Back in May we reported that we received a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) award for the third Baltimore Jazz Fest, and that got me wondering – do you know how your BJA is funded? And how we use those funds? As you may know, BJA is a small organization, run by volunteers for the good of the community (we hope), without staff, rent, or many of the other operating expenses of a larger, more traditional non-profit. We do have some regular expenses, including maintenance of our website, and creation of this newsletter, but most of our budget is funneled straight back to you, our jazz community, in the form of special events, sponsored performances, member grants, and educational programs.
Our most recent annual report shows this clearly (you can find the report at https://www.baltimorejazz.com/about/). In fiscal year 2022, nearly half of BJA’s budget went toward producing our Baltimore Jazz Fest, with other performances, newsletter, and the Baltimore Jazz Conference taking up 12%, 3%, and 13%, respectively. Only about 15% of our budget was spent on overhead (like web servers, insurance, and bank fees), while 7% was spent on grants to members for projects they proposed.
Just under 13% of our income came directly from our members in the form of dues and direct contributions – a significant amount and one that tells us and our other funders how much we mean to the community. But the majority of the money we spend on events, programs, and information comes from public and corporate sources including not only the NEA, but from the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts (BOPA), the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC), Johns Hopkins University (JHU), along with a number of other small businesses and corporate donors.
We are extremely grateful for this support from all of these sponsors, but we know that none of them is a bottomless well, and we are continually seeking new sources of funding so that we can continue to support programs and events in the Baltimore region. FY22 was great year for the BJA, and we hope to continue to sustain and increase our level of programming in the jazz community for years to come.
To that end, we welcome your support – as a member, as a donor, perhaps as an employee of a corporation with a matching program, or even as a volunteer to help us connect to potential funders. This is your Jazz Alliance, and if we are doing good for our community, it is because of you and your support. Thank you!
Ian Rashkin, a jazz bassist and composer, is former president of the BJA, currently serving as Treasurer. Although he has moved to California, he still provides much support to the BJA.