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Ira Blonder
Franklin, TN, United States
Ira Blonder is the Managing Partner of Sound Kitchen Studios (www.soundkitchen.com)and The Blonder Group, LLC (www.blondergroup.com)
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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Wine Event To Help Sick Kids Get Care

Wine, music and food will help children whose commercial health insurance doesn’t cover all the costs of the medical treatments, services or equipment.

Even though the beneficiary of the third annual Wine Tasting & Silent Auction is the nonprofit UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation, attendees for the casual evening, planned for Thursday in Franklin’s Sound Kitchen, don’t have to be affiliated with the health insurance company.

Partygoers need only bring their ability to have a good time and a desire to assist kids in need to the event 6:30-9:30 p.m. at 112 Seaboard Lane.

“The more awareness we build, the more we drive people to come out and the more kids we can help,” said Greg Reidy, CEO of the mid-South market at UnitedHealthcare.

In the past two years, the event was at Arrington Vineyards. This year, ONEHOPE Wine, a wine label produced in partnership with Rob Mondavi Jr. out of Napa, Calif., will be offering the tastings and wine sales. In all, 50 percent of profits from wines sold go the to winemaker’s nonprofit partner. For instance, chardonnay sales benefit the National Breast Cancer Foundation, while sparkling wine supports a childhood hunger charity. The event organizer’s charity of choice, the Children’s Foundation in this case, receives 15 percent of all wine sales.

“With Thanksgiving and the holidays coming up, this is a good opportunity to stock up on wines you might want to serve while donating to a good cause at the same time,” said UnitedHealthcare’s Tennessee Foundation Coordinator Betsy Wood.

The event also features live music by Karen Staley, food by The Chef & I and a silent auction. A family who benefited from a UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation grant also will speak, along with pediatrician Dr. Joel Bradley.

Begun in 1999, UnitedHealthcare received the nonprofit through a company acquisition. The Children’s Foundation was expanded to a national program in 2006. The program has provided more than $15 million in medical assistance to about 5,000 children.

To apply for help, parents, relatives or guardians of the children should visit www.uhccf.org to fill out and submit the online form. The average grant awarded is up to $3,000, with an annual maximum of $5,000 for an individual child each year.

Top conditions covered by grants awarded last year were autism, cerebral palsy, developmental delays, diabetes, hearing loss and speech delays. Top treatments included applied behavioral therapy, durable medical equipment, hearing aids, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy and surgeries.

The child in need must be 16 years old or younger and have commercial insurance, which does not have to be UnitedHealthcare.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Highlighting Some of Tennessee’s Music Businesses for ‘Melody Month’

Tennessee Music Business

Corporate team building exercises have evolved beyond obstacle courses and paintball fights.

At The Sound Kitchen, co-workers can bond during a day of composing and performing original songs in a professional recording studio.

“It’s important to note, our corporate team building exercises don’t require the participants to have any musical experience to participate,” said Ira Blonder, a managing general partner at The Sound Kitchen.

“In fact, our programs are specifically tailored to help the participants find the creative spirit within. So, through the use of music, we gently press the teams to think outside of their comfort zones, forcing them to rely on each other to accomplish the desired company goals. Furthermore, our sessions force each team to bond together, helping team members further develop their relationships, which last long after their time at Sound Kitchen Studios,” stated Blonder.

The Sound Kitchen doesn't just cater to corporate types, however. Its studios, housed in a nondescript building to discourage gawkers and autograph seekers, are often used by well-known artists of various musical genres such as Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Sir Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, RUSH, Chicago and Dolly Parton – just to name a few.

The Franklin-based business also contributes to a number of different charities, including We Are Building Lives, an organization for homeless veterans that Blonder co-founded.

The Sound Kitchen is one of the companies featured in this month’s Tennessee Business Spotlight, a regular feature on the Secretary of State’s web site. In honor of the state’s many music-related businesses, September’s theme is “Melody Month.”

Tennessee Business Spotlight showcases some of the state’s businesses that create jobs, produce quality products and give back to their communities.

In addition to The Sound Kitchen, other businesses featured this month are:
  •     Amro Music Stores, Inc. in Memphis
  •     Curb Records, Inc. in Nashville
  •     Down Home, Inc. in Johnson City
  •     Smoky Mountain Opry in Pigeon Forge
“From blues to rock to country to bluegrass and more, Tennessee is home to a thriving music industry,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. “These companies featured this month are just a few members of this distinguished group of businesses that play a vital role in our economy.”

People who visit the Tennessee Business Spotlight web page can learn about the selected companies’ goods and services, operations, employment figures, photos and links to social media and web sites that can provide additional information. To visit Tennessee Business Spotlight, go to www.spotlight.tnsos.net

To nominate a company to be featured in Tennessee Business Spotlight, please visit the web site and click on the “Submit a Business” link or call 615.253.8800