Weekly Notebook

August 5, 2013

Hi Everyone,

This is the first of weekly updates that will be appearing in this space about Jazz Bridge in the spirit of transparency. We want your input (which you can give by emailing us at info@jazzbridge.org) about how we can make our mission work better for the entire community, so feel free to contact us.

Over the almost ten years that we’ve been helping folks, some agonizing situations have developed over rent payments/security deposits. We get a call from someone who is behind in their rent due to a number of things and they ask for help from Jazz Bridge. In a circumstance like that the Jazz Bridge board needs to make a decision as to whether the musician’s rent payment will be financially sustainable in the long run before they decide to pay a musician’s security deposit or rent. For example, a musician may fall behind a month or two due to illness or a sudden, unforeseen problem, but their monthly financial budget is sustainable (meaning their rent can usually be easily paid along with their other expenses). In that case, the Jazz Bridge board will vote to pay that musician’s rent for him or her. However, if, after examination, the board sees that the musician’s monthly budget is NOT sustainable to continue paying the rent, i.e. because a car payment is too high or credit card debt is out the roof, knocking the budget off balance, the Jazz Bridge board will vote to help with the rent, but will ask the musician to make changes in his or her financial budget to make it more sustainable (for example, selling the car, or seeing a credit counselor) in order to receive the money. We’re not being judgmental, just seeking to make the best use of the donations we receive by not throwing good money after bad.

As executive director, I felt it was important for the community to understand that help from Jazz Bridge sometimes involves some changes on the part of the asker, especially when it comes to very large sums for rental payments or security deposits. Jazz Bridge is a very small nonprofit with a yearly operating budget of about $70,000, so we have to watch our pennies and how we spend the precious dollars our donors give us.

Next year, it will be ten years that Jazz Bridge has been here for the individuals in this community in their hour of need due to the dedication of the people who work here, mostly pro bono, and our wonderful donors. We want to make sure we’re here for another ten years.

I welcome your feedback!

Suzanne Cloud