By Brandy McDonnellFeatures writerbmcdonnell@oklahoman.comThe Red Dirt Relief Fund was built for speed. "We like to consider ourselves kind of economic first-responders to the music community of Oklahoma," said John Cooper, one of the fund's founders. A nonprofit organization that provides a safety net of critical assistance for Oklahomans in the music business in times of need, the Red Dirt Relief Fund moved quickly in response to the coronavirus pandemic. It took the executive director and all-volunteer board just 10 days to launch a $50,000 emergency grant program to help people whose livelihoods were affected by the outbreak — and just 10 days more to distribute $105,000 in one-time $250 grants to 420 Oklahomans. "We helped a lot of people in the short term, which is what Red Dirt Relief Fund has always set out to do, is provide kind of just a little bit of time, a little bit of breathing room, to figure out what's next," said Executive Director Katie Dale. "Certainly, music is not the only industry affected by this, but it's just kind of mind-blowing how universally the lights went off.Read more on


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