The Buddy Holly Educational Foundation (TBHEF) has announced that public relations, sports and entertainment industry leader Rick French of French/West/Vaughan and BMG music publishing executive David Hirshland have been named to the board of directors of the Dallas, Texas-based non-profit. Maria Elena Holly, widow of Buddy Holly and Foundation co-founder, issued a statement confirming the two new board seats.
“We are thrilled to have Rick and David bring their considerable talents and expertise to The Buddy Holly Educational Foundation,” said Holly. “I’m looking forward to working closely with both to advance our goal of inspiring teachers and students through Buddy’s music, compassion and legacy.”
The mission of the Foundation is to honor Buddy Holly’s ground-breaking music as well as to support his dream to extend musical education—including songwriting, production, arranging, orchestration, and performance—to future generations regardless of income, ethnicity or learning levels. The Foundation raises funds to encourage young people to learn how music can change their lives, while enabling schools to provide educational materials, and at the same time advocating for the inclusion of musical study in teaching.
Foundation ambassadors who have participated in TBHEF programs include Bob Dylan, Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian May, Don and Phil Everly, Dion, Dave Stewart, Graham Nash, Elvis Costello and many others. It partners with Squeeze co-founders Chris Difford and Glenn Tillbrook to host twice-annual songwriting retreats in the U.S. and U.K. for young songwriters and inner-city youth, and hosts an annual singer/songwriter showcase during the SXSW Music Festival in Austin.
French is the founder, Chairman and CEO of Raleigh, N.C.-based integrated marketing firm French/West/Vaughan. He is a national trustee of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame + Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, and is the newly appointed chairman of the Advisory Committee of Teen Cancer America, the L.A.-based national non-profit founded by rock icons Daltrey and Townsend of The Who. His sports and entertainment endeavors include co-ownership of the Daytona Tortugas professional baseball franchise, the Advanced A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds; and his role as executive producer/producer on feature films, including The True Don Quixote starring Tim Blake Nelson and Not Without Hope, based on the best-selling novel by Nick Schuyler.
“To be selected to join The Buddy Holly Educational Foundation board is an honor as well as an important opportunity to help further a very worthwhile cause in his memory,” said French. “Buddy has inspired an entire generation of artists to express themselves through music, and I’m very proud to contribute to the efforts of the Foundation to keep his legacy alive for generations to come.”
Also serving on the board with French, Hirshland and Maria Elena Holly is noted philanthropist Peter Bradley, Sr., board chairman and co-founder of the Foundation; his son, North Yorkshire-based business and music executive Peter Bradley, Jr.; Laurent Hubert, president/chief revenue officer, Kobalt Music Group; and Austin, Texas and Washington, D.C.-based entertainment attorney Stephen Easley, who serves as general counsel to the Foundation.