• Chelsea Toler-Hoffmann

A Keep Families Giving Collaboration and All That Jazz

Updated: Oct 26, 2019

Parker Jazz Club's increased rental rates and commitment to pay musicians a fair wage put this special venue in jeopardy of closing. The club brings world class musicians (like Kenny Garrett) to Austin specifically because of their unique relationship with Kris, the owner of the club, and the ability for them to stop by Austin after a show at larger Jazz spots like Dallas or Dentin. The club also provides a unique place for Jazz education and Austin artists to continue to keep their genre alive. At risk of potentially needing to close the club or decrease the pay for musicians, something needed to be done. 

Longtime arts supporters, Andrew Heller, Kris Kimura, Laura Sanders, AJ Meditz, and Chelsea Toler-Hoffmann worked on launching a nonprofit arm for the club. With the tremendous education programs Parker Jazz Club was already doing with the University of Texas and Texas State combined with the work the club was doing with critical partners including Austin Jazz Society and Women in Jazz, the collective decided to take action and file for the 501c3 status within a week.

While Andrew worked on building the board and spreading the word for a launch party where he volunteered to perform, Chelsea Toler-Hoffmann, President of the Keep Families Giving Foundation, and the Toler family, turned to the KFG Foundation's next-gen advisory board members for help. As a result, Susannah Haddad, Daniel Hoffmann, AnneMarie McComb, Dylan Winters, Erin Woods, Michal Ann Morrison, Nate Lombardi, and Paris Tingley jumped on the initiative. From helping create and lead activations, to recruiting attendees, to organizing the event, to helping fundraise, to providing a podcast where attendees could share their unique stories of passion for the arts community, the next-gen advisory board helped make this initiative possible!

To Chelsea and the KFG Advisory Board this was not just about saving a club, but about keeping arts alive in our city!

Chelsea then reached out to friends and community leaders AJ Meditz and Marissa Rosas about co-chairing the fundraiser. Chelsea, AJ, and Marissa worked together to build a host committee of over 40, host the first host committee meeting, create and launch a sponsorship program, and organize a launch fundraising event of over 100+ arts loving Austinites in just shy of 2.5 weeks. 

With an inspiring mission of keeping Jazz alive and thriving, Texas Jazz Society was born. The collective was a unique gathering of next-gen philanthropy leaders passionate about keeping Austin as the live music capital combined with longtime supporting arts advocates and families who shared a love for Jazz and a desire to help educate future generations about this special genre. Supporting Kris and his vision to pay musicians as talented professionals (at risk of losing them to other cities), an intergenerational group of philanthropists, advocates, and family foundations came together to stand behind the club's owner and fight to keep the music, musicians, and venues we love in our city. 

Together we honored important heroes championing arts in Austin including Andrew Heller, The Cipione Family, Dr. Tom Leonard, Linda Ball, Forest Preece, and Dr. Jim Rose and raised over $15,000 prior to the launch and over $49,000 on the night of the launch. Because of this support Parker Jazz Club and Texas Jazz Society will continue to stay in Austin!

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