From: “IAJE” email@example.com
Subject: IAJE files for bankruptcy
Date: Fri, 18 Apr 2008 21:13:42 +0000
INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR JAZZ EDUCATION
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Dear IAJE Family,
It is with a great sense of loss that I inform you that despite drastic efforts
to cut expenses and raise emergency funds, the IAJE Board has voted to file for
bankruptcy under Chapter 7 of the Federal Bankruptcy Law. I want to thank
profusely those who responded with their generous donations and offers of
assistance following my last communication. While over 250 individuals
contributed just over $12,000, this, along with the many other efforts and
contributions of IAJE staff, Board members, and association partners, was simply
not enough to address the accumulated debt of the organization or its urgent
need for cash relief.
In the next few days, a Kansas bankruptcy court will appoint a trustee to
oversee all ongoing aspects of the association. This includes the ability to
examine IAJE’s financial records and mount an independent inquiry into the
causes of it’s financial downfall as well as disposing of the remaining assets
of the association with proceeds distributed to creditors in accordance with
Kansas and Federal law. The board will no longer be involved in operation of
the organization and will at some point resign. IAJE as it presently stands
will no longer exist.
Approximately a week after filing, all potential creditors of the association
will receive notice of the association’s filing from the court. Members who
desire additional information regarding the petition, including a complete
listing of association assets and liabilities, may retrieve this, as it is a
public document, through normal court procedures. Undoubtedly, however, you
will have more immediate questions deserving of responses I hope to address in
Since the first communication to the membership outlining this crisis, there has
been considerable public speculation as to its causes. As noted in that
communication, years of dependence upon the conference as a primary (but
unreliable) revenue stream and the launch of a well-intentioned capital campaign
(the Campaign for Jazz), which generated a meager response but required
considerable expenditures in advance of contributions, drove the association
into insolvency. Sadly, the attendance at the conference in Toronto (the lowest
in 10 years) exacerbated an already critical situation, depriving the
association of the cash-flow needed to continue daily operations as well as the
time needed to seek alternative resources.
While ultimately not able to skirt the financial land mines placed in its path,
I want to assure you the IAJE Board has acted responsibly, ethically, and with a
sense of urgency ever since it was blindsided last fall with the discovery of
the extent of the accumulated association debt. Since that time, the board
slashed spending, set specific performance targets for the Executive Director,
sought outside consultations, and enlisted the services of several
past-presidents and strategic association partners in attempts to raise funds –
sadly, with minimal success.
It goes without saying, the board you elected is comprised of very accomplished,
intelligent, and dedicated educators and professionals who have given generously
of their time in service to this association and care about it passionately.
Likewise, our entire professional staff, led by Associate Executive Director,
Vivian Orndorff, and Executive Producer, Steve Baker, has worked heroically in
the face of declining resources to meet the needs of the association and its
members. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank both the board and staff
for their service. I have been privileged and honored to serve with them.
While there may be those who question specific decisions or strategies in
efforts to meet this crisis, the dedication and integrity of these individuals
should never be in doubt.
As we move forward, one of the most pressing questions is how the operations of
individual chapters and affiliated associations will be affected by this filing.
Since our chapters are either separate corporate entitles or voluntary
associations with their own boards, constitutions and bylaws; IAJE views them as
completely independent entities. Ultimately, however, the trustee and the court
will make this determination and it is anticipated that the trustee may request
certain information from the chapters in this regard.
Sadly, the 2009 IAJE International Conference in Seattle has been cancelled.
However, there has been some discussion of mounting a regional conference in its
place. At the moment, Lou Fischer, U.S. Board Representative is fielding
For the time being, the IAJE website will remain up. However, the international
offices of IAJE will close their doors at the end of the day on Friday, April
18th. Should there be additional questions you may submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org and every attempt will be made to
respond to these as staffing allows.
Today, we, the members of IAJE and the global jazz community, face an extremely
important task. For, as we all recognize, the opportunities, impact, and work
of this association are too vital to simply disappear. Whether you were first
drawn to IAJE for its conference, its magazine or research publications, its
student scholarship programs such as Sisters in Jazz or the Clifford Brown/Stan
Getz All-Stars, its Teacher Training Institutes, the resources provided through
its website or Resource Team, or any one of a number of other offerings; it is
clear the mission of IAJE still resonates and its advocacy is needed today more
than ever. We must, therefore, look at this as an opportunity to refocus the
mission, scope, programs, and vision of IAJE (or whatever succeeds it) to better
meet the needs of our members and the jazz community not only today but looking
toward the future.
I am, in no way, suggesting the membership turn a blind eye towards the need for
an independent inquiry into causes and ultimately assigning responsibility for
this situation. I ask you recognize the court appointed trustee, who will have
access to all necessary documents and facts, is charged with that task. Our
efforts and our passion, should be to collectively rally the community to
recognize the importance IAJE has had and continues to have in the life and
development of jazz and jazz education – seeking new strategic partnerships, new
government structures, and a revitalized mission that embraces current needs.
Already there are efforts to do just that. I know that Mary Jo Papich, who
would have begun serving her term as President of IAJE beginning this July, is
dedicated to recreating such an association. As many know, Mary Jo has been a
tireless advocate for IAJE, serving it long and well. You will, undoubtedly, be
hearing from her in the near future. When she does contact you, I urge you to
join me in offering her every support and assistance. Of course, others may
also seek to fill this void by promoting alternative visions for empowering,
serving, and gathering the jazz community. While I generally believe such
diversity is quite healthy, I would strongly encourage all such efforts and
leaders to attempt to collaborate and seek ways to unite us in spirit and
Finally, I would encourage you to recognize and remember IAJE for all the
tremendous good it has done in the past 40 years. Many individuals have
contributed along the way, often at considerable personal sacrifice of their
time and resources, to establish and advance the work of this association. Much
has been achieved that can never be taken away! Therefore, the vision, effort,
and shared passion that have fueled the growth of IAJE and its programs should
not be forgotten or considered in vain. Rather, the spirit that is IAJE must be
rekindled into a new vision for the future.
The IAJE Board – Chuck Owen, President
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This message has been sent to you by the International Association for Jazz
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