Newport Jazz Festival: art and commerce

In 2014, we marked the 60th anniversary of the Newport Jazz Festival by making our first grant to the event. The funding brought back a tradition that had been lost for decades – a third day of performances to the iconic event. The third day accomplished two goals: providing a platform for emerging artists who might attract a new, more diverse generation of fans and boosting the economy by filling local hotels, restaurants, and attractions with visitors for an additional day.

Among the promising acts that have performed are the Christian McBride Trio, Miguel Zenón, and Bria Skonberg (who went on to win Hot House Jazz Magazine Awards for Best Jazz Artist, Best Trumpet, and Best Female Vocalist). And the economic impact of adding the third day could be upwards of $1 million.

Our first grant was followed by another in 2015. According to Daniel Kertzner, our senior philanthropic advisor for funding partnerships, “We always appreciate accomplishing multiple objectives with a single grant that crosses sectors like the arts and economic security, and this is a perfect example.” Our support also attracted co-funding from the Thomas DePetrillo and Carol Keefe Fund and the Susan F. Gonsalves Charitable Fund.

Jazz Festival founder George Wein appreciates the support. “We are proud to be able to present an entire day of musicians who may represent the future of jazz,” said Wein. “The grants help us not only to bring new and exciting music to the area, but also to encourage more visitors to Newport for a longer duration.”

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