Are you Kidding Me? #SoSerious
As your scroll our website, you will notice the enticing glow of our previous set of used band uniforms. The blue, white, gold and purple of the James Smooth Music & Leadership Institute has made us a magnet for students and their families all over the United States of America. When our program first opened its doors at a Brooklyn 6-12 grade campus in collaboration with several schools through the New York City Department of Education we were ecstatic. From 2004-2018 we have served 5,600+ students and donated 12,300 hours of community service to public and private school students and their families in New York City, NY - Jackson, MS - Sacramento, CA and Houston, TX.
Our marching bands are world class! In performance we have entertained millions, in competition we have brought our trophies back to New York City in the form of regional and national awards in the highest category of high-stepping show bands. Our students often enter our program with academic grade point averages of 60% and leave our programs with averages as high as 97% cumulative. Our program is rare as it actually works in bridging the achievement gap.
JSMLI Needs Help? #Seriously
We are here now asking for help, but why? So many nonprofit organization are asking for your help but why does JSMLI INC need your help? Firstly, marching band is costly and we will give you a deep dive into our costs shortly. Second, our minority students who often come from socio-economic disadvantaged areas, especially in Brooklyn, NY have only been able to utilize second hand instruments, uniforms and band equipment for the life of our program since 2004. JSMLI INC has never, and I mean never owned a brand new flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, mellophone, trombone, baritone, sousaphone, snare drum, tenor drum, quint tom, bass drum, or band uniform. Everything we have provided to our students has typically come from schools located in predominately socio-economic advantaged areas, where instruments and uniforms are refreshed regularly.
Wearing Another School's Uniforms? #Gross
At one point at time as we were trying to establish ourselves the importance of identity wasn't as important as it is now. When we step on the field, parade route or on the NFL field, we want everyone to know that we represent New York, NY and Brooklyn, NY. Also, when we have enough equipment, we can support 300+ students in two ensembles. Currently, our situation is quite grim and our organization believes in transparency. The beautiful, blue, white and gold uniforms that you often see used throughout our website were purchased from a high school in Upstate, NY in 2008 for $3,000, the uniforms at that time we're 15 years old. We made good use of the uniforms, added spats, our gold capes and utilized the set until 2012 when we lost the uniforms due to a bedbug infestation in our storage closet during the offseason. Since 2012, JSMLI INC has been without uniforms.
The cost to outfit 200 band members through Fruhauf Uniforms is estimated at $60,000.
We asked the schools we partnered with to try to help us with the cost, for a uniform that we could use to represent New York City in ticker tape parades, cultural celebrations at NFL games, NBA games and various events throughout the region, and in movies; however, the price tag proved only to be affordable for our counterparts located in the suburbs, where budgets aren't as constrained.
We were forced to be the largest band in the United States of America to perform in khaki shorts and white t-shirts, and we did so proudly. On our end, we tried an annual spaghetti dinner, concerts at the Brooklyn museum, candy sales, bake sales, dollar fundraisers, online crowd funding and our result was just enough funds to take our beginning band on a trip to a theme park in 2017. Fundraising is tough, though we plan to never give up our dream of representing NYC as the largest minority based marching band in the State of New York.
50 Year Old Horns? #Damage #Mold #Rust
Band Instruments - Are our most important, our most crucial, yet most delicate teaching tools. Typically, in partnering with the New York City Department of Education, we work with schools who have a set of band instruments numbering fifty (50) and then we try to match that number, bringing the total number of students we can serve per location to one-hundred (100). Over the years, wear, tear, theft, mold, mildew and rust reeked havoc on our musical instrument inventory.
In 2008, JSMLI INC had a music instrument inventory of 250 band instruments, and by 2017 that number had dropped to 30. Most band instruments we owned were pushing fifty (50) years of service or more. For instance, we had an Olds brand sousaphone purchased in 1947 which was donated to JSMLI INC in 2004 and was in service until 2017. The joints of the lead pipes were being held together with duct tape, instruments were rusting due to moisture in a storage room, our woodwind instruments had mold and mildew penetration, our percussion instruments began to fall apart and crack.
Our staff are experts at the repair, inventory, control and upkeep of our equipment. After realizing that our equipment was a total loss, we made a decision as company, an organization, a program to severe our ties with assets which presented us with more of a liability to our students than a benefit.
The purchase of enough equipment to service just half the number of students that we normally work with is monumental. The schools we work with typically pay our administrative costs at $33.00/hour per instructor and that is all. JSMLI INC's is a true, grassroots, organic, nonprofit organization; that is to say that 95% of the funds we raise go toward our student services. The remaing 5% are used for recruiting, marketing and research.
Why so Expensive? #Only66Instruments
The cost of band instruments for JSMLI INC from Taylor Music and Dynasty Percussion is currently estimated at nearly $1,000 per student with an estimated lifespan of 30 years or $33.33 per student per year. The instruments listed are used, as brand new instruments would cost $125,000 or more. We'd love to be fiscally able to meet the goal of purchasing a set of new instruments that's for sure.
What Else Do You Need? #Support
I. Laptop and Desktop Computers
II. Printers (Color and Ink)
III. Books of All Types, All Subjects (Annual Book Sale)
IV. School Supplies
V. Music Stands
VI. Music Books
VII. Administrative Volunteers (Financial Analyst, Tax Associates , Copywriters, Grant Writers, Sponsorships)
Ready to Help, What's Next? #DonateToday
How can you donate? If you are truly interested in helping JSMLI INC, sponsoring one of our programs, or schools; if you would like to donate a musical instrument, contribute to our uniform fund or if you would like to donate any of the items listed above, we have several options available to you.
Donate Today - If you click any of the Donate Today links, you will be taken to our secure site. Fractured Atlas is a 501(c)(3) public charity. Contributions for the purposes of JSMLI: Music & Leadership are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. You can donate via credit card, or check through a secure portal and will provided with a tax deductible receipt and a thank you letter from JSMLI INC!
If you need assistance, never hesitate to reach out, our friendly team is always standing by to answer your questions, and to guide you through the process. We are a transparent organization, and therefore will provide you year to date fundraising totals, as well as information related to purchase of equipment, current events and trends. Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org
This Program Works #Awesome
The championship awards, 97% graduation rate, the movies we have appeared in, national parades, basketball games and football games we have performed for, demonstrate that our program is poised to take the reigns for this generation and the generations to come. Maybe we will march past you one day, maybe we will perform at your wedding, maybe you'll see us performing at Macy's or the Rose Bowl Parade; it may even be that one of our students may end up at your alma mater studying biochemistry. #DonateToday not because you have, but because if you do, you will make a difference.