The Kennedy Dancers, a highly regarded Arts Institution in Jersey City, NJ, for more than 45 years, have now been forced to spend more than $10,000 in Defense of their non-profit status due to an over-aggressive Jersey City Tax Collector who has deemed the organization as not an asset to Jersey City. This same tax collector has already attempted to tax local Houses of Worship and Jersey City-based non-profit radio station WFMU until he met a stiff considerable listenership resistance.
The Kennedy Dancers are an I.R.S. Certified 501C3 Non-Profit Organization.
A uniquely Federal Authorization!
Since 1976, The Kennedy Dancers have offered:
• A Professional Dance company performing original choreographies, many of which were inspired by real Hudson County Stories.
• An Inner City Youth Dance Training Program which has offered free dance training to hundreds of young students.
• Free Senior Dance, exercise, and fitness classes six days a week.
In 1996, the Kennedy Dancers purchased 79 Central Avenue, an old (closed by the Drug Enforcement Agency) Bar (Beacon Lounge) at Beacon Ave and Central, thus establishing the Kennedy Dancers Repertory Center’s place.
Upstairs is home to DANCE VISTA Productions, which produces The Kennedy Dancers television productions, performances and recitals.
In 2000, The Kennedy Dancers purchased 126 Beacon next door to house a music room, wardrobe room, small dance studio, and upstairs lives a caretaker for both buildings.
In addition to the free grant-enabled classes, the Kennedy Dancers also offer low price Dance and Fitness to children and families.
Living in the real world, the Kennedy Dancers must pay staff, utilities, endless handyman repairs and maintenance, building and liability insurance, unemployment insurance, ASCAP, facility rentals for performances, etc.
The tax collector does not think there should be fees for classes or admission charges to professional dance concerts (which pays professional dancers to perform their art). He believes that volunteers should always help out and that the Kennedy Dancers should not function as a “business.”
Now, after the tax collector has consistently postponed meetings, negotiations and arbitration, the Kennedy Dancers must keep paying lawyers to represent this non-profit institution.
How ironic that the untaxed tax collector’s office that has created this dilemma (with taxpayer-funded free legal counsel) is forcing a nonprofit to hire costly representation to defend what the Federal Government has already declared..that the Kennedy Dancers are a non-taxable entity.
Churches have Bingo Nights and Feasts to help pay bills.
Radio stations have Fund-Raisers.
Fraternal Organizations have Fundraisers and Dances.
The Kennedy Dancers raise needed monies through Dance Classes and Theme Nights while also providing free classes and concerts.
As we look around at the Billion Dollar Tax Abated properties, this Tax Collector is grabbing at the low-hanging fruit of a creative Arts Institution founded and still presided over by Diane Dragone. The Kennedy Dancers are looking forward to celebrating 50 years as a cultural institution with a performance at a newly refurbished Loews Jersey Theater.
Although the Mayor has declared that he is not on board with the Jersey City Tax Collector’s intentions, he says that he has no influence over him.
Please don’t allow a heartless Tax Collector who doesn’t consider our Arts Institution an asset to the community to continue his assault on Art in Jersey City.
We need you to speak up!
No Grant money is earmarked for Legal Services and that is why we are asking you to help the Kennedy Dancers defend a nearly 50-year-old Non-Profit Arts Institution that has given so much art to Jersey City and is a durable and living part of our cultural fabric.
Please stand with an Arts Institution that Has Been an ASSET to Jersey City for more than 45 years. Please consider donating to our defense fund.