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Newsmaker 2013

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Richmond singer/songwriter extraordinaire Susan Greenbaum

By Martha Steger                                                                                               

As professional communicators, we’re storytellers.  That’s true of singers/songwriters, too.  Virginia Press Women’s Awards Committee is pleased to announce singer/songwriter Susan Greenbaum as the 2013 Newsmaker to be honored at our fall conference on Sept. 21 at The Westwood Club in Richmond.

As Linda Evans demonstrated in her justification for Greenbaum’s recognition, the singer/songwriter’s “devotion to many worthy causes to which she contributes time, talent and sweat equity” has made news in Richmond-area media during the past year – and for several years.  “I’m not talking about publicity generated through weekly calendar notices,” Evans said regarding Greenbaum’s performances.  “News stories have covered her commitment to helping others, but much of what she does never reaches the printed page.”

Among the many beneficiaries of her talents is The Positive Vibe Café, a nonprofit restaurant that provides a training program for people with disabilities to help them learn skills for gaining employment in the food-service industry. Greenbaum performs free of charge many times a year at the restaurant and has been involved for many years with the café’s annual VibeFest fundraiser, the past three years serving as “MC” as well as performer. This year she helped organize the first Coaches Cook-off fundraiser for the café that pitted VCU’s Shaka Smart against UR’s Chris Mooney in a cooking contest.

Greenbaum has been closely involved with the nonprofit organization SPARC (School of the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community) and performed with students, many of them with disabilities, in the school’s first Live Art production last June. The school serves students ages 3 – 18 to help them reach their full potential through quality training in the performing arts.

She has also performed free of charge in recent years to raise funds for Caritas Celebrity Serve, Hanover Mental Health Association, Special Olympics, Goochland Free Clinic and Freedom House. Her ability as a writer is evident in the many songs she has written through the years – enough to fill nearly five CDs. Compass Records recently signed her for a CD recorded in Nashville that is receiving airplay throughout the country. 

After Toots (of Toots & The Maytals) was recently injured by a thrown liquor bottle while performing in Richmond, Greenbaum helped organize an effort to send him a huge banner with good wishes from the people of Richmond. She paid for half the banner and took it to events for people to sign. In the  clip from NBC affiliate WWBT-TV12, she talks about what a great city Richmond is and that this one incident is not representative of Richmonders: http://www.nbc12.com/story/22540488/local-musicians-rally-for-toots

VPW members can look forward to hearing from Susan Greenbaum at our fall conference.

I thank VPW members Frances Broaddus-Crutchfield and Olympia Meola for serving with me on the Awards Committeeand also the VPW members who nominated the other, very good candidates for Newsmaker 2013.