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Philadelphia has many emergency response teams, but until recently, pets weren’t part of that response. Red Paw Emergency Relief Team, in partnership with the Red Cross, provides emergency transportation, shelter, long-term foster care and emergency, follow-up and ongoing veterinarian care to foster and rescue pets. The program is spearheaded by Philadelphia firefighter and Red Cross emergency responder Jennifer Leary and began service on July 25, 2011. Since then, Red Paw has responded to nearly 200 calls in Philadelphia, Delaware, Montgomery, Bucks and Chester Counties.

The Issue

Failure to evacuate is a disaster management problem. Most human shelters will not accept companion animals. Thus, owners face the difficult choice of abandoning their pet(s) or remaining in potentially life-threatening situations. Several studies have found that animal owners risk endangering themselves by not evacuating disaster areas unless they are assured of their animals’ well-being.

Hurricane Katrina was a pet health and welfare disaster. Rescued animals were found suffering from heartworm disease, internal and external parasites, dehydration, trauma, wounds from debris and standing water, malnutrition, lethargy and exhaustion according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. When rescued animals were transported to shelters around the country, it became more difficult for those shelters to find room for other animals in need (Thornton, 2006).

During Hurricane Katrina, when people had no alternative but to leave home, they had to decide if and where to take their animals. In many cases, this decision was imposed on the owner by emergency evacuation rules that denied pet transportation and shelter outside of the impact zone (Thornton, 2006). Thousands of Katrina survivors clinging to their pets were told by emergency workers to leave them behind. Some did, but others refused, choosing to stay with their animals despite dangerous conditions (Mott, 2005).

“Local authorities now realize, after many years of hearing it from the AVMA and other organizations preparing for animals in disasters, that people will risk their lives for their animals,” says Cindy Lovern, a veterinarian and assistant director of scientific activities for the AVMA. “In future disasters, national, state and local authorities have to consider animals when considering the evacuation of people. The two are tied together intimately. Leaving them behind should not be an option,” Lovern says (Mott, 2005).

A major finding from Katrina was that pet loss was a greater risk factor for depression or PTSD than was home loss (M. Hunt, personal communication, ). Perhaps the definition for family has evolved over the years to include pets?  “Pets are part of people’s families—sixty-three percent of American households have at least two point three pets” (J. Leary, personal communication, ). The Humane Society of the United States cited a recent Zogby International poll that found that 49 percent of adults say they would refuse to evacuate if they couldn't take their pets with them (Associated Press, 2009).

The Solution

Nationally, the House of Representatives passed the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act as a bipartisan initiative requiring states seeking Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance to accommodate pets and service animals in their emergency evacuation plans.

Regionally, the Red Paw Emergency Relief Team began in 2011. Jennifer Leary, a Philadelphia firefighter, Red Cross emergency responder and Philadelphia County Animal Response Team (CART) member led the efforts. Not only does she adore animals, she wanted to combine her two passions:

Two specific incidents sparked Red Paw’s birth. A few years ago, a two-alarm fire in Center City resulted in the death of two dogs and a cat because there was not a procedure in place to help them. The second incident occurred in January 2011 at a three-alarm fire at an apartment complex in West Philly. Cats were being taken out of the building in laundry baskets and rushed to the shelter without crates or emergency vet care. Dozens of cats were trapped in the building for weeks afterwards. Shortly after that fire, Leary brought her proposal for Red Paw to the American Red Cross—to work in conjunction with their responders when there are pets on scene (Red Paw, 2013).


Although the new initiative had its challenges, the Red Cross was “very open and willing to have Red Paw start. It's not every day a new emergency response organization comes along and can show up at a disaster scene. I think people were skeptical about how it would work. Because of my background,” the transition went smoothly, Leary said, adding that Red Paw is not a first responder. First responders assess the situation and if animals need assistance, Red Paw volunteers arrive.

Using the networks that were so valuable in the creation of the organization, Leary said she still relies on the interconnections in the animal welfare community. “PAWS is always there if we have to rush an animal in as well as City Kitties. The veterinarian from the [Philadelphia] Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals helps. There is a growing relationship with Animal Care and Control Team of Philadelphia. The animal community is a great community. There is a real sense of solidarity,” she said.

Despite all of the collaboration, Leary said she wasn’t quite sure her social venture would make it. “Last winter was really bad. We had been getting animals in cycles; every single call was for 1 or 3 or 6 displaced pit bulls.” As with every initial start-up, they had to learn while doing. “We didn’t have the type of fostering network that we have now or the Facebook presence. All the dogs we had…we were bleeding money. We couldn’t bring in money quickly enough and couldn’t get the dogs out quickly enough. By April and May, we ended up getting most of the dogs adopted. We were teetering on the brink. This year it’s been all cats,” she said.

Despite the challenges, many are looking to Red Paw as a model. Red Paw is “already growing quicker than I intended. It was supposed to be a pilot program in Philadelphia, but we were called three times by two other counties. It just ended up expanding to all five counties. We don’t want to grow quicker than we’re capable of growing. I’m working through ways to help people who inquire about starting their own chapter,” she said, indicating that Red Paw chapter creation is the way for sustainable growth.

Measuring growth, Leary has been collecting Red Paw performance measures including outcomes since the day they began. “We have numbers from the day we started. When we hit our first full year of service [Jan 2011–Jan 2012], we posted numbers on the website (redpawemergencyreliefteam.com). We’re now in the process of going through a year’s worth of paper putting it into Excel sheets [as well as] going back through Facebook posts to make sure cases we’re matching up. Now we have a great system. Every case gets documented in Google Docs. Every time I get a call, I take all the information down, and what the final outcome was.”

Although Red Paw’s extensive network within the animal welfare community has been a big part of the venture’s success, the relative youth of the organization and its lack of financial security make it vulnerable. “…an organization is more likely to increase the degree of formality of its collaborative activities when it is older, has a larger budget size, receives government funding but relies on fewer government funding streams, has more board linkages with other nonprofits, and is not operating in the education and research or social services industry” (Guo & Acar, 2005, p. 1). Whether Red Paw follows this trend or bucks it only time will tell.

Perhaps we can glean hints from its response to Superstorm Sandy, during which Red Paw’s reach extended to New Jersey and New York. “We supplied volunteers for the CART pet co-located shelters. We responded to a dozen calls for displaced pets and made two trips to New Jersey and New York delivering thousands of pounds of pet food and supplies we collected,” said Leary.

References

Associated Press. (2009, February 11). House passes pet evacuation bill. Retrieved from http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/05/22/politics/main1644260.shtml

Guo, C., & Acar, M. (2005). Understanding collaboration among nonprofit organizations: Combining resource dependency, institutional, and network perspectives. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. 34(3), 340–361, doi: 10.1177/0899764005275411.

Mott, M. (2005, September 21). Katrina pet rescue efforts offer lessons for the future. Retrieved from http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/09/0921_050921_disaster_pet_tips.html

Red Paw. (2013). History. Retrieved from http://redpawemergencyreliefteam.com/history/

Thornton, K. C. (2006, August 21). Katrina leading to better pet rescue efforts. Retrieved from http://www.nbcnews.com/id/14353134/ns/health-pet_health/t/katrina-leading-better-pet-rescue-efforts/#.UkD80oasj0t

Synopsis

As individuals and organizations seek to address our most pressing social problems through innovative programs, projects and ideas, they inevitably require sound administrative and financial infrastructures to bring these initiatives to fruition. While many programs and initiatives go on to establish themselves as 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, it is important to ask what other options exist for the most promising social innovations. Fiscal sponsorship offers a practical and cost-effective approach to helping innovators bring their projects and ideas into reality. In some cases, sponsorship might be a temporary stage to get a project or program off the ground while in other instances, long-term sponsorship is ultimately the best course of action. This article examines the benefits associated with fiscal sponsorship and explores how fiscal sponsorship can serve as a mechanism for supporting social innovation in the Philadelphia region.

Understanding Fiscal Sponsorship – Benefits and Models

Practitioners in the public sector and funding communities often note the proliferation of new nonprofit organizations. Certainly, formally establishing a 501(c)(3) organization is often an appropriate step to addressing a service need or gap within our social system. But this is not the only option available to start-up projects, nor is it always the best or most appropriate course. Indeed, for those initiatives that truly seek to disrupt the current system and innovate the way services are delivered, the intense and often burdensome administrative demands associated with establishing a nonprofit can be prohibitive to achieving the mission and goals of the program or project. In other cases, the innovation in question might require urgency and flexibility on the front end that would be hampered by the often lengthy designation process. In still other cases, project or program leaders may need additional support, coaching and training before they are ready to make it on their own. In consideration of these possibilities, fiscal sponsorship can be an appropriate and ideal alternative to the wholesale creation of a new 501(c)(3) entity.

Fiscal sponsorship has been practiced in various forms for more than 50 years and typically entails an organization that lacks tax-exempt status obtaining sponsorship from an existing 501(c)(3) nonprofit, thereby gaining access to additional funding sources under the sponsor’s exempt status, including government and foundation grants as well as tax-deductible donations from corporations and individuals (Colvin, 1993; The Foundation Center, n.d.). Importantly, while it might take a project seeking 501(c)(3) status up to six months to obtain tax exemption and thus be able to collect foundation grants and other charitable donations, the organization is immediately able to do so upon becoming a sponsored entity. Further, these organizations or projects can save the considerable costs normally associated with establishing a 501(c)(3) and gain the credibility of affiliating with an established organization.

For an entity seeking a fiscal sponsor, there are a number of available approaches. In his seminal work on the subject, Fiscal Sponsorship: 6 Ways to Do It Right, nationally recognized fiscal sponsorship expert Gregory Colvin identifies six main models that confer varying degrees of autonomy and support to recipients. (A summary of these models can be found by in Colvin’s 2006 Presentation on Fiscal Sponsorships to the Western Conference on Tax Exempt Organizations.) A subset of Colvin’s six models that has grown in usage and popularity over time is comprehensive fiscal sponsorship (CFS). While it’s fashioned after Colvin’s “direct project” model (Model A), which has traditionally been the most common arrangement and involves a sponsor taking a project in-house, CFS employs a much more holistic approach to sponsorship. Under CFS, the sponsor provides a comprehensive set of services that extend beyond the fiscal sponsor role to include financial management, human resources support, information systems support and capacity building (Third Sector New England, 2009). In essence, CFS sponsors provide essential back-office support to projects that in turn frees up those projects’ leaders to concentrate their energies on their programming, fundraising and other essential activities necessary to fulfill their project missions.

It is in this sense, and particularly through the CFS model, that fiscal sponsorship plays a key role in supporting growth and innovation within the social sector. As noted by Jill Blaire and Tina Cheplick of BTW Consulting in their report “More than Money: Fiscal Sponsorship’s Unrealized Potential,” “many emerging social change organizations are eager to step into their mission work with energy and fresh perspective, but…lack the ‘legs’ of an infrastructure to lift and carry them forward and steady.” They go on to explain that “while some start-ups falter and fail, others compromise; they short-change program delivery in order to focus on building visibility and infrastructure.” Blair and Cheplick argue that it is this very dilemma that demonstrates “the value and need for a nonprofit organizational platform that provides administrative and managerial supports to accelerate the pace and success of bringing new ideas and services to the public problem solving market”—in essence, fiscal sponsorship (BTW Informing Change, 2007).

In the realm of social innovation, in which space for failure is often needed to facilitate the right mix of experimentation and risk-taking, fiscal sponsorship provides the additional benefit of offering an easy exit strategy for projects that do not succeed in their initial goals. As noted by Jonathan Spack in “How Fiscal Sponsorship Nurtures Nonprofits,” “if any sponsored group decides it is not going to be viable in the long term, the fiscal partnership allows for a natural, relatively painless phasing out, especially compared with winding down an incorporation with its potential liability issues and the paperwork for government agencies” (Third Sector New England, 2005).

Fiscal Sponsorship in Philadelphia

The Philadelphia region is home to a diverse range of organizations offering fiscal sponsorship services, utilizing a variety of structures and approaches. Two long-time providers interviewed for this article are the Urban Affairs Coalition (UAC) and Resources For Human Development (RHD), both of which have been providing theirs services for more than 30 years. However, these are far from the only options available to new projects, with many niche and community-based providers available as well. One such example also interviewed for this piece is CultureWorks, which specifically serves the arts and culture sector.

Conversations with these organizations uncovered very similar rationales for the use of fiscal sponsorship, as detailed above by Blaire and Cheplick. According to Tivoni Devor, business development manager for UAC, “People want to do something good… but the executive director is all the sudden doing human relations work and we relieve them of that.” For Patricia Beidron, director of RHD’s New Beginnings Nonprofit Incubator, it is about helping projects to “figure out ‘the how’ for great ideas and passion.”

CultureWorks, a relatively new provider of fiscal sponsorship in the region, initially provided arts and culture projects with shared space and advisory services but quickly realized that what was really needed was fiscal sponsorship, particularly in the CFS model. Executive director Thaddeus Squire explained that CultureWorks has thus adapted fiscal sponsorship models more commonly utilized among the social sector to arts and culture projects. In this sense, he views CultureWorks as a social innovation in and of itself.

More broadly, Squire sees the start-up culture in Philadelphia as ripe for further growth in fiscal sponsorship. The Philadelphia spirit of trying new things means that there is no shortage of great projects and innovations, and Philadelphia also benefits from a relatively lower cost barrier to starting a new venture as compared with other major cities.

And yet, cost often remains a prohibitive factor for even the best innovations in the region. To that end, fiscal sponsorship offers an opportunity to significantly increase access and lower costs for new projects. Highlighting this is the experience of the West Philadelphia Tool Library (WPTL), a UAC-sponsored initiative that loans tools to community members so they can perform simple home maintenance, tend their yards and gardens, build furniture, start projects and learn new skills in a safe and affordable manner (West Philly Tool Library, n.d.). WPTL cofounder Michael Froehlich notes that their arrangement with UAC has helped them access greatly reduced insurance rates, which, given the high liability associated with their work, has been a significant benefit.

Not all projects that start in fiscal sponsorship remain that way, and there are in fact many well-known organizations in our region that have benefitted from utilizing CFS services and since moved on to become independent nonprofit entities. The Philadelphia Public School Notebook (PPSN), a publication serving supporters of Philadelphia public schools,  is one such example (The Philadelphia Public School Notebook, n.d.). PPSN was under RHD’s CFS for 19 years and has just recently created its own 501(c)(3). Paul Socolar, founder and executive director, said that in the beginning, “with all the things you have to worry about when starting a project…having an organization that handles the back-end was a no-brainer.” Socolar notes that RHD was very beneficial because it allowed PPSN to slowly grow over time and that the gradual expansion of physical space was especially beneficial. There came a time when PPSN hit a critical plateau in expansion when it made more sense for them to become independent rather than remain under the RHD umbrella.

Despite the many successes realized through fiscal sponsorship, each of the organizations interviewed acknowledged a lack of awareness, and at times, comfort, among the nonprofit sector for the services they and other fiscal sponsors are providing. RHD’s Patricia Beidron observed that there is simply not enough understanding about fiscal sponsorship as an option. Many organizations “don’t realize that you don’t have to become a full-fledged 501(c)(3).” UAC’s Tivoni Devor also notes that “the largest need is awareness. We can have an organization up and running in six weeks.” For the niche market Squire is serving through CultureWorks, there is often the concern that by utilizing a sponsor artists will also lose the option to be the public faces of their projects.

Nevertheless, fiscal sponsorship remains in high demand throughout the region. Both UAC and RHD see no shortage of applicants for their services. Devor is contacted by approximately three organizations each week and formally establishes sponsorships for one or two new projects each quarter. RHD’s Nonprofit Incubator can serve up to 40 projects at any given time and maintains a long waiting list for its services. As Beidron notes, “either other organizations [providing fiscal sponsorship] are not making themselves known, or the demand is greater than the supply.” Likewise, Squire sees a distinct and widespread need among the arts and culture community for the CFS services CultureWorks is now providing.

In each of these cases, it is clear that there is a distinct need for greater education, awareness and understanding about the benefits to be gained through the fiscal sponsorship option. Certainly, in a time of ever-more constrained funding, fiscal sponsorship, particularly in the CFS mold, can be an ideal option for individuals or groups with great ideas for experimenting, innovating and bringing promising new programs to life while gaining the support and guidance that is so often needed in the early stages. As Philadelphia strives to compete in the 21st-century economy, fiscal sponsorship can and should serve as a key tool for fostering a collaborative start-up culture.

About the Fiscal Sponsors

Urban Affairs Coalition is the largest fiscal sponsor in the greater Philadelphia region and a founding member of the National Network of Fiscal Sponsors. Many smaller projects and scholarship funds are permanently housed out of UAC. Other programs, like Back On My Feet, originated under the UAC umbrella and have since moved on to establish themselves as 501(c)(3) entities. UAC currently sponsors over 65 organizations, representing a portfolio of over $25 million dollars.

Resources for Human Development has been providing fiscal sponsorship services throughout its more than 40-year history. Since 1982, RHD’s New Beginnings Nonprofit Incubator has served as the entry point for the organization’s fiscal sponsorship services,  providing participating organizations with a comprehensive set of resources to help them develop skills and build their capacities and effectiveness. Incubator Director Patricia Beidron estimates that well over 100 projects and organizations have benefited from their services since they began, with graduates including now well-known Philadelphia organizations such as The Please Touch Museum, Art Reach, Women’s Opportunity Resource Center, Career Wardrobe, Philadelphia Cares and Cradles to Crayons.

CultureWorks Greater Philadelphia provides affordable, shared management resources to arts and heritage organizations and creative professionals. CultureWorks recently launched its CultureTrust program, which utilizes the comprehensive fiscal sponsorship model to serve as a sponsored project’s insurer, employer, contractor, accountant and project manager, while the project’s leaders or individual artists can remain the public faces of their work.

References

BTW Informing Change. (2007). More than the money: Fiscal sponsorship’s unrealized potential. Berkeley, CA: Blair, J., & Cheplick, T. Retrieved from http://www.tides.org/fileadmin/user/pdf/WP_MoreThanMoneyFSPotential.pdf

Colvin, Gregory L. (1993). “Fiscal Sponsorship: Six Ways To Do It Right – A Synopsis.” The Exempt Organization Tax Review, 7(4), 604–611. Retrieved from http://www.adlercolvin.com/pdf/grantmaking/six_ways.pdf

The Foundation Center. (n.d.). Knowledge base: What is fiscal sponsorship? How do I find a fiscal sponsor? Retrieved from http://grantspace.org/Tools/Knowledge-Base/Individual-Grantseekers/Fiscal-Sponsorship/Fiscal-sponsorship

The Philadelphia Public School Notebook. (n.d.). About the Notebook. Retrieved from http://thenotebook.org/content/about-us
Third Sector New England. (2005). How fiscal sponsorship nurtures nonprofits. Boston, MA: Spack, J. Retrieved from http://www.tides.org/fileadmin/user/pdf/WP_TSNEHowFSNutures.pdf

Third Sector New England. (2009). A white paper: On comprehensive fiscal sponsorship. Boston, MA: Sattely, J. Retrieved from http://www.tsne.org/atf/cf/%7BD1930FAD-18A8-4D53-BBA2-A2971E3DEE1A%7D/FS%20WhitePaper%20Final%20web.pdf

West Philly Tool Library. About us. Retrieved from http://westphillytools.org/about/

Summary

At a time when 40% of Philadelphia public high school students are struggling to find their way to graduation (Socolar 2012), an innovative approach to preparing these youth to face any obstacles they may encounter is not only appreciated, it’s needed.

Local nonprofit Startup Corps encourages students to start something real by helping them identify an obstacle, problem or issue in their community and create an organization/business to serve as a means of bringing about a solution. Proudly 100%taught by local entrepreneurs like co-founders Christian Kunkel and Rich Sedmak, the Startup Corps process drives participants toward real-world, solution-oriented start-ups via problem-focused inquiry, strategic guidance, meaningful planning and effective execution.


Startup Corps as a Catalyst for Local Change

It’s not news that the United States is no longer leading the world in academic achievement. Philadelphia is not immune to this national trend, with the average on-time graduation rate of high school students only recently rising above 60% (Socolar 2012).

So how can communities in Philadelphia potentially re-engage students to the academic experience on an individual basis? School-related, project-driven entrepreneurship may provide a means of changing some students’ attitudes toward learning.

Charles Ireland, the Assistant Principle at Jules E. Mastbaum AVTS, introduced the Startup Corps program to his school with the hope of enhancing students’ basic skills and motivating students to continue their experiential, authentic learning experiences in and out of school. Ireland describes Startup Corps as “a successful program that can be used to motivate students and provide them with tangible skill sets that translate into financial and educational achievement” (Ireland 2012).

Although there is no magic pill that high school students in Philadelphia can take to guarantee the outcome of their high school experience, it is helpful to have been through a situation that required overcoming obstacles, strategic planning/execution, problem solving and assessment to measure the effectiveness of their efforts. These are some of the skills gained through identifying a problem and creating an organization/business to serve as a means of bringing about a solution.

Program participants start the program as bright young individuals, eager to learn. But they finish as entrepreneurs who have conceptualized an outcome, planned their actions (including possibly failing and having to retool their approach) and eventually successfully navigated the project process, creating a useful tool for their communities. Again, no magic pill, but the participants that emerge from the Startup Corps program are armed with the capability to face the challenges and obstacles that may litter the path to academic and financial success.


Students Starting Businesses, Not Just Thinking About It

Fast Company described Startup Corps as “an initiative to back youth enterprise” (2012). Startup Corps is not the only organization of its kind; there are a few other firms that have similar platforms, such as the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) and BUILD. However, the difference between other youth entrepreneurship-focused organizations and Startup Corps is that Startup Corps’ daily focus is on starting the business, not just learning about it. You may have heard of initiatives that teach children to channel their “street smarts” into “business smarts” through business plan incubator projects. However, if those same children are not actually putting their business plans into practice, how will they be able to measure what they’ve really learned?

When asked about the difference between Startup Corps and other youth enterprise organizations, co-founder Christian Kunkel said, “Overall, I'd describe the difference in our program as follows.... We see business creation as a tool to develop life, learning and leadership skills. Through the creation of micro-enterprises that address real-world problems, students learn to learn rapidly, set and evaluate tangible goals, attract resources, network, take action, and gather real-world feedback. These skills are not uniquely valuable to entrepreneurs but are skills of personal efficacy regardless of what field you work in. They are skills that every person should consciously develop and if they do, they will be more effective in pursing any goal they set for themselves. It is only through action that progress is made and it is only through action that lessons can be learned. When we teach students these skills, they are empowered to create the future instead of simply participating in it passively” (2011).

Startup Corps differs from other programs in another critical way: Instead of moving program participants through a network of academic modules and affixing various types of knowledge to them before administering standardized quality control tests, Startup Corps allows each student to drive his/her own learning experience, review his/her actions for effectiveness and tweak his/her efforts where necessary


Startup Corps Success Story

Janee Huff-Truesdale’s Pink Power is a good example of a Startup Corps project that came about specifically to address community concerns in Philadelphia.

Pink Power, which provides electrician services within the Philadelphia area, recognizes the importance of customers’ comfort level with and timely completion of the job at hand. Huff-Truesdale highlights how critical it is for women who are alone in their homes while electrical work is being done to feel comfortable with their electrician. Huff-Truesdale understands that some demographic and cultural circumstances can make a female electrician the service provider of choice within some niche markets in Philadelphia.

The business model is expandable and the aim for this and other successful Startup Corps endeavors is to eventually target similar concerns nationally and internationally.


The Effects of Startup Corps

When asked what effects the Startup Corps program had on program participants, Charles Ireland said, “We fully expect our students to become more motivated and excited about learning as they progress in the Startup Corps program. Once our students realize they can profit from their ideas the experiential learning will become part of our blended educational model. By working with Startup Corps our students will reinforce their basic reading, writing and arithmetic skills along with strengthening their collaboration and communication skills. By working with others they will enhance their collaboration skills. By working on the business plan they will enhance their reading, writing and arithmetic skills. By critiquing their ideas they will also utilize their critical thinking skills in an environment where ideas, process and execution determine success” (Ireland 2012).

The motivation and excitement Ireland predicted are evident in Janee Huff-Truesdale, winner of Startup Corps’ 2012 People’s Choice award. Janee says she called her business Pink Power because of the power she felt through being capable of doing things on her own.


Looking Forward

The eventual goal of Startup Corps is to provide every student in Philadelphia with the opportunity to start a business or nonprofit organization before graduating high school. Startup Corps’ future business model will allow the transformative effects of student entrepreneurship to permeate most if not all Philadelphia schools and communities.

According to Christian Kunkel, the contagious nature of identifying a problem and creating an organization/business to serve as a means of bringing about a solution is evident even today. Christian says Startup Corps’ efforts “can have a transformative impact not just on the students involved but on the culture of a school” (2011). Kunkel goes on to say, “We've already seen this happen at schools where students outside our program see the actions our students are taking and respond with businesses of their own.”


Startup Corp Founder Bios

Christian Kunkel is a co-founder of Startup Corps. He has been involved in start-ups from a young age ranging from lawn care to event management to independent film to corporate education. Previously, he founded the ABAA, a mobile events company targeting the college demographic. Through his work at Corporate University Xchange, he developed research and evaluation systems to improve corporate universities at large multinationals around the world.

Rich Sedmak is a co-founder of Startup Corps and has been an entrepreneur since the age of 15. In 2004, he co-founded HBG Group, an affiliate-tracking technology company, and served as CEO until 2007. He is currently an adviser to several early-stage technology companies and an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) at The Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania.


References

Kunkel, C. (2011, October 11). Personal interview.

Ireland, C. (2012, February 6). Personal interview.

Socolar, P. (2012, February). District on-time graduation rate surpasses 60 percent. The Philadelphia Public School Notebook. Available at http://www.thenotebook.org/february-2012/124482/district-time-graduation-rate-surpasses-60-percent.

Fast Company Staff. (2011, May 2).  United States of Innovation. Fast Company. Available at http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/155/united-states-of-innovation.html.

The Cultural Data Project (CDP) aspires to change the very way we discuss and justify the importance of the arts in our society. Traditionally, arts organizations have argued for public funding based on personal stories demonstrating the intrinsic value of arts to their communities, shying away from collecting data to support their arguments (Schuster 1997). According to Neville Vakharia, the director of the project, the CDP is “changing the argument of how we justify support for the arts from either/or to both/and.” By collecting nationally standardized data, the CDP allows the sector to combine both approaches—personal stories and data—to provide a more complete picture of the arts and culture industry’s impact for all stakeholders, including funders, policymakers, researchers and community advocates. In doing so, the CDP hopes to create a national project that will continue to impact the way decisions are made about the arts for years to come.

The CDP is part of a growing trend that seeks to more clearly define and measure the social impact of the arts. The field increasingly recognizes that, to stay viable, arts and culture organizations must begin to quantify their outcomes (Jackson 2002). Research in recent decades has shown that the arts can have a significant and broad impact on both individuals and communities, ranging from spurring increased economic activity to improving quality of life (NGA Center for Best Practices 2010).

Beginning in 2001, a group of Pennsylvania organizations including the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, The Pew Charitable Trusts, and the William Penn Foundation began to recognize that, though the arts play an essential role in Pennsylvania, very little information was available on the true impact of arts and culture in the state. After three years of planning, they launched the Pennsylvania Cultural Data Project in 2004, with the goal of providing reports, data and other core sets of financial and operational information. These data enable grantmakers to prove return on investment and help cultural organizations of every budget size and discipline assess and promote their impact. The project has now expanded to include nearly 12,500 arts organizations in 11 states and the District of Columbia.

Beyond collecting data, the CDP also hopes to achieve two other important objectives. First, in every state, the CDP has helped to foster collaboration. When the CDP first begins its work in a state, it often brings together public and private funders and advocates for the arts who share the CDP’s vision of strengthening the cultural sector. Second, the CDP helps to show the impact of the arts within the community. At the organizational level, CDP analytic reporting tools can be used to help improve arts organizations’ financial and management capacity. Some organizations have used these reports to negotiate better rental rates or evaluate their board giving compared to others. At the policy level, advocates can use CDP data to bolster arguments to policymakers to justify funding and demonstrate return on government investment in the arts.

For example, in 2009 the Pennsylvania legislature proposed a tax on cultural institutions’ ticket sales and membership revenue. Arts advocates were able to use CDP data to demonstrate that lifting the tax exemption on tickets to arts events would not bring in nearly the projected amount, and their advocacy successfully defeated the arts tax initiative. In Montgomery County, Maryland, the local arts council was able to demonstrate using CDP data that every $1 in county funding for the arts was matched by $14 in earned revenue by cultural organizations in the county. Finally, CDP data allow funders to better understand the issues and needs of their communities in order to make wiser investments in the arts.

Vakharia is quick to note that CDP is “not just an online database.” What makes the CDP’s business model innovative is the level of technical assistance and support it provides to cultural organizations, researchers and funders. Vakharia believes that the CDP’s staff plays an important role in the sector by combining an understanding of good business practices with the mission-driven passion of the cultural sector, and his own background demonstrates this combined expertise. Vakharia’s background is in engineering, but after ten years doing new product development and global product management, he decided to pursue a Master’s in Arts Administration from Drexel. He then worked at multiple cultural organizations in Philadelphia before joining the CDP in 2005. The CDP’s staff includes call center support, financial consultants and researchers, among others, all of whom have experience in the cultural sector. The CDP’s funding comes from a “collaborative partnership” of public and private funders, including family foundations, community funds, government agencies, and other funders who want to better serve arts and culture in their area. These philanthropic partnerships allow the CDP to provide its technology and services to cultural organizations free-of-charge. Vakharia notes that the CDP is a “unique business model” and can be a “new way of thinking for funders,” some of whom are more inclined to finance individual projects for a limited duration, whereas the CDP represents an ongoing resource to strengthen the sector.

This is an exciting time for the CDP. The project is in the midst of a national expansion and hopes to engage 22 states by 2014. In order to meet this goal, Vakharia believes that the CDP will need to continue to embrace technology to leverage the data in new ways and be responsive to the needs of its constituents. In more ways than one, the CDP continues to change the debate over support for the arts from “either/or” to “both/and.” By providing the sector with high-quality, longitudinal data, the CDP enables cultural advocates and policymakers to make arts and culture part of the broader data-driven conversation about how best to strengthen communities.

References

Jackson, M. & J. Herranz, (2002). Culture counts in communities: A framework for measurement. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute.

NGA Center for Best Practices. (2010). Arts and the Economy: Using Arts and Culture to Stimulate State Economic Development. Washington, DC: NGA Center for Best Practices.

Schuster, J.M. (1997). The performance of performance indicators in the arts. Nonprofit Management and Leadership. 7(3):253-269.

LGBT and Athletics

The sporting world at its best represents values to strive for—community, teamwork, commitment, sacrifice and self-discovery. The climate toward LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) inclusion in sports has been hostile or indifferent. The general concern has been that people who choose to share their entire selves with their teams will be met with hostility, thereby creating unsafe spaces for LGBT athletes to fully embrace the athletic experience. From collegiate to sponsorships, the exclusionary environment has led to outright hostility. From 1980 to 2007, Penn State women’s basketball coach Rene Portland kicked anyone off the team if she suspected she was a lesbian. Despite denying being a lesbian in 1981, Billie Jean King, professional tennis player, lost all commercial sponsorships when an ex-partner sued her. Based on these cases, any LGBT athlete who sought to feel wholly part of the team would surely have been greeted with animosity.

As the Supreme Court of the United States heard arguments over the constitutionality of gay marriage, various media outlets reported that public perception was shifting towards a more inclusive view. For the first time in history, an American president went public with his support for gay marriage. These milestones marked a social climate that might have paved the way for additional progress across all spheres in society. In April 2013, the conversation turned from gay marriage to LGBT athletes in professional sports when the top selection in the WNBA draft, Brittney Griner, came out to the public as gay. While other professional athletes have come out as gay, they have done so during retirement. Griner will represent a key figure in how the major American sports adapt to LGBT athletes. Several weeks later, Jason Collins, currently an NBA free agent, was the first male professional athlete to come out as gay to Sports Illustrated. Between Brittney Griner and Jason Collins, the conversation regarding how the major American sports, media and fans were prepared to greet this newly exposed group reached its peak.

GO! Athletes

Despite recent fascination over how professional sports accepts LGBT athletes, student organizations have been making tremendous efforts to educate communities on the benefits of inclusionary practices in athletics. Rather than wait for the world to offer up a LGBT professional athlete role model, these groups sought to become pioneers for their successors. GO! Athletes represents that kind of group. The GO! Athletes model followed the successful efforts of Paul Farber, who started PATH—Penn Athletes & Allies Tackling Homophobia—in 2003 when it was the only LGBT student-athlete organization in the country. PATH’s mission is to promote dialogue and create a safe environment for LGBT individuals in the UPENN athletic community. Having been involved in PATH since its early years, GO! Athletes executive director Anna Aagenes sought to bring those two communities together because, she says, “there was so much misunderstanding, false stereotypes and athletes that still did not feel safe coming out to teammates or coaches.” Originally called Our Group from 2008 to 2012, the organization relaunched as GO! Athletes in 2012. Later that year, in December, GO! Athletes became a 501(c)(3) organization. With the mission to bring together a national network of LGBTQA  (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, ally) student-athletes to support each other in their experiences coming out and battling homophobia, transphobia, racism, sexism and other forms of intolerance in the world of athletics (GO! Athletes, 2012). GO! Athletes offers:

  1. Confidential peer support for LGBTQ student athletes
  2. Consultation for coaches, staff and team leaders on how to be inclusive and create safe team environments
  3. An active network of out LGBTQ students to empower one another on a local and national level
  4. Educational materials to create your own GO! Athletes chapter
  5. Speaking events such as deynote presentations or panel events
  6. Workshop facilitation on LGBTQ inclusion in sports
  7. Mentoring (coming soon)

GO! Athletes carries out these activities with the ultimate objectives of increasing visibility by educating, supporting, advocating and leading LGBT athletes across the nation. The GO! Athletes network is made up of approximately 15 universities across the country including University of Pennsylvania, Yale University, Berkley, University of Miami in Ohio and Brown University. While each organization is affiliated with GO! Athletes and has access to all GO! Athletes resources and staff, programming, missions and activities are driven by each school. Therefore, each chapter can cater to the needs of its constituents because each uniquely understands the circumstances on its own campus.

Innovation in Building a Shared Narrative

GO! Athletes shares its identity as a leader in the LGBT in athletics movement with other entities like Outsports.com, the You Can Play Project and GLSEN (Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network). Common among these groups is their use of building community to increase awareness among LGBT athletes through the use of personal narratives. This approach offers “closeted” individuals and the general public a view of how prevalent, beautiful and varied LGBT athletes’ experiences can be. Aagenes says that what makes GO! Athletes innovative is that their “youth are using the resources that we [GO! Athletes] have and deeply connecting on a national level and forming friendships through our identity and sharing our identity process. There is no other group that helps athletes connect with other athletes in this way.” GO! Athletes taps into a deeply rooted acceptance of the concept of chosen family. Within this surrogate family, LGBT athletes find a safe space in their athletic world to share themselves, which historically has not been a possibility for others. This has been done most effectively through its grassroots, bottom-up approach to culture change. On Aagenes’s personal webpage, she received a comment from a woman who said, “I was a student-athlete in college in the South during the 1980s and was bullied and harassed after coming out. I know that many of our LGBTQ youth will be spared such horrible experiences because of the work that you are doing. You have a new fan down in Memphis, TN!”  By educating athletic departments, coaches, teammates and peers, GO! Athletes disempowers hetero-normative perspectives that allow for the locker room, bathroom and cafeteria to be hot spots for bullying. This education occurs as GO! Athletes members take their stories to conferences, universities and blogs. These approaches allow them to activate LGBT and ally communities to champion inclusivity. GO! Athletes hosts a weekly blog series called “Winning Wednesdays” in which LGBT athletes share their personal narratives. Winning Wednesdays reaches 7,000 people during an average week: During the Griner and Collins news cycles, Winning Wednesdays reached up to 25,000. These personal narratives offer support to student-athletes during their out processes because they give the students visibility. Aagenes says that if “you don’t identify then you feel invisible.”

Outcomes and Future of GO! Athletes

While the nation is witnessing a shift in public perception regarding LGBT issues, Aagenes considers sports to be the last frontier where homophobia remains an accepted way of life. In a May 2013 survey distributed to constituents, members agreed that GO! Athletes offered them the opportunity to begin addressing homophobia in sports by creating an out community of athletes. In response to what motivated someone to be involved with GO! Athletes, a respondent said that there were no “groups for out athletes and no one talks about these issues.” Another respondent noted that, “learning about the experiences shared by other gay athletes and how to use them to educate others” has been the most positive aspect of being involved with GO! Athletes. As a new organization, GO! Athletes has yet to collect quantitative outcomes. However, these responses demonstrate how influential personal narratives from professional athletes and peers can shape a movement.

Until the out athlete becomes common, GO! Athletes will continue to strive toward educating individuals through a variety of routes. Understanding that the replicability of the GO! Athletes model is critical to achieving its mission. GO! Athletes is proud of its presence in a booklet issued by the NCAA called “Champions of Respect.” This booklet offers college athletic programs and athletes a resource on best practices regarding ensuring an inclusionary culture in schools. Being included in this resource signals recognition within the NCAA that GO! Athletes is a program well-suited for supporting LGBT student-athletes.

In addition to working to facilitate replicability, much effort has gone toward gaining exposure of the GO! Athletes mission and building infrastructure. In June 2013, the group sent approximately 15 members to the NIKE Summit in Portland, Oregon. There, attendees had the opportunity to connect with other organizations and individuals motivated by a similar goal. In the coming year, GO! Athletes aims to conduct workshops at ten universities and five high schools across the country. GO! Athletes seeks to fortify its operations by seeking grant funding and by fund-raising through private and business donors. With additional funding, GO! Athletes will be able to expand its cadre of educational and promotional materials and offer additional support to its general operating costs. Through fund-raising, GO! Athletes also seeks to build a fund to allow members to visit schools that do not have the finances to pay for their visits. GO! Athletes will continue to remain a national leader in the inclusionary movement of LGBT individuals in athletics as they represent the role models youth need.

ARTICLE UPDATE:  Guest writer Lypheng Kim, 18 years old, recently published his story on the GO! Athletes blog. To read Lypheng's story, visit http://goathletes.org/go-athletes-blog/141-lypheng-s-story.html.

For over 100 years, community art centers have supplemented or even replaced arts education in local schools.They help to provide a place where students can learn about the arts, where the community can be enriched, and where artists can work and perform.According to Jessica Hoffman Davis of Harvard University, local community-based art centers can help sustain the arts, particularly in communities where they are marginalized (2010). Especially over the past 20 years, as arts programs in schools have become more endangered, such community centers have helped to fill in gaps.

Generally such centers have been founded for one of two purposes, either to provide classes to children or revitalization for impoverished neighborhoods, generally in school districts where arts education is most often eliminated (Strom 1999). Few, however, seem to serve entire regions or to cultivate the arts in ways that resonate with students. But at Limelight Arts in Philadelphia, amore holistic approach is evident. Limelight Arts not only fills in gaps opened up by the school system, but has created a new way for students and communities to think about the importance of the arts.

Around the country, schools are eliminating arts education programs and relying on partnerships with outside organizations to provide such services (Castaneda and Rowe 2006).Philadelphia is certainly no exception. With nearly 150,000 students enrolled in the over 300 public and charter schools throughout Philadelphia (School District of Philadelphia 2011), and an annual budget of over $2.7 billion (School District of Philadelphia n.d.), a minority of students are receiving a thorough arts education in school. According to the The Philadelphia Public School Notebook, in 2006, 119 (44%) of district-run schools do not have a vocal music teacher, 109 schools (41%) lack an art teacher, and 57 schools have neither (Davis 2006).Programs such as the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program have attempted to mitigate the decline by offering after-school programs, and other initiatives have formed in Philadelphia such as the Settlement Music School (http://www.smsmusic.org/home.php) and the School of Rock (http://www.schoolofrock.com/index.php), but have not substantially counteracted the ongoing demise of in-school arts education.

Educator and Limelight Arts President, Frank Machosnoticed the decline in arts programs and sought to cultivate the arts in an innovative way.As he explains, “There were constraints within the schools’ arts programs and they weren’t cohesive with pop culture. ”Many programs offer a scholastic and life skills approach or teach topics like Beethoven and Picasso, but are not specifically designed to use works of artists that students may already like, such as Jay-Z or Alicia Keys. Machos is a graduate of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and a music teacher atGrover Washington, Jr. Middle School in Philadelphia; he co-founded Limelight Arts in 2008 along with Charles Ortiz (Vice President), Avery Coffee (Treasurer), Heidi Breuer (Secretary), and Dr. Dennis Creedon, all of whom wanted to offer three things: to provide an “innovative, culturally relevant, studentinterest driven, world-class music and performing arts” program, to make it available for students residing within the greater Philadelphia area (not just a particular neighborhood), and to cater to an incredibly diverse population beyond what has traditionally been served by community art centers.

Limelight Arts offers programs in theater arts, dance, Latin music ensemble, and vocal and instrument instruction. To make curricula “culturally relevant,” Limelight Artsmakes availablecourses in hip hop and other musical forms that students enjoy, and the staffstay immersed in pop culture by keeping informed with what is current, listening to the radio, watching music videos, and stayingup-to-datewith the latest entertainment technology. Limelight Arts facilities have a digital music lab that has recording and editing equipment, band rehearsal space and equipment.

According to Machos, Limelight Arts strives to make services “affordable and accessible to all students in Philadelphia” and to provide “a safe, yet fun environment.”The organization prides itself on being able to offer state-of-the-art programs at minimal cost to the students, with most classes starting at $10 a week for 45-minute sessions.Individualized programs, like private lessons, are still generously priced at $25 (30 minutes) and $45 (60 minutes) per week. Limelight Arts also prides itself on the ability to offer their programs to serve students with special needs. “As Limelight came to fruition it was a no brainer to [incorporate a program for special needs children],” Machos says. “It was rewarding to see them smile and enjoy the music. They were used to classes [that were] more clinical; we wanted a place for them to have fun and feel like they were part of a group. ”According to Machos, offering special needs children the same programs offered to the children without disabilities is an unusual innovation for community arts organizations.

So what is next for this innovative organization? Limelight Arts hopes to continue to expand its operations, and theyare working with the Kendrick and Gustine recreational centers (in the Manayunk and East Falls sections of Philadelphia, respectively) to do so. Mr. Machos also hopes to offer music therapy and other programs geared to those students with special needs.

References

Castaneda, L.W. and M.K. Rowe. (2006). Partnerships in Arts Education: An Examination of Factors Predicting Schools’ Use of Arts Organizations. Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society, 36: 7-8.

Davis, B. (2006, May). With Budget Tightening, Arts education is Further Squeezed. The Philadelphia Public School Notebook. Available at http://www.thenotebook.org/may-2006/061110/budgets-tightening-arts-education-further-squeezed.

Davis, J.H. (2010). Learning from Examples of Civic Responsibility: What Community-Based Art Centers Teach Us About Arts Education. The Journal of Aesthetic Education, 44: 82.

School District of Philadelphia. (2011, September 30). Enrollment – District Operated Schools. Accessed December 6, 2012, http://www.phila.k12.pa.us/about/#enrollment.

School District of Philadelphia.(n.d.)Budget.Accessed December 10, 2012, http://www.phila.k12.pa.us/about/#budget.

Strom, E. (1999). Let’s Put on a Show! Performing Arts and Urban Revitalization in Newark, New Jersey. Journal of Urban Affairs, 21:423-424.

About The Jazz Bridge Project

The Jazz Bridge Project is a nonprofit organization that brings jazz enthusiasts together with jazz vocalists and musicians in crisis. Founded by jazz musicians Suzanne Cloud and Wendy Simon, Jazz Bridge’s mission is to assist local jazz performers with emergencies involving personal and professional issues, while building neighborhood awareness of the local jazz community. Jazz Bridge funds this mission via merchandise sales, neighborhood concerts, donations and grant funding.


Jazz and Poverty

If asked about their profession, many jazz musicians would tell you that having embarked on their chosen career is the same thing as having taken a vow of poverty. In a March 2012 New York Times article, author James C. McKinley Jr. spoke of “the plight of elderly jazz musicians who lack pension benefits” (McKinley 2012). According to a survey done by the Future of Music Coalition, independent jazz musicians on average made approximately $23,000 in 2011 (JJA Editor 2012). On December 13, 1995, the Philadelphia Weekly began its first annual jazz issue by saying “No group in this city has been as consistently undernourished and underappreciated as the jazz community” (Adler 2008).

Founded in 2005 as a response to a call to action felt by Wendy Simon and Suzanne Cloud, the Jazz Bridge Project attempts to fill the needs of an impoverished jazz community (Cloud 2012). Often living and working without health insurance or retirement benefits, many musicians rely on the aid provided by Jazz Bridge to overcome such hurdles as terminal illness, legal issues, sub-standard living conditions and navigating complex municipal systems.


Supporting Philadelphia’s Jazz Community

When asked about the significance of jazz and jazz musicians in Philadelphia, Suzanne Cloud said, “Jazz is America's only original cultural export to the world and Philadelphia is a historic city in that it helped give birth to the genre of hard bop and gave the jazz genius John Coltrane to the world. There are only a few American cities that can claim to have made a large footprint in American jazz, and Philadelphia is one of them.”

Since its origin, the Jazz Bridge Project has helped over 250 people in person and provided resources to hundreds more online. Jazz Bridge helps people of all ages and with all types of issues. In a JazzTimes article by Nat Hentoff, Cloud and Simon said, “We’ve helped musicians get medical and dental care, eye exams and legal help. We replaced drummer Billy James’ drum set when he lost everything in a fire, and bought him a new suit so he could continue playing gigs. And we’ve paid funeral costs for local, yet famous, musicians whose families could not afford to bury them” (Hentoff 2008).

Buying drums and paying funeral cost are examples of only one half of the Jazz Bridge Project’s bicameral mission to assist local jazz performers with emergencies involving personal and professional issues, while building neighborhood awareness of the local jazz community.

The organization’s attention to both parts of its dual-pronged mission has helped grow its neighborhood concert series from one to five locations.

These locations include:

  • Kennett Square at the Kennett Square Flash,
  • Media, PA at the Unitarian Universalist Church,
  • Center City Philadelphia at the Society Hill Playhouse,
  • Cheltenham, PA at the Cheltenham Center for the Arts, and
  • Collingswood, PA at the Collingswood Community Center.

One specific example of the support Jazz Bridge has provided members of the Philadelphia jazz community is documented in a story published in the Newark Star-Ledger about accomplished jazz musician and 91-year-old great-grandfather of six, Charlie Rice (Braun 2008). After Charlie was suspended from his job and charged with stealing gas from the Camden school board, he contacted the Jazz Bridge Project looking for aid in finding legal representation. With Jazz Bridge's assistance, an attorney worked on Charlie's case for over a year, after which the state dropped the charges and Charlie never went to trial.

Some issues aren’t quickly remedied and demand long-term attention, such as the 14 months it took to resolve Charles Ellerbe’s matter. In April 2009, Ellerbe reached out to Jazz Bridge regarding the deed to his home, and mentioned some physical issues with the house. Suzanne Cloud went over to view the dwelling and found the two vacant houses on either side leaning on Ellerbe’s home. Working together, Ellerbe and Jazz Bridge contacted various municipal, nonprofit and political personnel (some repeatedly) for months. The support and thoroughness of the Jazz Bridge Project paid off when demolition of the two vacant houses on either side of Charles’ home began on February 26, 2011 (Cloud 2011).


Localized Jazz Advocacy and Social Services

Jazz Bridge is a localized jazz advocacy machine. Unlike larger, more well-known organizations, like the Jazz Foundation of America, the Jazz Bridge Project prides itself on its family-friendly, neighborhood approach to driving awareness and providing support in crisis.

Jazz advocacy is not a new concept. Local jazz festivals, neighborhood jazz performances, national jazz day events and even jazz appreciation month have been around for years. What’s different about Jazz Bridge is their neighborhood approach to getting the word out and making jazz and jazz-related issues a part of everyday life. The Jazz Bridge Project has made real strides in letting people know about not only the events but also the artists in their own backyards. Amazing performers, in some cases living right next door, are able to share their talents during interactive, family-friendly neighborhood concerts at local venues.

Jazz Bridge maintains its commitment to driving awareness and providing support in crisis by collaborating with greater Philadelphia area venues, such as the upcoming Jazz Photography exhibition at the Kimmel Center, and strategizing with national organizations. Suzanne Cloud and Wendy Simon have an ongoing relationship with Wendy Oxenhorn and the Jazz Foundation of America, whom they credit as “a great inspiration and help” (Hentoff 2008).


In the Future

The neighborhood concert series has grown and the Jazz Bridge Project has various success stories like those of Charles Ellerbe and Charlie Rice under its belt. However, the nonprofit’s co-founders have set their sights on diversifying their contribution to the Greater Philadelphia area.

At some point co-founders Suzanne Cloud and Wendy Simon hope to establish a multi-purpose structure that will contain artistic space for musical expression, living quarters for aging jazz musicians, educational areas for young jazz enthusiasts, and office space for Jazz Bridge (Cloud 2012).

Exciting new events include the first ever Philadelphia jazz photography exhibition at the Kimmel Center. The exhibition, called "Philly Jazz: A View Through the Lens," to be shown on the main plaza of the Kimmel Center throughout the month of April, which is National Jazz Appreciation Month. The photographers being spotlighted in this show are Anthony Dean, Ben Johnson, Howard Pitkow and L. David Hinton. An annual fundraiser was also held on April 27, 2012 at Chris’s Jazz Café to support the organization.

About the Innovators

Besides being the executive director and co-founder of Jazz Bridge, Suzanne Cloud is also a published author, educator, and presenter/lecturer. She is currently an adjunct professor at Rowan University (American Studies program, History Department and the Writing Arts Department); a grant/proposal writer and executive director for Jazz Bridge and a frequent contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer and columnist for JazzTimes magazine. Prior to her work with Jazz Bridge, she was a jazz singer-songwriter with more than a few recording projects and reviews to her name.

Wendy Simon is an accomplished vocalist, lecturer, choreographer, and teacher with decades of music- related experience under her belt. She is currently a Music Educator at Springfield Township Middle School where she established the music curriculum for grades 5-7, directs and conducts two mixed choirs and creates/directs all drama workshops and musical and dramatic stage productions. Prior to this she was an adjunct professor at Arcadia University where she established curriculum for the contemporary vocal ensemble and conducted concerts. Before that she led workshops on “Jazz Vocal Styles for Broadway”, composed arrangements and taught vocal techniques for the musical theater department at the University of the Arts Master Class as an instructor. Wendy has also been featured in various jingles, studio recordings and concerts throughout her career.

References

Adler, D. (2008, April 9). The Beats Go On. Philadelphia Weekly. Available at http://pwblogger.com/articles/16790/cover-story.

Braun, B. (2008, July 10). A drumbeat of support greets a veteran jazzman in legal trouble. Newark Star-Ledger. Available at http://www.nj.com/newark/index.ssf/2008/07/a_drumbeat_of_support_greets_a.html.

Cloud, S (2011, April 9). Derelict Houses and Racoons – Resolved! Available at http://www.jazzbridge.org/2011/04/09/derelict-houses-and-racoons-resolved/.

Cloud, S. (2012, March 14). Phone Interview.

Hentoff, N. (2008, November). A Jazz Bridge to Musicians in Need. JazzTimes. Available at http://jazztimes.com/articles/20897-a-jazz-bridge-to-musicians-in-need.

JJA Editor. (2012, February 17). Average income, jazz musicians: $23,000? JJA News. Available at http://news.jazzjournalists.org/2012/02/average-income-jazz-musicians-23000/.

McKinley Jr., J.C. (2012, March 1). Jazz Musicians Expend Pension Protest. New York Times. Available at http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/01/jazz-musicians-expand-pension-protest/.

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