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Jazz Bridge Project Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Mission: The Jazz Bridge Project is a nonprofit organization that was established by a group of caring jazz musicians and fans dedicated to assisting professional Greater Philadelphia Metro area jazz and blues musicians and vocalists in times of crisis by providing confidential and caring support in keeping with their personal dignity. Through donations, grants, and our neighborhood concerts, Jazz Bridge assists those coping with emergencies involving health, legal, financial, personal and professional needs, while building an awareness of the local jazz sound.

Target demographics: All professional jazz and blues musicians in crisis in the Greater Philadelphia Metro area

Direct beneficiaries per year: About 60 crisis needs and over 130 musicians are employed in our neighborhood jazz/blues concerts

Geographic areas served: Philadelphia, Southern NJ, Wilmington, DE, and Trenton, NJ

Programs: Five Neighborhood Concerts Series from Oct-May Client Crisis Needs

Community Stories

65 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Donor

Rating: 5

We have been attending the Jazz Bridge concerts in Collingswood for the past three years. We look forward to every First Thursday concert and have enjoyed every one. The program and featured musicians are always top notch and professional. Suzanne Cloud is able to plan fantastic programs and invite superb musicians to play.
By bringing other friends to these concerts we have been able to expand the audience and are proud to be part of such a successful program. It is not unusual to even have some of the beneficiaries of this outreach program return and publicly thank jazz bridge for the assistance provided to them.
It is rare in these troubling economic times to be able to experience such a true sense of spirit and sincere generosity of the musical community. We are forever grateful to have an organization like Jazz Bridge here in Collingswood, NJ. M. and F. Gramkowski

Review from Guidestar

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Without the love, dedication and work of JazzBridge and Suzanne Cloud my father's happiness would shine a dimmer light. They (she) has helped tremendously in keeping the flame alive in news reports, newsletters, FYI's for the who what where when of what's happening in jazz, briefs on how folks are doing, obituaries---you name it. My dad was featured in the calendar this year which sparked a light in him and our family. He is recovering in a nursing home after brain surgery and this was one thing we needed to keep all of us going. He is still there and I call him in Philly to read the emails from JazzBridge to him from my home in Virginia and it is truly a great connection. Thank you so much!--Brenda Bailey Williamson

Review from Guidestar

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

One of the co creators of Jazz Bridge is Suzanne Cloud, a lady with a varied and interesting background. She spent 15 years in nursing. She is a professional singer and also teaches American Studies at Rowan University. I spoke to her after attending one of their signature events, a neighborhood concert, led by Michael Pedicin Jr., in Collingswood, NJ. She explained that the Bridge resulted from the medical crisis suffered by pianist and composer Eddie Green in 2004. His was a sadly familiar story; he had no resources when he learned he had terminal pancreatic cancer. As he was both her mentor and friend, Suzanne worked to smooth his last days. In that process, she had an epiphany. “This had to stop. It was a crazy way to deal with this kind of need, just throwing a benefit; tops they would get was maybe $4,000 and that would be it. So they needed an advocate and a place to go to get the resources they needed right away. Why not do it as an organization? The person I thought would be the best person to work with me was Wendy Simon, another singer. We had come up working together in the city through the 80’s and 90’s. I called her and said this is what I want to do and she said ‘Sure’. We got people involved, got our 501C3 with some help from Law Works at Temple University. They did the whole thing pro bono, and that was the beginning of it.”

One way Jazz Bridge has attracted attention is with a series of neighborhood concerts. Suzanne was running these already and folded them into the new organization. These aren’t fund raising events where musicians donate their talents. They are extra venues.”We guarantee each member of the band at least $100, even if no one shows up in the audience. Depending on the head count, their take home pay goes up.” For instance, after a recent success, each artist got $230. Success, however, was not immediate. “Eddie played the very first one. We had 25 people show up. [Laughs] I sang and Eddie played. I struggled through two dicey years. All of it was if I fell short it came out of my pocket. I thought I wasn’t going to be able to keep it up because I couldn’t keep paying. I went to the mayor and Councilwoman Joan Leonard and said, ‘Look I want to do this. Can you support me in some way?’ They were terrific. They said, ‘We’ll help you. We’ll give you the room for nothing and you develop the audience.’ The third year was the first I didn’t have to take any money out of my own pocket. After that it has been running smoothly and we are paying for the room now.” The money they take at the door goes to paying for the room and paying the musicians. Jazz Bridge takes only 15% and that is when there is a good audience.

“We do real well. I don’t have any problem getting people. People beg just to have a place to play. It’s a magical experience. Most musicians aren’t used to people who just sit there listening and know jazz. We pick a musician from that area so it is like neighbors meeting neighbors and having a creative exchange. You can talk to the artist, they are approachable. There are an awful lot of international jazz stars who live in the greater Philadelphia metro area.” Artists like Tyrone Brown, Denis DiBlasio, Bootsie Barnes and Duane Eubanks have all performed for Jazz Bridge.”I just heard from Odean Pope. He wants to work one. I got a phone call from pianist Hal Galper who lives in New York. I said, ‘Do you realize this is a neighborhood concert?’ [Laughs] He said, ‘I heard it’s a great place to play. The audience is great.’ In fact [after his recent gig] Mike Pedicin called me the very next day and said, ’Sue that was such an incredible experience. How can I help Jazz Bridge?’ We are replicating this idea in other towns. We are doing it in Cheltenham now and I’ve been talking to people in Bryn Mawr and Wilmington. I just met with the person who is head of economic development in Swedesboro and their trying to do the same thing.”
There soon may be many more happy jazz fans in South Jersey.

Review from Guidestar

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am very impressed with the goals and accomplishments of Jazz Bridge. This organization works tirelessly and creatively to meet the needs of jazz musicians in crisis situations, and they deserve our continued support.

Jamey Nocks

Review from Guidestar

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

An organization that has the welfare of jazz artists in the community as their primary focus is a great asset. This is what the Jazz Bridge is about. It is concerned with artists dealing with emergency hardships as well as fostering an environment where the art of jazz can continue to flourish. It should be supported by the community at large because it strengthens and supports one of the essential ingredients in any healthy society and that is its artistic life and energy.

Review from Guidestar

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Jazz Bridge is a great resource for jazz and blues artists in the Philadelphia region. It provides financial and emotional support for artists who need a helping hand. Jazz Bridge truly gives back to the community. I've attended many Jazz Bridge concerts in Collingswood, NJ, and have found them professionally executed by its staff and volunteers. In addition, the music is great! Both staff and volunteers really care about the artists they support and will go the extra mile in making sure the artists receive the services they deserve for contributing so much to the cultural landscape of the Philadelphia area.

Review from Guidestar

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I have been attending the Jazzbridge concerts in Collingswood for the past 2-3 years. It is hard to find a regular jazz venue in this area and the performances are balanced with "regulars" and new talent. It is also an opportunity to make jazz affordable to the public and is very reasonable. I am also proud to support an organization that has provided so much support -financial, legal, medical, etc.- to so many struggling jazz musicians and their families! We all wish this creative genre of music to continue and Jazzbridge is active in exposing young people to the music and cultivating young talent. Buy a scarf, a calendar, a CD - attend a concert- just show your support! Janet Greenlee

Review from Guidestar

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Jazz Bridge is one of the most dynamic and important advocates for the greater Philadelphia area jazz community and for those who enjoy listening to this most vulnerable of art forms. They are a vital link between members of the jazz community and all those that appreciate, are inspired by and want to support the music and the musicians that work so hard to keep it alive, fresh and exciting. The concerts that they offer to the various communities wherein they have established venues are highly valued – I’ve been to some in my own community at the Cheltenham Art Center – and I can tell you first-hand that the experience was warm, friendly, comfortable and at the same time very professional and first-rate! Of course, all of this enables them to help jazz musicians during times of crisis and need. I wish them continued success and growth for many years to come – Marc Adler

Review from Guidestar

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I have attended several of the Jazz Bridge neighborhood concerts in Collingswood. They present great talents in a small setting at a
very minimal cost. The newsletter and e-mails are also very informative
about what is happening in the local jazz scene and about the fine work the organization is doing in helping musicians in need.

Review from Guidestar

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I became aware of the Jazz Bridge Project several years ago through a colleague who quickly became a friend: Harrison Ridley. I subscribed to the website, discovered immediately, that Jazz Bridge is extraordinarily responsive to the daily realities and needs of persons within our communities whose creative lives are enriching the culture we know as jazz. Jazz Bridge is a safe-space; a network of resources; a crisis-intervention center; and a community as expansive and embracing as the persons who choose to access, support, and attend to the business of ensuring lives of well-being for our creative artists.

Review from Guidestar

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Went to a jazz concert at the local Unitarian church sponsored by Jazz
Bridge. It was a bright light in the midst of a cold, dreary winter night.
The trio was excellent and the night was wonderful. Please keep it
coming

Review from Guidestar

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Jazz Bridge is doing so much for the "community" that it's hard to adequately quantify herein. A short list:
it sponsors and stages community jazz concerts and programs throughought the Philadelphia metro area;
it connects musicians to gigs, and gigs to musicians; it acts as a gateway and clearinghouse for all manner of professional, medical, legal services, etc. for jazz musicians;
moreover, it promotes a sense that jazz and jazz musicians play a vital part in our culture, which in turn keeps the musicians themselves vital (often quite literally: keeping the musicians employed, healthy, and yes, alive.)
Thank you Jazz Bridge! Keep up the good work.
Others: you can throw your support (financial and otherwise) at Jazz Bridge with complete confidence that your gifts will be used responsibly and thoughtfully.
Yay!

Review from Guidestar

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Jazz Bridge presents high quality performances of regional artists. These concerts are interactive with jazz educators as well as with dedicated supporters. The performances are presented all around the community.

Jazz Bridge is also instrumental in providing important health service information to musicians and performers, and has sponsored many benefit performances assisting musicians in need.

Jazz Bridge is a uniquely dedicated organization., they deserve greater support for their endeavors.

Review from Guidestar

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

WOW, bringing great Jazz musicians to the stage, and educating everyone (me!) about Jazz at the same time. Great artists, great venue and all in cheltenham township.

Review from Guidestar

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

When Suzanne and I co-founded Jazz Bridge five years ago, we thought what a good idea it would be to create an organization to respond to the needs of jazz and blues artists in times of crisis. As vocalists in the jazz community, we saw the personal sacrifices many were making in order to stay on top of their craft. These past five years have been a great adventure in bringing music makers and music lovers together to help those in need. It's the generosity of the jazz community that has provided Jazz Bridge with funds and volunteers to help us grow and fulfill our mission. The needs are as diverse as the musicians, themselves - we replaced a broken washing machine for a slightly disabled performer who was taking care of several grandchildren and had been carrying carloads of laundry to and from the Laundromat; got a new drumset and clothes for a drummer who lost everything in a house fire; advocated for medical health coverage for several musicians/vocalists; paid phone bills in order for musicians to get messages for gigs; set up a volunteer to drive a blind musician to and from jobs; created a fund to help cover medical and personal expenses for a musician's baby who suffered a brain injury in an accidental fall- these are only a handful of over a hundred individuals we've helped. Our website has assisted countless others with information on low and no-cost service providers for a variety of needs. I'm so proud of what we've accomplished and as our reputation is growing, we must grow and get funding so we can have a few paid staff people to enable us to reach the next level.

Review from Guidestar

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I co-founded this nonprofit in 2005 with Wendy Simon Sinkler because of the many musicians I saw over the years who found themselves in crisis due to their courageous choice of dedicating their lives to making jazz music. It's not a life choice that brings in lots of money, 401K plans, health insurance, or even social security many times. From the beginning, Jazz Bridge was able to draw supportive folks as volunteers even though we struggled mightily for money to fulfill our mission. Starting a nonprofit is definitely NOT easy and we had some trying times (if fact we still do). Our biggest problem, right now, is attracting donors with signifcant financial resources to allow Jazz Bridge to hire some full time people, i.e. a volunteer coordinator, a grantwriter, etc. This would push our organization to the next level. I'm confident we'll get there, and with the jazz and blues community behind us, it won't take too long.

Review from Guidestar