The Jazz Foundation of America (JFA) is committed to providing jazz and blues musicians with financial, medical, housing, and legal assistance as well as performance opportunities, with a special focus on the elderly and veterans who have paid their dues and find themselves in crisis due to illness, age and/or circumstance. JFA achieves its mission through compassionate and personalized social work care that restores dignity and hope to their clients. JFA is saving jazz and blues “one musician at a time.”
For 22 years, the Jazz Foundation has been the only national organization dedicated to saving the homes and lives of elder jazz and blues musicians in crisis – musicians who have make our world richer through their music. JFA has grown to support over 6,000 cases a year with emergency assistance and work opportunities. Every day, the foundation helps clients in need who often have nowhere else to turn: their Emergency Assistance program keeps the electricity on, the rent or mortgage paid, and food on the table, in addition to counseling and referrals for pro bono services.
In 1989, co-founders Herb Storfer, Ann Ruckert, Cy Blank, Phoebe Jacobs and Dr. Billy Taylor had a simple vision: to create an organization dedicated to preserving the history and future of jazz and to promote jazz, in all its shapes and forms, to the public.
Thanks to three established jazz musicians – Jamil Nasser, Jimmy Owens and Vishnu Wood – it was brought to the attention of the group that there was no one out there taking care of elder jazz musicians in crisis. So many of them were without health insurance, pension plans or any savings, since most recordings never paid royalties, just one time buy outs which didn’t pay much. Nasser, Owens and Wood became the organization’s outreach network, connecting musicians in need of rent money or medical payments to the founders.more » « less