Founders Award

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

  1. As the creator of some of rock’s most memorable guitar riffs, GRAMMY® Award winning and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee, Joe Walsh has had a remarkable career spanning nearly five decades and dozens of hit songs. In 1969 Walsh earned attention as guitarist and vocalist for the James Gang and later launched his successful solo career. In 1975 Walsh joined the Eagles, bringing his harder-edged rock sound to Hotel California, which has sold more than 50 million copies and made Walsh and the Eagles superstars. Walsh’s distinctive guitar playing, songwriting, and live performances have inspired countless musicians and fans throughout the world. 

  2. Honoree Jimmy Page joined an all-star lineup of musicians on stage in an electrifying surprise performance at the 2015 Founders Award celebration. 

    Photo by Brady Harvey.

  3. EMP’s all-star youth band—who called themselves Turn the Page—pay homage to Jimmy Page through their rendition of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” at the 2015 Founders Award. This ensemble consisted of members from EMP’s Youth Advisory Board, participants of the museum’s Teen Artist Workshops, and an alum from the inaugural Hip-Hop Artist Residency.

    Pictured: EMP all-star youth band members Nolan Sloan, Ian Hence, Annabella Cooley, Cameron Lavi-Jones, George Eitel, and Matthew Lord.

    Photo by Phototainment.

Founders Award 2016 Honoree

Joe Walsh

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

This year, EMP will celebrate iconic musician Joe Walsh. Together with honorary chairs Paul G. Allen and Jody Allen, we are thrilled to honor Mr. Walsh’s exceptional influence on music history as a legendary songwriter, extraordinary performer, and ground-breaking guitarist.

This unique and unforgettable evening includes a cocktail and hors d'oeuvres reception, elegant dinner, short-format live auction, and a thrilling tribute concert featuring an ensemble cast of guest musicians.

At Founders Award, EMP proudly honors the artists whose contributions to music have touched the lives of many the world over. 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.

Since its beginnings in 2007, the Founders Award has raised more than $3,765,000 in support of vital youth development programming.

Benefitting EMP’s Youth Programs

Education is at the heart of EMP’s mission to celebrate and encourage imaginative thinking in people of all ages. EMP’s youth 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 EMP teaching artists in school classrooms to provide hands-on, creative lessons in visual arts, music and theatre.
  • 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 EMP.

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 EMP'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:

Icon Sponsors

Hall of Fame Sponsor

Official Airline

Legend Sponsors