Layer by layer, fans of Dead & Company are learning more about John Mayer. On Sunday, they’ll get a first-hand look at his philanthropic side.
The Veterans Health and Integration Program, (VHIP) a non-profit collaborative with Bay Area leaders in veterans health, was founded by John Mayer in 2011. They'll be at Dead & Company’s concert at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, CA on June 4th in the “Participation Row” social action village. They'll be set up along side the Grateful Dead’s original charitable arm the Rex Foundation, as well as HeadCount and REVERB.
A collaborative project with NCIRE (a research institute) and The Presidio Trust (a famous former Army installation which has become a unique national park), VHIP works with NCIRE on deep scientific research to develop new ways to address the health problems associated with military service. With the Presidio, VHIP focuses on working directly with veterans, and connecting the civilian community with veteran experiences and service.
According to Gerard Choucroun, who runs the initiative, VHIP keys in on veterans issues in some very unique ways, all driven by John Mayer’s personal interest and generosity.
For example, VHIP allows scientists to focus more closely on the physical and psychological impact of combat on female soldiers– a new and critical area of research. “John and his fans have funded very serious and necessary work for women vets. As of 2013, they have a big new role in the military - and as a care community, we have a ton of catch-up work to do to be able to provide the correct services for them. The support has been well-timed and consequential” says Choucroun.
VHIP’s biggest success to date has been developing an exercise protocol specifically designed for military service members with PTSD, creating low-risk, non-pharmacological treatment for combat-related stress. The results have been highly promising, and the project recently received over a million dollars from the VA for more study and rollout.
Choucroun said John Mayer never seeks publicity about his philanthropy but is extremely personally involved with VHIP, having funded scientific research that never would have existed without his support.
He noted that Mayer did not come from a military family himself, but veterans issues have always resonated with the guitarist.
“John is a really erudite guy,” Choucroun said. "He relates well with veterans, and got interested in the mechanics of post-traumatic stress, the gaps in care for women veterans, and the overall culture of the military community.“
“There are much faster ways to get attention and public credit for supporting veterans. But John works on complicated projects that require patience and time. We are incredibly lucky to have that type of support. It’s atypical.”
At Participation Row on Sunday, VHIP will have a booth where Deadheads can create a mosaic of messages to veterans. Anyone who adds to the mosaic - and takes action with two other non-profits - will receive a free limited-edition Dead & Company pin from Participation Row sponsor Clean Energy Advisors. They’ll also be entered into a drawing for a D’Angelico custom guitar signed by each member of the band.
In addition, VHIP will also receive a share of proceeds from the a charity auction featuring a one-of-a-kind signed guitar commemorating this weekend’s concerts at Shoreline.