The Kate McGarrigle Foundation (KMF) is a 501(c) (3) public charity founded in 2012 by the friends and family of Kate McGarrigle, the legendary French Canadian singer/songwriter.
KMF is dedicated to preserving, continuing and building Kate’s artistic and philanthropic legacy. Towards the end of her life, Kate was dedicated to raising money for critical research to combat sarcoma – the rare and underfunded disease that killed her in 2010. The foundation aims to continue that work by producing concerts, recordings, films and other forms of artistic programs to raise money.
EVOLUTION OF THE FOUNDATION
In 2007, when Kate was first diagnosed with sarcoma, it became her mission to raise money for sarcoma research. She and a handful of friends founded The Kate McGarrigle Fund, placing it under the guidance and administration of the McGill University Health Center. (MUHC) Two physicians in Montreal, Dr. Roger Tabah and Dr. Gerry Batist were instrumental in treating Kate and prolonging her life. To honor them, Kate wanted to raise money for research in sarcoma and to have the grant recipients chosen by Dr. Tabah and Dr. Batist each year. The fund was created in 2007 and to capitalize it, Kate produced Christmas shows in New York and London. Through these concerts and the ones in Canada which the family has continued to produce since then, plus private donations, The Kate McGarrigle Fund in Canada has raised over 250CAD, which is slowly being distributed through grants given to scientists pursuing meaningful research to find a cure for sarcoma. We all felt strongly that money raised in Canada should stay in Canada.
Following Kate’s death, the family wanted to expand the fund raising efforts to America. After a successful partnership with the Sarcoma Foundation of America (SFA) for a couple of years after Kate’s death, raising enough money to fund two Kate McGarrigle Sarcoma Research Grants, we decided to begin our own foundation- The Kate McGarrigle Foundation. Based in America, this new foundation gives us more freedom to work specifically on Kate’s musical and artistic legacy while also giving grant money to our partners at the MUHC and the SFA. We continue to investigate other ways in which to help find a cure for Sarcoma. KMF is dedicated to preserving, continuing and building Kate’s artistic and philanthropic legacy.
When Kate died on Jan. 18, 2010, of clear cell carcinoma, she left behind an extended musical family and an extraordinary catalogue of songs. Perhaps her greatest legacy is her children, Rufus Wainwright and Martha Wainwright, who have taken up their mother’s cause and who work diligently to support the Kate McGarrigle Foundaton in America and the Kate McGarrigle Fund in Canada- giving of their time, their talent, and their love.
By increasing the awareness of the artist, Kate McGarrigle, her artistic achievements and the disease that took her life, the KMF seeks to find a home for her work and build on her legacy for future generations. Please feel free to contact KMF with any questions.
Kate McGarrigle, (February 6, 1946 – January 18, 2010) was a Canadian folk music singer-songwriter, who wrote and performed as a duo with her sister Anna McGarrigle. She is the mother of singers Rufus Wainwright and Martha Wainwright from her marriage to American singer-songwriter Loudon Wainwright III. They divorced in 1979.
Born in Montreal, Quebec to English and French Canadian parents, the three McGarrigle sisters (Jane, Anna, and Kate, the youngest) grew up in the village of Saint-Sauveur-des-Monts, north of Montreal. Their family was a musical one on both sides, often gathering around the piano and singing, allowing Kate and her sisters to absorb influences as varied as Gershwin, French Canadian folk songs, Stephen Foster, and composer-singers such as Wade Hemsworth, and Edith Piaf. The sisters were formally introduced to music by taking piano lessons from the village nuns.
In the 1960s Kate and Anna established themselves in Montreal’s burgeoning folk scene while they attended school. From 1963 to 1967, they teamed up with Jack Nissenson and Peter Weldon to form the folk group, the Mountain City Four. Anna, 14 months older than Kate, studied painting at the École des Beaux-Arts de Montréal (now part of the Université du Québec à Montréal) in Montreal; Kate studied engineering at McGill University.
It was at this time that they began writing songs. They released their self-titled debut album in 1975, which was chosen by Melody Maker as Best Record of the Year. This was followed by 10 more records, two of which were in French. According to Juan Rodriquez of the National Review, these French recordings “put Québécois folk music…on the global music map”.
The McGarrigles albums have won several Juno awards in Canada. In 1999 Kate and Anna received Women of Originality Awards and in 2006, a SOCAN Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2012, Kate and Anna had a Canadian postage stamp printed in their honor. Their life and their work are chronicled in Kate and Anna McGarrigle: Songs and Stories, written by Anna’s husband, writer Dane Lanken. Their songs have been recorded by many people, including Linda Ronstadt, Maria Muldaur and Emmylou Harris.