Students in the Broad College of Business information technology project management course, ITM 444, have applied their skills to launch a nonprofit startup organization that helps the local community in numerous ways. Their business, We Sing For Food, works to aid area musicians in gaining visibility while raising money for the Greater Lansing Food Bank. Following its “donate a dollar, download a song” motto, We Sing For Food allows individuals to download original songs provided by Michigan artists in exchange for a dollar, which is donated directly to the food bank.
Although one dollar may not seem to go very far these days, with every song downloaded, the Greater Lansing Food Bank receives sufficient funds to purchase seven pounds of food—that’s enough to feed a family of four a complete meal. According to the food bank, 24 percent of its recipients report having to choose between buying food and paying for utilities. At a time when many in the state are still underemployed, this additional support is both in high demand and incredibly appreciated.
The idea behind We Sing For Food was imagined by accounting and information systems professor Brian Pentland. A musician himself, Pentland was inspired to help local artists get their work out there for others to enjoy and to raise money for a great cause. Earlier in the semester, he approached the information technology project management class for assistance in making his plan a reality.
Seniors Ron Brown, Courtney Houldsworth, and Ryan Miceli jumped on board, designing and implementing the concept. Now that they have launched the startup, Brown is responsible for art and planning, Houldsworth takes care of social media and marketing, and Miceli handles the music coordination and communication.
Since going live on March 22, the group has already produced two albums featuring songs from 13 separate artists. As more artists join the cause, additional compilation albums will be added to the releases. The music is available for download for $1 a song or $7 an album through We Sing For Food’s website at wesingforfood.bandcamp.com.