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Can the JJA sustain a signature activity?

Jazz Awards 2018 in jeopardy

Feb 4th, 2018 | By

The 2018 JJA Jazz Awards, presented annually since 1996, will be discontinued if new leadership is not found to spearhead the complex, time-consuming and costly activity. Consider this email a call to JJA

members interested in taking up the effort — at the very least by considering what benefits the Awards bring to the JJA as well as to the musicians and journalists they honor.

These are the tasks required for producing the Jazz Awards:

  • Fundraising
  • reviewing ballot
  • soliciting nominations
  • creating and supervising juries for Photo of the Year, Short Form News Video of the Year and more
  • tabulating first round of nominations (this cannot be automated)
  • preparing finalist ballot
  • tabulatingvotes (easy, automated)
  • ordering manufacture of Awards
  • announcing winners via press release
  • notifying winners
  • soliciting presentations of Awards (mailing statuettes to presenters)
  • organizing presentations by JJA members, at winners’ performances across the US
  • followup reporting/posting online of presentations
This summary does not emphasize enough how fundraising is a major task. The costs of the statuettes’ manufacture and shipping, and a Jazz Awards party such as we’ve had annually in NYC, can easily cost in total well over $10,000. We are currently offering title sponsorship for $15,000. (The Sponsors and Supporters Benefit sheet is available by request from President@jazzjournalists.org).
If the amount of funds raised permitted, compensation could be offered to a producer of the Awards initiative, but the Jazz Awards were originally mounted as a campaign meant to raise funds to supplement those coming to the JJA via members’ dues. Although the JJA has enjoyed financial support from a number of jazz-related entities, their contributions have declined precipitously since 2004, and several sponsors have not renewed their contributions. Over the course of the past five years, fundraising has flattened to only cover the costs associated directly with the Awards, and those costs have been trimmed to their limits.

Having run the Awards for 22 years — only taking compensation once — I can no longer devote the time and energy necessary to the project.  If somebody will step up to take it on, I’m happy to consult as to how it can be done, and help to some extent.

If you are interested in helping the JJA Jazz Awards to continue in 2018, please email me at President@jazzjournalists.org. To maintain the timeline established for the Jazz Awards, first round nominations must be solicited by Friday, March 2.

thanks, Howard Mandel

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