to date on upcoming benefit concerts and other activities that support Rex. Thank you for considering a gift to Rex and letting us know how you would like to stay connected. Please join our mailing list and make a donation.

How It Works:

The Rex Foundation has no paid board members. Virtually all of our grant recipients are selected through the personal knowledge of our decision makers – as a result, grant requests are not solicited. We have no application forms and no published guidelines. Grants are made once or twice a year, and our report is published annually.

The Rex Foundation is named after Rex Jackson, a Grateful Dead roadie and later road manager until his untimely death in 1976.