First Tech Credit Union Backs 2nd Blues Concert To Aid Katrina Victims

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Thanks in part to First Tech CU, Portland residents will have another "annual" blues festival in September plus help out with Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.

In response to the Gulf Coast disaster, officials at America's Second Harvest, one of the largest food donation agencies in the nation, contacted the blues festival sponsors to stage another concert on Sept. 25.

For six hours, Blues for Katrina-A Benefit for Gulf Coast Hurricane Relief, will rock the locals and collect funds for disaster victims.

"It was just natural for us to go forward with this, it's an extension of what we do," First Tech Marketing Director Deborah Reyes said. "I think attendance will be quite good."

Each Fourth of July weekend at the Waterfront Blues Festival, 25,000 music fans show up with food donations in hand and enter for free. This time, admission will be charged for a one-day concert instead of the usual four. Reyes said First Tech usually spends $40,000 for the four-day festival, with the Sept. 25 show costing $10,000.

Grammy Award nominee Irma Thomas will headline the show, a special touch as she is known in the Big Easy as the "Soul Queen of New Orleans."

Reyes said First Tech CU and other Portland sponsors are absorbing all costs of the concert. Every cent of the $15 admission is already earmarked for hurricane relief or the Oregon Food Bank, she said.

In addition to sponsoring the blues festival, Reyes said First Tech CU members and employees donated $136,000 in only 10 days. First Tech matched the first $100,000, reaching $235,000 organized by the credit union and its members. Reyes said 98% of the donations had been taken on the First Tech CU website. According to the 2004 annual report, First Tech Credit Union has 134,000 members and $1.4 billion in assets.

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