Community Foundation Grant Helps Create Endowment for ‘Jazz in the Classroom’
CLAYTON — A program that teaches students about jazz music and enhances their artistic abilities is on a path to continue for years to come thanks to a recent Community Foundation grant.
Grant support totaling $20,000 to ensure the long-term sustainability of Clayton Jazz Festival’s “Jazz in the Classroom” program was approved earlier this year. The award will help fund the educational initiative over three years and is supported, in part, by the Grace L. Reinman Fund of the Community Foundation. To help establish and build a permanent Jazz in the Classroom Endowment Fund at the foundation, a $5,000 grant was awarded with an additional $5,000 commitment to match gifts.
“The endowment will help us bridge any gaps in program funding year to year and bring longevity to the program,” said Michelle Grybowski, Jazz in the Classroom program coordinator. “This experience is so unique, and it may supplement things that aren’t able to happen in the classroom. There is a great chance for this program to have a legacy.”
An extension of the annual Clayton Jazz Festival, the Jazz in the Classroom program has been a transformational musical and educational experience for Jefferson County students since 2017. The Community Foundation has supported the festival and its school-based education program since 2015.
“The value of this musical and arts program and experience on local students is immeasurable. The Foundation is fortunate to have been a partner on this endeavor early on, said Max DelSignore, Community Foundation assistant director. We wanted to ensure our belief in the program through this commitment. There is a great opportunity for the community to support Jazz in the Classroom now and build for its future.”
Organizers plan to schedule the next program in March 2021, offering the experience to students in Watertown High School, Belleville-Henderson and Immaculate Heart Central School. Its rotation to different Jefferson County schools each year has been one of the most impressive aspects of its success, allowing students to participate while also building confidence and self-esteem in young artists.
Mrs. Grybowski said the program’s success is a testament to its partnership with the Community Foundation and its commitment to support local arts and education.
“We are doing something so good for the youth in our community,” she said. “Ultimately, students are going to have a true live music experience that gives them a wider world vision of music. It’s the idea that music can be fun and help keep us connected.”
To join in support for Jazz in the Classroom, gifts may be made to the program’s endowment fund at Northern New York Community Foundation, 131 Washington St., Watertown, NY 13601, or through secure online giving at www.nnycf.org.
About the Northern New York Community Foundation
Since 1929, the Northern New York Community Foundation has invested in improving and enriching the quality of life for all in communities across Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.
Through partnerships with businesses and organizations, charitable foundations, and generous families and individual donors, the Community Foundation awards grants and scholarships from an endowment and collection of funds that benefit the region. Its commitment to donors helps individuals achieve their charitable objectives now and for generations to come by preserving and honoring legacies of community philanthropy while inspiring others.
The Community Foundation is a resource for local charitable organizations, donors, professional advisors and nonprofit organizations. It also works to bring people together at its permanent home in the Northern New York Philanthropy Center to discuss challenges our communities face and find creative solutions that strengthen the region and make it a great place to live, work, and play.