The New Jersey Jazz Society funds annual partial scholarship grants at each of the four New Jersey colleges with degree programs in Jazz Studies: Rutgers University, William Paterson University, Rowan University and New Jersey City University.
The one or two annual awards to Rutgers students are funded by The Pee Wee Russell Memorial Scholarship Fund, an endowment established by the NJJS and the Rutgers University Foundation in 1972 with revenue generated from the original Pee Wee Russell Memorial Stomp. That inaugural event, which led directly to the formation of the New Jersey Jazz Society, has been presented consecutively for the past 39 years and annually features the organization’s scholarship awards presentation ceremony.
In the early years proceeds from the Stomp and endowment contributions were significant, as the musicians donated their services. Over the years the Society has run additional events and developed other sources of revenue that allowed it to make contributions to the fund from time to time enabling it to become self-sustaining. The one or two recipients of the annual grants, which cover only a portion of tuition, are determined solely by the Rutgers University Foundation. Jazz luminary Terence Blanchard was a recipient in 1982.
Over time the NJJS has established a practice of awarding partial annual scholarship grants to a student at each of the three other New Jersey colleges with Jazz Studies degree programs from its general operating fund. The faculties of the respective colleges select the students who receive these grants.
The funding of Jazz Studies scholarships is an important priority of the NJJS, with a goal making grants that cover a significant portion of educational costs. However, due to rising event production costs and increasing competition from other cultural and entertainment events, declining revenue from traditional sources over the past several years has not allowed the Society to significantly increase allocations to the funding of scholarships commensurate with the rising costs of higher education.
Until now the NJJS has not solicited donations specifically for the funding of Jazz Studies scholarships. The reality is that the Society’s goal in this regard cannot be met without generous financial contributions from people who ardently believe in the importance of support for the preservation and advancement of America’s only indigenous art form. What better way to express that support than to help provide for the education of the next generation of jazz musicians?
With that in mind we ask you to invest in jazz’s future today with a contribution to the New Jersey Jazz Society earmarked for its scholarship fund. The NJJS is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and all contributions are tax deductible to the extent allowable by law. Scholarship donations will be deposited to a separate account restricted to the use of funding Jazz Studies scholarships. For scholarship fund contributions of $1,000 or more the donor will be deemed a Lifetime Member of the Jazz Society with all the rights, privileges and services provided to annually renewed members for life.
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To contribute to the NJJS Scholarship Fund
Make checks payable to “NJJS Scholarship” and mail to:
c/o Mike Katz
382 Springfield Ave. Suite 217
Summit, NJ 07901
For more information contact James Pansulla at
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