Five percent of all Tuff Gong clothing proceeds will fund the foundation that works tirelessly to enhance the lives of every Jamaican.
We launched Tuff Gong collaborations knowing one thing for certain: A portion of our sales would fund the causes that the Marley family is passionate about. Proceeds from one of our first collaborations, with Sandro Paris, went to Marley for Education project, which pays for books and school fees for Jamaican students. Now, 5% of every product sold goes straight to The Bob Marley Foundation.
Started in 1986 by Bob Marley’s family, The Bob Marley Foundation is the charitable arm of his legacy in Jamaica, which includes Tuff Gong International as well as The Bob Marley Museum in Kingston. The foundation’s mission is to uplift and empower Jamaicans in the spirit of Bob Marley’s fierce idealism and Rasta values, with particular focus on education, culture, sports, health and welfare for the elderly. As CEO of the combined companies Cedella Marley says, the core purpose of the foundation is to, “Make people’s lives, the lives of our boys and girls, even a little brighter...to make them truly believe that ‘everything is gonna be alright.’”
Emphasis on Music and Youth
The foundation is involved in nearly 50 projects at any one time, but one of their recent achievements is a completely new music room at Jamaica’s Haile Selassie high school, which cost $24,000 to rebuild and stock with drums and brass instruments.
This is just one of several music rooms the foundation has built in schools around Jamaica. In many schools, the foundation also provides classroom equipment, salary subsidies for the teachers, and scholarships to students—which include tuition, transportation, nutrition, counseling, and work experience.
In 2017 The Alpha Institute, which provides education and vocational training to Kingston youth, opened the doors to The Bob Marley Ensemble Room, a $10,000 soundproofed space designed to host up to 20 students at a time to practice playing together, as well as act as a homebase for other classes and workshops worthy of a community that produced the Wailers.
Students also receive dream mentorships with studio engineers at Tuff Gong International, where they learn the hands-on skills they’ll need to carry on the groundbreaking sound of the Caribbean’s most iconic record label and sound studio. That’s also just the start of how the foundation is woven into modern Jamaican education—another initiative, called Marley for Education, provides essential scholarships to kids between the ages of 3 and 17, funding everything from fees to uniform costs, and partnering with seven local schools to provide student breakfast and teacher stipends.
Events and the Environment
Much like Bob Marley’s prolific recording career, the foundation has widespread roots that go beyond what’s expected. Each year includes a diverse slate of events, from the International Coastal Clean Up Day, which coordinated a community pick-up of a section of Jamaica’s Palisades Strip Coastline, to Celebrating Bob Marley, an annual festival that takes place at Bob’s former home on Hope Road in Kingston. At a recent party, 200 local students delivered musical and written tributes to the legend, and had a chance to play soccer with members of the Reggae Girlz, Jamaica’s Senior National Women’s Soccer team—which also happens to be sponsored by the foundation. It’s a fitting tribute to a recording artist who defied celebrity convention and chose instead to serve as a voice for equality.