History of JEN

The Jazz Education Network is a global non-profit 501(c)(3) organization based in the United States of America that seeks to advance jazz education, promote performance and develop new audiences. JEN was founded in 2008 in Chicago and now has over 1,500 members in 23 countries, every USA state and 7 Canadian provinces.

Our organization operates with a volunteer board, two part-time employeers and two independent contractors, and hundreds of volunteers from around the world. The Founding Steering Committee, led by co-founders Mary Jo Papich and Dr. Lou FIscher, created the mission that JEN lives by today:

The Jazz Education Network is dedicated to building the jazz arts community by advancing education, promoting performance, and developing new audiences.

This is what we have accomplished since 2008:

1. Financially, JEN has operated consistently in the black in every fiscal year
2. Four standing committees and numerous special committees formed and in operation
3. Annual succesful and profitable conferences connecting 13,000+ musicians, educators, students & jazz afficianados (average attendance currently is upwards of 3,500)
4. Site locations for future conferences booked and contracts favorably negotiated for JEN through 2023
5. The JENerations Jazz Festival, presented annually in tandem with the conference, was launched in 2012 and expanded to the current three performance/clinic venue profile
6. The Mentor Program launched and multiple students formally mentored to date
7. The Conference Outreach Program was launched in 2010 (with over 20,000 students served)
8. The JAZZ2U program launched in 2013, sponsored by annual generous donations from the Herb Alpert Foundation, continues to assist with placing jazz and jazz education in schools presently year round
9. Scholarships are continually being established. More than $56,000 in scholarships and awards
10. ‚ÄčA generous donation by Jamey Aebersold in 2013 improved the registration process at the conference
11. The Young Composer Showcase launched in 2011 with 29 student compositions featured to date
12. Thousands of dollars of instruments/print music donated to schools through the JENerosity Project
13. Continued advancement of scholarly research, audience development and technology 
14, Launched The Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation (EFCF) - JEN Research Fellowship at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. in 2014. 
14. JEN Strategic Plan developed and launched in 2014
15. Website launched in 2008, redesigned, and re-launched again with continuing major new upgrades
16. Strategic partnerships established included Timeless Communications, DownBeat, JazzTimes, National Association for Music Education, International Association of Schools of Jazz, Music For All, Percussive Arts Society, MusicFest (Canada), International Society for Music Education, Chamber Music America, African American Jazz Caucus, and others in the process
17. Planned gradual expansion of the JEN virtual office of two employees/two independent contractors as part-time staff as part of the Strategic Plan

The 8th Annual JEN Conference will be held in New Orleans, LA, USA at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, January 4-7, 2017. Our annual conference serves teachers, researchers, students, artists, performing arts presenters, music industry partners, enthusiasts and more. We are expecting over 3,500 attendees annually at the conference and are working with local community arts leaders and jazz affiliates to make it every conference a successful event. Information may be found online from the JEN Home Page under the Conference Central Tab. Click here to see all future conference locations

Past JEN conferences have included: