Friday, March 28, 2008

IAJE's most challenging time...

The most challenging time in the Association’s history.

For nearly 40 years, IAJE has played an absolutely vital role in assuring the continued worldwide growth and development of jazz and jazz education. Although IAJE employs professional staff dedicated to carrying out our collective mission, it is you, our members, who have supported and shaped the organization into what it is today – the gathering point for the worldwide jazz community!

If you have ever attended the Annual International Conference, read a helpful article in the Jazz Education Journal, attended a Teacher Training Institute, received guidance or information from the expert Resource Team, or grown in any number of ways from making new contacts with IAJE’s diverse and dedicated membership, you know the value of IAJE firsthand. IAJE is a passionate and respected advocate for jazz in our society and jazz education in our schools. Quite simply, there is no association like it!

Unfortunately, IAJE presently finds itself facing significant challenges that threaten its ability to continue to meet its vital mission.
* IAJE’s Campaign for Jazz, envisioned over 5 years ago as a means of endowing IAJE’s programs and thus (ironically) assuring its fiscal stability, has not performed as hoped or expected. The initial investment necessary to launch the Campaign was quite significant and, while many have been quite generous with their pledges of support, the money has arrived much slower than anticipated or needed. In short, IAJE invested heavily in this campaign and has not come close to recouping its expenses, resulting in the accumulation of significant debt.
* The Toronto conference, while an incredible event (and the usual great “hang”), experienced very poor attendance – down by nearly 40% from previous years. Many factors beyond IAJE’s control influenced this: the high cost of airfares, the weakness of the American dollar, and new passport requirement for U.S. citizens. Nevertheless, this situation left us with an additional debilitating financial loss.

Given the cumulative and devastating effect of these setbacks, the Board has had to take a realistic look at our current financial position and has made the very difficult decision to temporarily suspend the following programmatic operations for the time being so that we may focus all of our attention on the health of this vital association. This will include the:

* Search for a new Executive Director
* Park City Jazz Summit in Park City, Utah
* All scholarship programs
* Production of the Jazz Education Journal

The IAJE website will continue to operate along with opportunities for members to access the Resource Team, online publications, and other member benefits. Current plans are to resume publication of the JEJ as early as the end of summer.

A Transition Team has been appointed by the Board to help guide IAJE through this difficult time. As an association that has seen phenomenal growth in both its membership and programming over the past 40 years, we have reached a point where significant changes have to be made. Therefore, we anticipate utilizing this as an opportunity to restructure the Association in ways that will not only ensure its future fiscal health but will position it to better meet the needs of our members. To facilitate this restructuring, we will, therefore, be postponing Executive Board elections until later this summer. Ultimately, we are confident that IAJE will emerge from this a much stronger, more vibrant association.

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