Next Year Starts Now

As we begin the holiday season, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on the previous year and chat about the future. As Langston Hughes said, “I have discovered in life that there are ways of getting almost anywhere you want to go, if you really want to go.” Similarly, we have been thinking about our organization and getting serious about where we want to go in 2018 - our fifth year!

#GivingTuesday Starts Our Annual Fund

To start, we have joined #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide. Between November 28 and December 31, we aim to raise $1500 for our Annual Fund. In the past, we have only had a couple of fundraisers, but never established an annual fund. However, we’re excited to announce that The Listening is an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit, with a board of directors, numerous volunteers, and an exciting list of upcoming community events projects!

As an organization, we have officially moved from a big idea to a powerful, community-based movement. Many of you have been a part of this growth and process, and we look forward to your continued support! This year, the Annual Fund will be distributed among the following initiatives:

  • Developing our core mentoring program
  • Managing events and securing event venues
  • Sponsoring a local, young artist for our annual Artist-As-Citizen Youth Award
  • Bringing travelling artists to our local stage
  • Starting a Freedom School in Lynchburg

Looking Back

In 2017, we moved quickly from project to project and event to event. Each initiative impacted our community in different ways. Some were highly visible, such as Spencer’s Vanguard and open mic events. Others were as simple as group dinners or guest blog series where we discussed current events and social issues. Below are some examples from the past calendar year.


Artist-As-Citizen Youth Award

We were honored to sponsor our first Artist-As-Citizen Youth Award in 2017. As our winner, Germal "Sync" Morgan represented our community at the Artist-as-Citizen Conference. The event was sponsored by Artists Striving to End Poverty and brought together young people from all over the country to spends six days on Julliard's campus to focus on artistic excellence, entrepreneurship, and social impact.


Community Events

In 2017, we joined together for 3 movie screenings, 5 open mic nights and 8 special events. Each gathering grew out of the cravings of local artists to join together and impact our city.

  • Jan 20- What Happened, Miss Simone? Screening
  • Feb 11- The Stripped Sessions: Vol 1
  • March 9- The Listening: Revolution
  • April 15- The Stripped Sessions: Vol 2
  • May 19- The Listening: Connected
  • June 16- Movie Screening: “Amy”
  • July 6- The Listening: Dear America
  • July 21- Remembering Chester of Linkin Park
  • Sept 22- The Listening: Sanctuary
  • Oct 7- 2017 Lynchburg Out of the Darkness Walk
  • Oct 15- The Listening: Full Disclosure
  • Oct 27- Give the Drummer Some
  • Oct 28- Spencer’s Vanguard: A Journey in Identity
  • Dec 8- Puerto Rico Benefit Show

Dear America Guest Blogger Series

After experiencing the sweeping social unrest of the past few years, we processed the changes as a community through a workshop, open mic session and series of guest blog posts. Those reflections shine on through the series of posts below.

Next Year Starts Now

In the midst of holiday hustle and bustle, we would like to pause and plan for next year.  Starting today, on November 28, The Listening kicks off our goal to raise $1500 by the end of this year. We hope you’ll join us next year by supporting our cause and campaign. Stay in touch with us by following our Facebook page and attending our events during the next year. There are a few options to give, just check out the links below!