[JPL] The official word from IAJE

EdBride at aol.com EdBride at aol.com
Fri Apr 18 17:20:08 EDT 2008

Members of IAJE received this official notification by email  today,
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  
this report.

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 
inquiries: _ljazzmanf at yahoo.com_ (mailto:ljazzmanf at yahoo.com) .

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 
_info at iaje.org_ (mailto:info at iaje.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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