I am humbled to present The Marigold Project, a foundation to address issues of racial, social and economic justice.
The Marigold Project is my way of doing something about problems I see when I’m on the road and at home in Denver. I hope you will join me in this journey, and we’ll find solutions together.
My dad and I planted marigolds as ground cover. Marigolds do their fair share in feeding nectar to beneficial insects. They keep pests away, they taste good and they bloom like crazy. I think it’s a great metaphor for the work that I want to support, while getting all of you involved too.
We see ourselves as community members and neighbors. We have to figure out how to come together again, based in truth, understanding our history and peoples’ lived experiences.
I am humbled by the amount of work ahead of us. But I have hope, because I know how much I have learned in such a short amount of time.
It’s powerful to admit you don’t know something. That’s one of the things I love about traveling and meeting new people all the time. We all seem to have pieces of a larger puzzle and we can connect those pieces to lift each other up.
I ask you to hold me accountable, and I commit to continue learning and growing in this role. We are grateful to have our partners on the ground who lead us, showing us how to get at root causes of issues rather than putting a band-aid on the end results. I understand that this is lifetime work. It is also life-affirming work.
There is a crack in the door right now, and it’s on us to push as hard as we can, for as long as we must. I look forward to doing this work with you.
Nathaniel grew up in Hermann, Missouri. He is a singer and songwriter based in Denver, Colorado. Like his heroes, Rateliff has always been an omnivorous listener and player. Growing up in Hermann, a small town with a booming tourism industry as well as a rampant meth epidemic, he started his music career playing in his family’s band at church, but that came to a tragic end when his father was killed in a car accident. Music became an obsession for him and his friends. Nathaniel understood the power of music to change the world, and to change his world in particular. In 1998, he moved to Denver where he worked nightshifts at a bottle factory and a trucking company while testing songs out at open-mic nights.
A sense of fairness, of appreciation for what people do for one another and a dedication to living in a way that honors family – whatever form that takes in a person’s life. That outlook and value structure is what drives Nathaniel.
Nathaniel Rateliff is The Marigold Project’s founder and president.
Christopher W. Tetzeli is a founding board member of The Marigold Project. Mr. Tetzeli is an owner and President of 7S Management, a music management firm located in Denver. Chris was previously a Manager at Red Light Management, the largest independent band management firm in the world, and was a founder of ATO Records. His other board service includes the Denver Film Society, Wish of a Lifetime, and Horizons at Colorado Academy. Mr. Tetzeli is a graduate of the University of Virginia.
Kari Nott is The Marigold Project’s executive director. She guides advocacy, issues analysis and activities for the organization day-to-day with an eye toward what The Marigold Project can accomplish long-term. She loves digging in to see what TMP can spotlight and fund to drive social change. She delights at the intersection of good music and good food, and bringing people together through both.
All photos by Rett Rogers