The Story Behind the Foundation
The Better Than Ezra Foundation story starts with the band itself. The talented and accomplished trio of Kevin Griffin, Tom Drummond and Travis McNabb are the driving force behind this nationally renowned recording group, Better Than Ezra. Their passion for the music they provide is equally exemplified in the drive they have for giving back to the community they love and call home, New Orleans, Louisiana. The combination of their talents and passion has led to the creation of the Better Than Ezra Foundation, whereby the group annually brings together the power of music along with the power of community.
It was in the fall of 2000 when Better Than Ezra created what is now an annual golf fundraiser, the Ezra Open. That year, the event provided thousands of dollars towards the Louisiana Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society. The Ezra Open was an eye-opening event that would prove to be the launching pad for the band’s community efforts that have since resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars being raised in the past eight years.
Following five successful years surrounding the Ezra Open, Better Than Ezra was forced to cancel the 2005 efforts because of a tragedy that would change the lives of everyone in New Orleans and the surrounding areas. The catastrophic events of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita would alter the lives of so many people but would reinvigorate this talented trio’s focus on where they could have an immediate and lasting impact. The 2005 Ezra Open was put on hold, however, the band met with foundation board members Bob Kennedy and Michael Whelan in early 2006 to plan an event that would bring their philanthropic efforts to a new level. It would not only feature the Ezra Open but would also combine a patron party, silent auction and full live performance by the band and their invited musical guests. The outcome of that planning would demonstrate once again the talent and drive of Better Than Ezra. One of the band’s proudest achievements, the House that Ezra Built, was established. It would strike at the core of what was needed most at this time in New Orleans, getting people back in their homes. Following the directive of their mission statement, Better Than Ezra would instruct its foundation to assist in rebuilding the homes of local first responders who would also find themselves tragically homeless after the storm.
Proceeds from the 2006 event would net a stunning $185,000 towards the House that Ezra Built. It is here, where we are today, stronger than ever, that the BTE Foundation will continue to grow it’s annual fundraising capabilities and fulfill our mission to provide support in renewal of the structural and cultural heritage of New Orleans and Southern Louisiana.