I am humbled to announce The Marigold Project, a private foundation I have set up to address issues of economic and social justice.
The Marigold Project is my way of doing something about problems I see when I’m at home in Denver and when I’m on the road. I am inviting you to 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 to do some good in our world.
When we talk about economic and social justice, we’re talking about leveling the field so that everyone has equal access to opportunity. Our wealth gap is directly related to our most pressing problems as a society. Life expectancy, the well-being of our kids and their education, violent crime, mental illness…all of these issues have a stronger correlation to income inequality than to a country’s gross domestic product as a whole.
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.
Let’s change things. Let’s work to provide the services that society needs to care for our most vulnerable. No one deserves to be on the street because they have cancer and can’t pay their bills, or because they served their country in Afghanistan and have a hard time coping when they get home. As we head into 2018, I would be honored to have your support through The Marigold Project.
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, Missouri, 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.
2018 sees the release of their follow-up album, ‘Tearing At The Seams’. The album shows The Night Sweats tearing at their own seams, at their own sturdy sound, at their long-held definitions of friend and family and band. It’s an album that builds on the sound of their debut but dramatically redefines what they can do and where they can go next. Says Rateliff, “I want—and I need—everybody to feel like they’re a part of this band. I want them to feel like they’re contributing artistically and emotionally to the experience of writing and creating this music. We’ve all had to make sacrifices to be in The Night Sweats, and I want them all to know that it’s worth something.”
That outlook and value structure is what drives Nathaniel. 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.
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