Founders Award

An annual fundraiser to benefit MoPOP's programs, the Founders Award features legendary performers who have made substantial contributions to the field of music.

  1. The annual Founders Award celebration is the Museum of Pop Culture’s signature fundraiser, honoring the life’s work of living legends while meaningfully contributing to the institution’s extensive education programs. The 2016 honoree, Joe Walsh, has had a remarkable career spanning nearly five decades and dozens of hit songs as a member of the Eagles and as a solo artist.

    Photo by Jim Bennett.

  2. Walsh was joined on stage by fellow artists Taylor Hawkins, Ringo Starr, Todd Rundgren, Robert Randolph, Paul Rodgers, Noah Hunt, Dave Grohl, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd.

    Photo by Philip Macias.

  3. After speaking to the importance of music education in his acceptance speech, honoree Joe Walsh brought the sold-out crowd to their feet with his signature rock sound in MoPOP's Sky Church for the 2016 Founders Award Celebration.

    Photo by Jim Bennett.



The annual Founders Award celebration is the Museum of Pop Culture’s signature fundraiser, honoring the life’s work of living legends while meaningfully contributing to the institution’s extensive education programs.

On December 8, 2016 MoPOP presented legendary guitarist Joe Walsh with the Founders Award. This was the first time ever Walsh has been honored for his solo work. There to present the award were Ringo Starr and MoPOP founder, Paul G. Allen, along with musicians Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins, Noah Hunt, Robert Randolph, Paul Rodgers, Todd Rundgren, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd, who honored Walsh with tribute performances of his most iconic songs.

The 2016 Founders Award Celebration generated the highest revenue in the history of the program, with nearly $1.2 million raised.

Founders Award has played host to a remarkable group of musical superstars including Jackson Browne; Billy Cox; Steve Cropper; Crosby, Stills & Nash; Buddy Guy; Jimmy Page; Robbie Robertson; Carlos Santana; and Ann & Nancy Wilson.


Education is at the heart of MoPOP’s mission to celebrate and encourage imaginative thinking in people of all ages. MoPOP’s programs foster this through a wide range of education workshops:

  • Creativity Camps and Teen Artist Workshops serve youth of all skill levels with courses that range from songwriting and instrumentation to music journalism and video game programming.
  • Curriculum Connections places MoPOP teaching artists in school classrooms to provide hands-on, creative lessons in visual arts, music, and theater.
  • Hip-Hop Artist Residency offers a stipend for underserved teen musicians to develop their creative career skills in collaboration with established artists who serve as guest instructors and mentors.
  • Music Therapy Camps in partnership with Seattle Pacific University unlock new avenues of expression for kids on the autism spectrum.
  • Sound Off! youth music competition provides music industry mentorship and unparalleled performance opportunities for young artists.
  • STAR (Students Training in Artistic Reach) supports music ensembles through coaching in artistic skills and performance opportunities in a professional setting.
  • Write Out of This World is an annual sci-fi and fantasy short story contest encouraging young writers to share their wildest ideas in the genre with a panel of experts and public audience.
  • Youth Advisory Board helps teens build leadership skills and gain valuable volunteer experience directly influencing programming at MoPOP.

2016 Event Committee

Co-Chairs: Mark Dederer and Michael J. Malone

Dr. James A. Bianco, Wes Blair, Dana Frank, Ian Kerrigan, Liz and Mike McConnell, Ed Pierson, Amy Sprangers, Irene Yamamoto


Interested in learning more about MoPOP's Founders Award Celebration? Contact Angela Westmoreland, Fundraising Events Manager, at or 206-262-3262.

A special thank you to the generous sponsors and supporters of the 2016 Founders Award Celebration:







Boeing / Caffe Vita Coffee Roasting Co. / Citi Private Bank / Dana Frank / Maria Mackey Gunn / Seattle Seahawks / J. Alain Smith / Sorrento Hotel / Parker Smith & Feek / Visit Seattle / Vulcan, Inc. / Wells Fargo Private Bank


Jeff and Jen Bianco / Buster Brown / Mark Chiappara / Captain Keith Colburn /Steven and Stephanie Crosby / Lauren and Dick Donner / Experience Hendrix L.L.C. /Bonnie Forbes / Beth Golder and Kerry McNeil / Charles and Cellene Graham / Joan Kelly / Clark Kokich and Lisa Strain / Afshan and Amin Lakha / Tracie Mayer /Dot Nakama  / Ed Pierson, Attorney at Law / Provenance Hotels / Jon Shirley and Kim Richter / Jonathan and Maarit Visbal


14 Hands Winery / Alaska Airlines / Andrew Will Winery / Caffe Vita Coffee Roasting Co. / Concord Bicycle Music and Fantasy / CORT Party Rentals / Gibson USA / Glass Distillery / Pedersen's Event Rentals Portland Trail Blazers / The Recording Academy Pacific Northwest Chapter / Seattle Seahawks / Sennheiser Electronic Company / Sparkle Donkey Tequila / Westland Distillery