INTERNATIONAL WOMEN IN JAZZ, INC. (IWJ) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to supporting women jazz artists and related professionals by increasing greater awareness of the diverse contributions women make to jazz worldwide. Through our programs, IWJ provides opportunities for emerging and experienced talent to be recognized by their peers, the public and larger jazz community. Our network of members creates a forum to share and learn from one another, promote their work and receive timely information and assistance. As such, we are a unique organization with a profound history of event-driven recognition activities positively impacting the jazz community’s young and old. We stand dedicated to actively ensuring a place for women as a vital part of jazz’s past, present and future. To learn more about our history and IWJ, please visit our website: www.internationalwomeninjazz.org and click on the tab about IWJ.
Why are we asking for your help? This year our preeminent Annual International Women in Jazz Festival (presented since 2007) was put on hold for the first time due to escalating costs and a decline in funding from increasingly competitive and limited grant offerings and corporate sponsorships. Facing a budget deficit and shrinking financial resources, it was not possible for us to deliver this signature annual event. In 2018, our total revenue for this wonderful event dropped by 60% from the previous year, primarily due to the entities mentioned above. Therefore, we are setting a 2020 Annual Festival fundraising goal of $10,000.
Why is the IWJ Women in Jazz Festival annual event so important? Every year our intergenerational audience continues to increase as we recognize, honor and celebrate one or more women who have made a significant contribution to the jazz community. We showcase headliners, member musician and youth performances illustrating the powerful connection between our wonderful jazz legacy and those who continue to innovate and carry it forward. Our event includes table talks, networking, educational components and seminars, and vendor representation. Our Annual Festival is not just an event, it is a journey not only for those involved in producing it, but even more so, for our wonderfully talented, aspiring female musicians and Youth in Action participants.
Here are just some examples of our past youth award recipients: • Leonieke Scheuble, dedicated her CD titled “Debut” to IWJ by acknowledging her achievement as the 2013 International Women in Jazz Youth in Action Award Winner. Today, Leonieke is leading her own band. • Wé McDonald, our 2016 Youth in Action award winner went on to win second runner up on the 11th season of The Voice. • Camille Thurman, our 2009 Youth in Jazz award winner, is known today as a composer, instrumentalist, vocalist and interpreter of the jazz tradition; and, • Charenee Wade – singer, composer, arranger and educator - and winner of the 1st IWJ Youth-in-Jazz Award returned twenty years later to headline our 2018 Festival.
Please see our Galleries page at www.internationalwomeninjazz.org
Our annual festival has been one of our core membership offerings and primary vehicle for bringing jazz music to the community on the largest scale possible. The news that our annual festival was “not happening” this year was received by our members and supporters as one of sadness and disbelief – our major performance platform had been sidelined!
Will this impact the future of IWJ? We want you to know that although we are facing some current financial headwinds our spirit is alive and well. To keep us current and in the mix, we have been utilizing our funds for smaller scale events at local community venues, such as our open mic sessions creating opportunities for our members, supporters and the general public. We continue to disseminate information and promote our member’s events and achievements through direct email and our social media sites. We rely on the generous help of volunteers to enhance our website, social media and other services as we better identify the needs and interests of our members. And we continue to explore additional funding resources as they become available to fund our existing offerings and create new possibilities.
Why is your contribution so important? We need to continue to support, educate and nurture our talented youth and offer jazz appreciation for all ages as part of our mission and tradition. IWJ’s love for jazz is profound and we enjoy bringing the music to you – that is why we are appealing to you for your contributions. We need to hear from you, our members and supporters, domestic and international musicians, youth students of jazz, composers and educators and jazz enthusiasts. We invite music schools, educators, foundations, music venues, record labels, recording industry artists and broadcast professionals, business owners, music management professionals, other like organizations and individuals like you…we cannot do this alone.
Please help us bring back our Annual International Women in Jazz Festival for Jazz Appreciation Month, April 2020. IWJ needs to start planning now to secure venues, musicians, etc. to continue our efforts to showcase and emphasize Jazz as an American art form, and to honor, recognize and support women artists who keep it legendary and current. On behalf of our dedicated members, board of directors and as president of IWJ, thank you in advance for your tax-deductible contribution in any amount. Let’s continue the music together!
Jacqueline Lennon, President International Women in Jazz, Inc.
If you would rather send a check than make your donation online, please send it to: International Women in Jazz Park West Station P.O. Box 20674 New York, NY 10025