Sheryl Crow Donates Gift to Scholarship Fund at Kennett Area Higher Education Center

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., March 11, 2005ᾰSheryl Crow, a Kennett, Mo., native turned songwriter, guitarist and celebrity vocalist, recently received a significant donation from Lee and Elizabeth Ainslie of New York City, N.Y.  Mr. Ainslie, Managing Partner of Maverick Capital, Ltd., made the donation in honor of Crow at a private concert.

Crow demonstrated her generosity and commitment to her home region by giving the entire donation to the Sheryl Crow Kennett #39 Education Scholarship.  The scholarship, which is based on financial need, is for students who attend the Kennett Area Higher Education Center (KAHEC) and is an endowed scholarship through the Southeast Missouri University Foundation.  It covers all incidental fees for a one semester class.  Students applying for the scholarship can be part time or full time, and must re-apply at the end of each semester.  The first scholarship was awarded in spring 2001.  Now in its fifth year, 63 individuals associated with the Kennett Public School system have received the scholarship.

“Sheryl is a great friend of KAHEC, and a positive inspiration for the students,” said Marsha Blanchard, director of KAHEC.  “Sheryl has proven that dreams can come true as long as you have the strength and determination to go after them.”

This was not the first time Crow demonstrated her generosity to education.  In fall 2003, Crow attended a private reception, and was the guest speaker at a largely attended annual fund-raising banquet. All the proceeds from both events benefited furnishings for the KAHEC building.

In December 2001, Crow performed an unplugged benefit concert at Southeast Missouri State University, with the proceeds going towards her endowed scholarship for students enrolled in the School of Visual and Performing Arts at Southeast and KAHEC.  During that same month, Southeast Missouri State University awarded her an honorary doctoral degree. Crow also performed a benefit concert in December 2000 at Southeast to support the same cause.

Crow has performed concerts in her Native Kennett to benefit students at KAHEC.  In September 1999, Crow performed a benefit concert at the American Legion Hall, with more than $25,000 in proceeds going to the Kennett Education Foundation.  Those dollars provided scholarships for students attending the Kennett Area Higher Education Center, and created the Sheryl Crow Kennett Area Higher Education Center Scholarship endowment.  In 1997, she performed a concert at the high school football stadium, with those proceeds also benefiting the Kennett Education Foundation and for scholarships for two other local civic organizations.

Crow is the daughter of Wendell and Bernice Crow of Kennett.  She learned to play the piano by age six and wrote her first song at age 13. 

She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia, with majors in music composition, performance and education.

She worked as an elementary school music teacher for children with special needs.  At the age of 23, Crow moved to Los Angeles, determined to be a professional musician, armed with a few thousand dollars in savings, a classical music degree and experience singing with a college band.  Her savings were soon depleted, but she found work as a backup singer for such talents as Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Rod Stewart and Michael Jackson, earning respect and opportunities in the music world.  During the 1980s, she continued to write songs, some of which were recorded by other famous musicians.  Her own debut recording, “Tuesday Night Music Club,” released in 1993, displayed her gift of catchy lyrics and non-aggressive rock sound, and by 1995 had been certified as a 5x platinum LP.  Crow had become a star.

Since that time, songs by Crow have made the Top 10 lists, and she has received the top accolade in her profession, the Grammy Award, numerous times, beginning in 1995 with the Grammies for “Record of the Year,” “Best Pop Vocal Performance-Female” and “Best New Artist.”  She also has won a Grammy for her “Best Rock Album,” and in February 2002, she won her latest Grammy for “Best Rock Vocal Performance-Female,” her third in that category.  She has also won the Gibson Guitar Award as the Best Acoustic Guitarist-Female (2000).  Crow’s latest album is set to be released in early summer this year.

In the past, Crow, along with recording artist Nanci Griffith, has supported the work of the Campaign for a Landmine-Free World, touring Vietnamese and Cambodian rehabilitation clinics, raising funds to curb the effects of landmines in the Third World and to provide rehabilitation services and artificial limbs for the victims of these explosive devices.