Thanks to Everyone!

Hi Everybody,

No one on the board of directors has gotten Wendy’s report on our End-of-Year fundraising yet, but I get a sense that we had a very good year for individual donations (especially to honor the late Father John D’Amico). We are expanding our donor base as Jazz Bridge becomes well known and what that means is that we get to help more musicians than we ever have. The work it takes to keep our mission going is phenomenal and we cannot end our year without crowing about our activities.

Jazz Bridge Annual Report for 2012/2013

In addition to helping many musicians in the Philadelphia Metro area, Jazz Bridge:

  • Was chosen to participate in the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts with our original (and sold out every night) show Last Call at the Downbeat at the Society Hill Playhouse with funding from the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, the Pennsylvania  Council on the Arts, and the Philadelphia Jazz Project/Wyncote Foundation
  • Bestowed on legendary mentor Lovett Hines our “Making a Difference” award at the Painted Bride
  • Presented Neighborhood Concerts series in  Collingswood, NJ, Kennett Square, Media, Cheltenham, and in Philadelphia, PA. and started a new one in Willingboro, NJ
  • Partnered with Enroll America for a seminar on the Affordable Care Act for musicians at Drexel University College of Medicine.
  • Presented in concert pianist Elio Villafranca at Chris’ Jazz Café for our annual fundraiser
  • Received funding from Delta Dental to aid elderly musicians with oral care (shoot them an email to thank them!)
  • Received funding from the Union Benevolent Association for a bookkeeper (shoot them an email to thank them too!)
  • Received funding from the MKM Foundation for the Monnette Sudler Fund to help this fine guitarist with medical bills from a lung transplant and for our organization’s general operating expenses.
  • Published a highly popular jazz photography calendar honoring Philadelphia-area jazz and blues musicians, past and present with historical quotes for each musician.
  • Presented our first ever summer concert series in Hawthorne Park in Philadelphia in collaboration with and funding from Friends of Hawthorne Park, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, and the Philadelphia Jazz Project/Wyncote Foundation.
  • Board members Jason Fifield and Jim Miller won awards from the Jazz Journalists Association for best jazz video of the year and the Jazz Hero Award, respectively. Suzanne Cloud won the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for service to the community by Camden County, NJ
  • To cap off the year, Jazz Bridge was awarded the Humanities Partner of the Year in Harrisburg, PA by the Pennsylvania Humanities Council

Jazz Bridge took advantage of an offer from Philadelphia VIP volunteer lawyers to get a top-down overview of the organization and we came through with flying colors! They helped us revamp our bylaws to reflect our growing organization, and we purchased D&O insurance. Our donor management system Donor Snap has helped the Jazz Bridge board bring in more contributions this year too.

As soon as our IRS 990 form is completed, it will be posted here.


marks our

10-year anniversary

and we want to thank all of our loyal supporters and volunteers who have helped make this organization grow.

We have lots planned to make our celebration wonderful, so stay tuned to this space!

Suzanne Cloud

Executive Director


Monnette Sudler: Benefit at 7165 Lounge

Update on Monnette: She did receive her lung transplant and she is doing well, but she still needs funds to pay her enormous medical bills, so the Monnette Sudler Fund is still taking donations.

Below is a reprint from the Philly Jazz Journal at JazzTimes 10/27/13

By Suzanne Cloud

On October 13th at the 7165 Lounge in Philadelphia something extraordinary happened. It wasn’t extraordinary because it was a jazz benefit organized to help one of Philly’s own. It wasn’t extraordinary because lots of people showed up to see and be seen. It was extraordinary because it’s been a very long time since so much love was showered on one person in one evening. Tears of joy mingled freely with the tears of worry and desperation everyone felt for guitarist Monnette Sudler.

Physically a shadow of herself, she sat tucked in the corner of the club with oxygen running and a face mask on because her immune system is depressed from her battle with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) lung disease. She’s waiting for a lung transplant.

Nobody knows what causes the scarring and stiffening of the lung tissue, hence the idiopathic part of the name, but as the lung thickens, breathing becomes labored and more difficult—oxygen has a hard time finding its way into the bloodstream. All researchers know is that it’s deadly and grows progressively worse as time goes on. Life expectancy is between three and five years, according to the National Institutes of Health, and guitarist Monnette Sudler was diagnosed with IPF six years ago.

WRTI Jeff Duperon hosted the event with his usual aplomb, calling up some of Monnette’s dearest friends to the stage. Odean Pope played an exquisite rendition of “I Want to Talk about You,” all by himself, his sax and his eyes pointed toward the woman of honor. Then poet Sonia Sanchez came up to read several poems, the most deeply felt to my ears was “Peace” and “Morning Song and Evening Walk,” a work written for Martin Luther King, Jr.

The moments were so heavy with meaning; they seemed to draw in the artwork on the walls ˗ were the busy barbershop men leaning in with the audience to catch a whisper of news from the stage? Could that contented mother and child in snuggled bliss be nodding in recognition at the special tributes being given?

One by one and two by twos they came up: Sherry Butler belting “Stormy Monday” backed up by alto player Julian Pressley, pianist Barry Sames, bassist Charles Beasley and drummer Dave Gibson. Then violinist John Blake Jr. stepped up, all in white, to tell us all about how love breaks through “Softly in a Morning Sunrise.” Guitarist and singer Sharon Katz and her South African “Peace Train” band lifted the room as Grover Washington Jr’s widow Christine looked for the wedding ring that had flown from her finger in the excitement. It was found before singers Barbara Walker and Veronica Underwood closed the late afternoon musical embrace by gospel singing the roof off into Mt. Airy’s magical sunset sky.

Jazz Bridge, the 510C3 nonprofit that aids professional jazz and blues musicians in the Greater Philadelphia Metro area, has set up a special way that you can help Monnette Sudler in her journey to get a lung transplant. It’s the only thing that will save her life now.

Tax-deductible donations can be given by credit card through the web site or you can send a check to Jazz Bridge, 3008 Limekiln Pike, Glenside, PA, 19038. Designate in the memo that your check is for the Monnette Sudler Fund.

Jazz Bridge Gold Cards Are Ready to Roll

TicketsHi Everyone,

A lot of you will be getting emails from our illustrious board members (Wendy Simon Sinkler, Mike Boone, Rhenda Fearrington, Jim Miller, Jason Fifield) and me, shouting out: The Gold Cards are In!!!

These are season passes to all of our Neighborhood Concerts this year – 35 concerts in all. If you went to all of them, it would cost you $350, but with a gold card, it’s a steal at $125.

You can lend the card to a friend, if you can’t make a concert or two, or give it as a gift to someone you love…either way you’ll be supporting the musicians and singers you love who live and work in the Greater Philadelphia Metro area.

All you have to do is click HERE, and it will take you to our donor button. Pay with a credit card (making sure you let us know it’s for a Gold Card when you order). Or you can send a check to Jazz Bridge, 3008 Limekiln Pike, Glenside, PA 19038 and we’ll send you a card right out.

Hurry, hurry, our concerts start in a two weeks!

Thanks to everyone who has already bought them!

Suzanne Cloud


Jazz Bridge Wins Humanities Partner of the Year

Hi Everyone,

We were just notified that Jazz Bridge was named Humanities Partner of the Year by the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, and we were invited to attend a dinner honoring us and our achievements at the capitol building in Harrisburg on October 7th. It is a wonderful honor, and it wouldn’t have been realized if not for the beautiful nomination Rhenda Fearrington wrote. I’d like to share it with you in this update. Please take a minute to read it and you’ll see why the panel could have only made one decision!

Nomination Narrative

By Rhenda Fearrington Rhenda Fearrington

To understand The Humanities is to embrace our own humanity. Jazz Bridge was born out of a need to help an artist sustain his or her wellness to create something beautiful for the community. For the world. As a non-profit organization that has provided confidential assistance for our local Jazz & Blues Artists in crisis for nearly ten years, the MISSION has become stronger and has reached out to hundreds of musicians over the years.

The Dalai Lama once explained that, “When “I” is replaced with “We”, even Illness becomes Wellness.” That illness isn’t always physical, but can be one of spirit that grows out of despair when one cannot create their art, for a myriad of reasons.

Jazz Bridge’s Mission is to “bridge” the gap between despair and hope. The more opportunity we give our locals artists to tell their stories, the more people that can be connected and uplifted. Poets, painters, singers, musicians are the “architects” of culture; without them laboring humanity would perish. Jazz Bridge has provided many conduits for connecting the Philadelphia Jazz culture to its contribution in history and art, through its people.

Evidence of this was when Jazz Bridge partnered with the Pennsylvania Humanities Council to bring about the story circle, “Philly Jazz Stories – Back In the Day,” in conjunction with Temple University Radio in 2011.  On one afternoon, six heralded Jazz musicians & advocates bore witness to a shared legacy to which only Philadelphia can claim. They shared the experience of working in a multitude of Jazz clubs that no longer exist. A culture that has vastly changed and to some extent, disappeared, but combining the best of both worlds, through oral history as well digital technology, it is preserved forever. While this documentation can be used as an educational tool for further studies in our most prestigious schools providing a rich curriculum in Jazz Studies, it has also provided fodder for great dialogue in reclaiming that legacy. The subsequent broadcast on WRTI-Temple Radio and circulation through social media (e.g. YouTube) has cast an even wider net for an audience that wants to learn about the human condition in all its depth and range of meaning, in addition to serving many more musicians.

The clamoring for a Renaissance has resonated throughout the entire city, due in part to Jazz Bridge’s ceaseless partnering with many of Philadelphia’s historical spaces that have provided the landscape for their eight-month Concert Series that launches from October to May, with a Summer Concert series “bridging the gap” until each new season begins.  This series employs approximately 200 musicians for equitable wages, providing over 40 concerts in which to do this.

Jazz Bridge partnered again with the Pennsylvania Humanities Council and The Society Hill Playhouse to stage Last Call at the Downbeat, an original production that was chosen to be part of the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts in April 2013. A one-man show, wherein a young actor portraying Bebop pioneer, Dizzy Gillespie told “his story,” of a night in November, 1941 at the famous Downbeat Club located at 11th and Ludlow, in Philadelphia. As an 18 year old Philadelphian, Dizzy’s life was changed during those years at The Downbeat and other Jazz Clubs. His experience drew a timeline and a deeper look into the cultural and racial backdrop of Philadelphia, as well as the advent of a World War in the United States. But perhaps what served to connect the audience even more were the local musicians (trumpeter Duane Eubanks) hired to perform on stage, portraying Dizzy’s band at the Downbeat. These musicians, who discovered a wider scope of their own talents, brought anaudience of inspired family, friends, and peers to two consecutive weekends of standing room only crowds!

Providing jobs 12 months a year certainly makes a difference. Launching fundraisers to provide assistance in getting an instrument out of a pawn shop to which it was sold to pay a month’s rent, providing lodging after a resident’s fire, or transportation to an engagement when a car breaks down, is a very real part of the Human Condition. However, the Founders, Board Members and volunteers of Jazz Bridge are keenly aware that the real mission is providing continuous opportunities for the artist to learn, grow and develop their own sustainability and artistic “wellness,” because this is a Human Necessity. And it is with ceaseless importunity and an abundance of human kindness that Jazz Bridge makes that Human Reality!  

Thoughts on Musicians in Need

Hi Everyone,

I know I said this would be a weekly update, and look, already I’m late! But things have been cooking at Jazz Bridge. Through the wonderful help of Dr. Steven Peitzman of Drexel University School of Medicine, we were able to secure a room to hold a workshop for musicians (and anyone else who wants to come) on Sunday April 29th from 2-4 pm to familiarize them with the Affordable Care Act –  signups for insurance start Oct. 1st! And we’ll have wonderful photographers (Howard Pitkow, Anthony Dean, and Les Hinton) who will be there to take head shots of professional jazz and blues musicians who need them (you must contact me to reserve time with the photographers).

It’s people who come forward in support that make this organization what it is, whether it’s buying a ticket for a fundraiser, volunteering, or donating straight out. Only the folks who understand their local jazz community and the musicians see that the service we provide is so crucial to keeping the arts vibrant. I’ve recently had someone contact me from Denver who wants to start an organization like Jazz Bridge out there for that city’s jazz community! He donated $100 to us, because he loves what we do. But, truth be told, most folks aren’t clamoring to help jazz musicians, because most folks don’t see the importance. Find homes for dogs? Yes. Give to the Red Cross? Of course. But jazz musicians? Not so much. That’s why it is so important that the people who ARE aware of the importance, chip in and help.

This Sunday, the Seaview Hotel and Golf Club is donating space for Jazz Bridge to hold our annual Down the Shore fundraiser from 6-9 pm, and the musicians from Breckerville (led by trumpeter Bob Ferguson) and saxophonist Michael Pedicin’s group are working at discount rates to help raise funds for Jazz Bridge. It’s a BBQ and the weatherman says it will be a beautiful day. Tickets are $25/$15 for students with an ID. It’s a no-brainer decision to attend this gig!

You wonder if you can make the time to come and celebrate with us, or maybe you’ll donate on some other occasion – but the time is NOW. Jazz Bridge is an ALL-VOLUNTEER organization, which means every cent of your money goes to help musicians in need. But we need YOU to help us do what we do…so come on out on Sunday. Meet me, Wendy Simon (co-founder of Jazz Bridge), WRTI jazz host Bob Perkins, and board member Rhenda Fearrington., as well as all of the musicians!

Be there or Be square!

Suzanne Cloud

Weekly Notebook

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 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