We get by with a little help…


Welcome, Friends… and thank you.

Michael Parent

Here’s our guy.

Michael Parent has touched thousands upon thousands of people across the globe with his unique, poignant and hilarious storytelling. His generosity of spirit has been an example to all of us who know him. Now, he needs our help

Michael’s friends are looking to raise $100,000 for his care; we’re asking you to join us.

Here’s the situation: At 75 years of age, Michael is faced with a complex range of medical problems that leave him unable to get around by himself or safely navigate the everyday activities of life. The last several years have been very difficult for him.  In addition to the medical costs, he’s looking at the need for an assisted living facility that will provide him support and comfort. 

Of course, that kind of facility isn’t cheap. Michael has lived a frugal life, living as simply as possible while he practiced his art. As a result, like many artists, he has little savings – not near enough to cover what he’ll need in the next couple of years. Michael is considering several good options in the Portland, Maine area, where he lives – but all of them require a financial commitment – one he can’t make without us. 

For those of you not familiar with Michael  and his work: Michael was in the first generation of tellers in the storytelling renaissance that started in the 1970’s in the United States. Born and raised in Lewiston, Maine, he brings his French-Canadian heritage to his stories and music – work based on his own life experiences and traditional material. His work is compassionate, deep and funny. He’s been recognized as one of the finest performing storytellers by his peers, earning the Circle of Excellence award from the National Storytelling Network and appearing at festivals across the United States and around the world. As an example of his impact on the arts community, he lived in Charlottesville, VA, for two decades and on top of being the unofficial mayor of the downtown mall, he co-founded the Live Art Theater (still going 31 years later) and the Fall Festival of Tales. His generosity extends to his support of other tellers – he’s been a valued and talented coach and workshop leader to hundreds of other tellers.

As his friends, we feel that this financial support is one way we have of saying thanks to him for all he’s done. With a goal of $100,000, we’ve already gotten commitments of over $55,000. Updated, June 8: We’ve just passed $86,000 in donations and pledges!!!

You can make your donations to the Open Hands Foundation, openhands.avenue.org, a 501 C-3 organization dedicated to supporting the medical needs of those who cannot pay. (Scroll down to Michael’s section.) All donations are tax deductible and 100% goes to Michael’s care. If you send them a check, 523 Lexington Ave., Charlottesville, VA 22902, please let them know it’s for Michael Parent.

Please join us in supporting our dear friend, talented artist, and wonderful human being.  

16 thoughts on “Welcome

  1. Thank you for doing this for Michael. He is a wonderful storyteller, a generous artist and a giving person. I had the great pleasure of working with him briefly, and will always be most grateful for his kind words and support.


  2. Please give my best to Michael. I will always remember his kind support of my fledgling storytelling when he hosted me in Charlottesville. And also times at StF – I remember the fun we had making up a silly Western style song at lunchtime.


  3. Hello, I just donated $500 using your link but I’m worried it might not have gone through because I’m not getting the usual PayPal receipt. Are you able to confirm you have received it?


    1. Louise, I have checked all the donations through May 31 and there are none from you. I am sorry for any inconvenience and we greatly welcome you trying again. We’ve had over 200 successful donations, so far, and would celebrate your second bite of the apple.


  4. I met M. Parent in Augusta when he gave a kids’ concert. I asked him to perform for my school, and although we could only pay him a small amount, he generously have if his time and talents for the sake of the French learners. I need to give back in his time of need!


  5. I met M. Parent in Augusta when he gave a kids’ concert. I asked him to perform for my school, and although we could only pay him a small amount, he generously gave of his time and talents for the sake of the French learners. I need to give back in his time of need!


  6. I first met Michael in 92 when my late husband, Stu Gardiner introduced us. Stu was a big fan and shared some tapes of Michael’s storytelling with me and later our daughter. We had a party at our home once and our daughter was star struck, Michael sat with her (she was 3) and told her stories. A kind man.
    MM Gardiner


  7. Michael’s too brief stay in Charlottesville (only 20 years is still a newcomer, ask anyone) helped insure a flourishing, instructive, and compassionate arts community in Charlottesville. No easy task, as this this university town can be thought of as a very old machine in some ways. I am glad to help support him now.


  8. Michael is a much loved colleague and friend. I am saddened to hear of his health challenges. I hope my donation will help add to the comfort and care he so richly deserves. Holding him in the light…


  9. I will write a check today. Thank you for letting us know. Michael was always a favorite of ours at the Festival! I remember falling off my seat with laughter at some of his stories and also at times realizing how quiet the room became at some of his other stories. I am so sorry to hear of his plight.


  10. Our fundraiser, Michael’s Medical Care, is receiving great support with over 200 donations and enough pledges that we’re passing $80,000 on our way to $100,000. Enjoy this video of Michael at the St. Louis Storytelling Festival in 2013. Start at the 1:20 mark to get right to it…


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