Meet RPM

Revolutions Per Minute (RPM) is a nonprofit agency that provides artists with strategy and support for their activism and philanthropy.

RPM was founded in 2005 by musicians, managers, and advisors from bands including Pearl Jam, The Beastie Boys, and R.E.M. in order to share best practices and lessons learned from their own experiences. The founders put together a board and staff made up of some of the most innovative and successful professionals in entertainment, activism, and philanthropy. Over the past decade, RPM’s network has grown to include more than a thousand musicians, comedians, and other allies.

Our Team

Bertis Downs

Bertis Downs, is an Athens GA attorney/public education advocate. He manages R.E.M. and was a longtime Adjunct Professor of Entertainment Law at the University of Georgia Law School. His involvement with RPM started at a workshop in NYC that resulted in the Vote For Change Tour (2004).

Kathy Kane

Kathy Kane is Bonnie Raitt’s manager and the founder and Executive Director of the ARIA Foundation (Artist Resources In Action), a public charity that supports music industry philanthropy, operates tour greening and outreach programs, and provides aid to musicians and activists in emergency medical need or distress.

Alexis McGill Johnson

Alexis McGill Johnson is a writer, political strategist, and organizer. She is Executive Director of Perception Institute, where she leads work on the role of bias in our society. She is also the current chair of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and former Executive Director of Citizen Change, a nonprofit founded by Sean “P. Diddy” Combs to empower young voters.

Erin Potts

As a social entrepreneur and cultural strategist, Erin co-founded the Milarepa Fund and the Tibetan Freedom Concerts with the Beastie Boys in the 1990s. Since, she has established and led several other nonprofits, including RPM, earned over $10 million for important causes, and served as a trusted advisor to hundreds of artists.

Tim Quirk

Tim Quirk is CEO of Freeform Development, Inc., and was previously Head of Global Content Programming for Google Play and VP/GM Music Content and Programming for Rhapsody. He spent much of the 80’s and 90’s as the singer and lyricist for Too Much Joy, before politely easing his way into music journalism and the digital music business.

Steve Ralbovsky

Steve Ralbovsky, founder of Canvasback Music, has worked in the industry for over 30 years nurturing the careers of artists including David Gray, Soundgarden, LL Cool J, the Beastie Boys, Ben Kweller, The Strokes, Ray Lamontagne, Kings of Leon, and My Morning Jacket while at RCA, and Columbia Records. Ralbovky’s passion for artistry in music continues today at Canvasback Music, fostering the artistic development of a new generation of artists including Alt-J, Grouplove, The Joy Formidable, Frightened Rabbit, and The Orwells.

Ian Rogers


Ian Rogers has helped artists embrace technology since the early 90s by building the first artist websites, streaming and selling music online, and connecting artists and fans directly via the Internet.

Eric K Ward

Eric K. Ward is a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Previous to this position Eric worked as a Ford Foundation Program Officer for Gender, Racial, and Ethnic Justice. Eric has a long and distinguished career as a social justice advocate and philanthropist, working over the past 20 years with local, state, and national organizations. Before joining the foundation in 2014, he was a program executive for Reconciliation and Human Rights, United States, at The Atlantic Philanthropies. Eric began his service in philanthropy as the co-chair of the McKenzie River Gathering Foundation’s grant making committee and served with Social Justice Fund Northwest, the Open Society Foundation and the Neighborhood Funders Group’s Funders For Justice.

Jeff Berman

Chip Giller

Kristen Grimm

Spitfire Strategies

Stacy Horne

The Battery

Liz Manne

Liz Manne Strategy

Dan McSwain


Raul Pacheco


Ellen Schneider

Active Voice

Matt Singer

The Bus Federation

Nick Stern

Vector Management

Deyden Tethong

Jessy Tolkan

Nicole Vandenberg

Vandenberg Communications

Keri Smith Esguia

  • The California Endowment
  • Chorus Foundation
  • Compton Foundation
  • Ford Foundation
  • New Venture Fund
  • Nathan Cummings Foundation
  • Strauss Foundation
  • Unbound Philanthropies
  • Vitalogy Foundation
  • Wallace Global Fund

Revolutions Per Minute is a nonprofit, tax exempt public charity as described in section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. Donations are fully tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law. RPM’s Employer Identification Number (EIN) is 72-1600331. A copy of our IRS letter is available on request.