Saturday, December 26, 2009

An Idea For Drum Circles, Drum Makers, and Us too ...

I just scared myself.  I took a short nap and had a dream about how we can fund this event, save the poor of the world through MIcrofinance, provide funding for drum circles everywhere, promote drums, drumming, and drum manufacturers, and make money for everyone!  ... I know, that's why I'm scared.  Space aliens may have invaded my mind while I was snoring ... I've been told that happens by several wives.

So, how does this work exactly, ... well I'm not sure exactly but here's the idea.  Maybe some smart person out there will have another dream  and all the dots will connect.   As you may recall we plan to fund the Kenya/Washington leg of the drum circle with sponsor grants from.

Target Sponsor List

  1. Drum Manufacturers
  2. Music Equipment Manufactures
  3. Socially Responsible Corporations
  4. Microfinance Funders and Investors
However, our plan for raising the $5 Million dollar Micro Enterprise fund will come from proceeds of a planned on-line, video telethon ... tied to the opening of the Africa/Middle East Regional Micro Credit Summit to he held in Nairobi, Kenya April 7-10, 2010.  This is where we plan to have drummers in Nairobi actually play in real-time with drummers in Washington DC.  The technical and logistical funding of the linked drum circles will come from sponsors but the actual fund development will come from people everywhere!  This is a decent idea, but ... we have to prove it will actually work.  We just started the day before Christmas and issued our first formal Press Release.

In addition to this Intercontinental Drum Circle our prospective plan calls for the creation of an annual day for the event.  To be called:  Global Drum Out Poverty Day.   In association with our select sponsor (a drum manufacturer) we will solicit existing and prospective drum circles around the world.  We will start with the existing groups.  Remember we are doing this to raise funds AND to raise the level of Global awareness of both Micro Credit and Microfinance.  We will offer them a partnership.  The business details, contracts, laws, etc will have to be worked out.  This assumes that it can be done on some reasonable basis (one hopes)  We (our drum mfg. partner and us) will offer this deal:

This Part Came After the Dream
  • We sign an agreement with our prospective drum circle partners (essentially a franchise)
  • We send them a promotional package (hats, banners, tshirts, some drums, a how to video and Public Information spots for print and electronic local media)
  • We promote "The Global Drum Out Poverty Day."
  • The event focus is:  Sponsor a Drummer for an hour, for "n" amount of local currency
  • Also, a donation to the drum circle is collected during the performance.
    • We seek an 8 hour commitment from each drum circle 
    • 1 hour for each of the 8 million who die every year because of poverty.
  • They pay for the promotional package (perhaps out of proceeds)
  • They pay a percentage of funds raised to us as franchisor
  • We do this every year.
This should result in a win/win/win/win/ for all parties.  The drum circles will have an annual source of revenue, local visibility as a socially responsible organization, the drum manufactures will get a big promotional advantage, a self liquidating program the could actually make them money, the poor will get more opportunity for sustainable businesses, and we all will get additional revenue to operate our social mission organization.

Now, I'd like to hear from Product Marketing Managers ... Business Development Managers, NGO Executives, Microfinance Funding Organizations ... Anyone who can make suggestions and/or critique this.  I don't care about my ideas, but I do care that this works ... there are far too many poor perople out there ... as Ghandi said "... poverty is the worst possible form of violence."

In another post I will explain how I see the money being handled so the distribution of funds will be fair, open, and transparent to all.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ready, Aim, Fire!

For the last few months we have been wrestling with this event.  Talking to friends and bouncing the idea around in brainstorming sessions, arguing about names, funding strategies, staffing and organization schemes.   We have filled in many of the blanks but am we really ready to launch this ... officially?  we now (finally) have an approved press release.  we have a director/producer,  a financial manager, we have a funding strategy of sorts, but no fund raiser, or development officer.  Most importantly at this point, we have no money.  The state of the economy is worrisome and in a preliminary discussion with my targeted prime sponsor candidate, I have project enthusiasm, but little sense of economic depth!  (encouraging, but not inspiring)

We really are not in such bad shape actually.  We have a decent logo designed by a reputable artist, the support of long-term friends who give of their time and creativity.   A complete professional website and a committed competent PR and Social Media company willing to work speculatively.  We have alliance partners with excellent reputations and credentials who have linked formally with us.  The Global Micro Credit Summit Campaign of Sam Daley Harris and his Results Inc. are behind the Promotion as they are the principal focus from a promotional perspective.  

Now it is time to issue the Media/Press Release!  After all this time and anxiety, it is time to pull the trigger.  We are planning a full blown press conference here in Washington, DC.  Our first priority as a site is LaFayette Park.  It is right accross from the White House and we would not consider it normally, except that one of our friends knows the people in charge there.  The plan is to hold a short announcement and also conduct a drum circle there in association with our prime sponsor.  We would invite the Kenyan Ambassador, State Department Officials, World Bank and others to attend (and hope we might pick up some White House staffers on their lunch breaks)  we will then retire to The National Press Club just up the street for a more expansive briefing and reception.  It will be grand if we can pull it off.  We're anticipating that we will secure a sponsor for the event itself and use it to leverage national press coverage.

Will it work?  Can we actually pull this off?  Stay tuned ... we'll soon know the answer to that one anyway.  The Summit Conference is on April 7, 2010 ... 108 days, but ... who's counting? 

Thursday, December 17, 2009

So Far, So Good

Actually, I got this idea as a result of trying to find funding for our project to train small businesses in developing countries like Africa, The Philippines, The Middle East, etc.  Our development strategy is unique and innovative (go to: so, the established funders like The World Bank and US AID, or even the Gates foundation or, the Clinton Global Initiative will not deal with us.  After over one year of applying and trying for grants and working to generate interest in our strategy, we decided, or I decided to try this approach.  As I've said before, I'm an organizational psychologist, I have lots of related experience, I was a director at Sylvan Learning and worked all over the world.  I decided to go for it.  I made the decision to raise the money for a Small Business Development fund myself.

Having been a musician and having played in hundreds of concerts, dealt with set up and the business side I have some experience.  I am also a fairly knowledgeable media savy person.  The drumming idea came from playing in a Jefferson Airplane reunion concert in Astoria, Oregon in 2008.  I met the concert producer and he seemed a really social mission kind of person ... so as a writer, I wrote a concept paper to describe what I had in mind.  I sent it to him and he liked it.  That's really how we got going here.

In today's world of virtual reality one needs to have a virtual presence.  Back in the day, it was the office location, the brochure, and the business cards that set you identity in commercial space.  Today all that has changed.  It is the Website that defines one's commercial persona.  Today, virtually anyone can do a website.  Just like with today's graphic tools anyone can produce graphics.  Anyone can produce a power point presentation.  However just because you can do it does not mean you should do it.

Professional graphics design is immediately obvious to most people.  Why?  Because we watch the most expensive examples of the best of the best on televison every day.  We may not all be scholars, but we are all very, very, visually sophisticated.    Some advice I got the hard way.  Don't do a website by yourself.  Get a professional.  It's expensive but it is definately worth it.  The website defines who you are.  Who you work with and even how much you know about your business and your customers.  (see our first draft website at:

I decided that the first thing was to get a decent web presence and to make certain I had the credibility to bring this ambitious project to the marketplace.   Luck and timing then intervened.  I was chatting with a friend who told me he had just left his job as a web strategy developer to take care of his infant son.  This was too good to be true.  Next, I contacted the most influential person I knew in the sector, Sam Daley-Harris.  He's the founder of The Global Micro Credit Summit, an annual conference of the Microfinance sector and certainly the most prestigious.  I did this because I knew that Sam, before he became a social activist, was a classically trained percussionist and musician.  I came up with the drumming idea because of the rise in visibility of the Drum Circle and because I participate in an ongoing drum circle held in Malcomb X (formerly Meridian) park in Washington DC.  That's how the Drumming An End To Poverty idea came about.

Sam was skeptical.  I suspect partly because of his training as a percussionist never placed the drum in a position of prominence.  I knew differently.  I have seen people literally transformed by playing drums, many of them never played before.    The feeling of being linked by rhthmn to every other person in that group, no matter the social status, no matter the economic gap, nothing matters execept one's humanity and the primal beat of the drum.

Timing again is everything.  Sam's next conference was to be in Nairobi, Kenya in April of 2010 the conference is officially The Africa/Middle East Regional Micro Credit Summit.   So, I pitched the idea to him.  He was a bit less than enthusiastic, but he seemed open.  He had a lot of questions, but then, so did I.   I had absolutely no clue as to how I was going to pull this off.  No clue and no money.  I was off to a roaring start.  Imagine the hubris.  We spent all our money creating the program and model for investing in micro enterprises, our funders failed to deliver, we were three months from no mortgage payments, not to mention, insurance, cars etc.  Here we were ready to engage in a global media event.  Well we still are a ways off, but every day we get closer.  Every day someone comes to us with an idea. Now if someone would only come with some money.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What This is All About ...

My name is Jerry Peloquin and yes, I'm a drummer.  I'm also the wack job behind this grand scheme to run simultaneous, linked, interactive drum circles in cities all around the world. The drummers in all cities will be able to play together.  People at home will be able to play as well.   I'm going to do this on April 7th.  This blog is about who, how, and why I'm doing this.  If you want to see how all this turns out ... read along but bring your sneakers as I expect the going will get rough at some points along the way.

Although it's true that most drummers today are poor (not all, just most) that's not what this blog is really about.  It's about how and why I'm planning to run a trans global drum circle between Africa and Washington, DC. and maybe Bangalore, India, Japan, etc, etc .. and in as many cities as I can manage to organize.  A little about who I am might inform you as to my particular brand of insanity, or hubris, or audacity, whatever!

Back in the day before the day, I was a drummer.  I played with a number of rock bands in the early sixties and on to the early seventies.  Someone once said that "If you remember the sixties, you weren't there."  Those were the days, sex, drugs, and rock'n roll and no serious STD's either.  I ended up in San Francisco in 1963.  I became a founding member of the now legendary  Jefferson Airplane,  If you want to know more about that one, go google me.  It's all there.  I also played a with Nina Simone, Jose Feliciano, The Paul Winter Consort, The New York Electric String Ensemble, Wings ... ...I finally quit  got married (another story for another blog) and went back to school became an Organizational Psychologist.  I worked in many places around the world before landing back here In Washington, DC.  I got here in the middle of the Bush Jr. Presidency and witnessed 9/11 from my home in Columbia, MD.  At that time I was a consultant for The Agency for International Development (US AID)  I worked for the Global Health Bureau and we ran 500 womens reproductive health centers globally.

That's where I learned what poverty really means.  I'm not going to fill this blog with the horror of poverty ... we've all seen the terrible pictures of starving children.  You know all about that.  Let me just say that poverty really, really sucks!   Two quotes and I won't really mention it again.  Why?  Because I'm in a position to actually DO SOMETHING about it.  Quote One:  Jeffrey Sachs, PhD I'm paraphrasing here .. every year 8 Million people die simply because thay cannot afford to stay alive.  The second is by the great Mahatma Ghandi.  "Poverty is the worst possible form of violence."

This blog will chronicle my uphill and hopefully successful effort to create a global event to drum up attention to the fact that we can now, for the first time in human history really take a crack at ending abjject structural poverty.  The tools are Microfinance, Micro Credit, and Micro Venture.  another blog will explain those in detail to those who want to know more.  This one is about my attempt to sart with nothing!  No money, no real organization, and no real knowledge of the playing field and create a team and organization that will run a global media event to raise $5 Million dollars every year.  Don't believe me?  Well, read this blog and we'll both find out together.