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Jewish Community Foundation and Los Angeles County Arts Commission Join Forces to Support Arts Education; Collaborative Effort Brings Individual Giving Together With National Endowment for the Arts and L.A. County Grants.

LOS ANGELES -- The Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles (The Foundation) and the Los Angeles County Arts Commission today announced the launch of a collaborative effort to provide funding for over 150 arts residency programs in Los Angeles County public schools.

The Foundation is initiating an Arts in Schools! Giving Circle, which aims to raise $100,000 from donors throughout the community by year-end. The Giving Circle -- spearheaded by The Foundation's Family Foundation Center, which provides consulting services to donors to help fulfill their philanthropic goals -- will benefit school districts that have adopted and are implementing arts education policies by providing funding for artist-in-residence programs. Approximately 4,000 students in grades K through 12 in 14 school districts are expected to benefit from 158 residency programs offered by arts education service providers hired through the County's online arts education directory, www.LAArtsEd.org, during one school year.

Arts in Schools! Giving Circle, seeded by a grant from the Nathan Cummings Foundation, represents a unique, first-time opportunity for individual donors to leverage their funding by joining with others to participate in a strategic, county-wide effort to reinstate arts education in public schools. Giving Circle funds will be administered through the Arts for All Pooled Fund, the major source of private funding from community, corporate and private foundations for a 10-year initiative to restore dance, music, theater and visual arts to the 80 school districts in L.A. County.

The launch of the Giving Circle dovetails with the Arts Commission's announcement of an $85,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts -- the highest grant in the nation this year in the NEA's Learning in the Arts category -- and a matching grant of the same amount from the Productivity Investment Fund of Los Angeles County. Both grants will fund artist residencies in Arts for All school districts; participating districts will also provide matching funds for their arts residency programs.

Professional artists in the classroom teach students about the value of art while helping to bring school subjects alive. Residencies available to the school districts include 18th Street Arts Center visual artists illuminating marine biology and California history through drawing and map making; students learning about measurement, fractions, decimals and geometry while creating woven baskets in Math in A Basket's program; Enrichment Works making a classic text a reality through an interactive performance of Homer's Odyssey, and Daniel Slosberg's telling of Lewis and Clark's expedition through the music and stories of the real-life boatman-fiddler who accompanied them.

"We have long emphasized the importance of arts education and we are pleased to support the great work of the Arts Commission. This is The Foundation's first Giving Circle, and it provides a unique opportunity for donors throughout the community to pool their funds in an effort to make a lasting and far-reaching impact on arts education in L.A. County public schools," said Marvin I. Schotland, president and chief executive officer of the Jewish Community Foundation.

Laura Zucker, executive director of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, said, "The Jewish Community Foundation is a valued Arts for All partner. The Foundation was one of the founders of the Arts for All Pooled Fund, a consortium of foundations and corporations which helps school districts build arts education infrastructure. The Giving Circle is a wonderfully innovative extension of the Pooled Fund idea which provides a means for individuals to make targeted contributions to the Arts for All effort."

The Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles invites philanthropists who are interested in providing equal access to quality arts education for all students in Los Angeles County to participate in the Giving Circle. The Family Foundation Center will provide staff support and administer the Giving Circle. Suggested contribution levels range from $1,500 to $5,000. For further information, individuals may contact Amelia Xann, Jewish Community Foundation senior program officer, at 323-761-8714, or axann@jewishfoundationla.org.

About Arts for All and LAArtsEd.org

The Arts in Schools! Giving Circle supports a vital part of the delivery system for sequential arts education envisioned by the Arts for All initiative. The three-pronged system includes arts specialists teaching the arts, generalist classroom teachers integrating the arts into the curriculum, and professional artists who enhance classroom instruction. Giving Circle funds will be made available to the L.A. County school districts, which have become part of Arts for All by adopting arts education policies, plans and budgets, to hire arts education service providers on the County's online arts education directory, www.LAArtsEd.org. All of the programs on LAArtsEd.org have been vetted by a panel of arts education experts and comply with the state education standards for visual and performing arts.

About The Foundation

Established in 1954, the Jewish Community Foundation is the largest manager of charitable assets and the leader in planned giving solutions for Jewish philanthropists in Greater Los Angeles. The Foundation currently manages assets of $600 million and, according to the National Foundation Center, ranks among the ten largest Los Angeles foundations (based on assets). In 2005, The Foundation and its 1,000-plus donors distributed $57 million in grants to more than 1,300 organizations with programs that span the range of philanthropic giving.

About Los Angeles County Arts Commission

The Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Laura Zucker, executive director, provides leadership in cultural services of all disciplines for the largest county in the United States, encompassing 88 municipalities. The Arts Commission provides leadership and staffing to support the regional blueprint for arts education, Arts for All; administers a grants program that funds more than 250 nonprofit arts organizations annually; oversees the County's Civic Art Program for capital projects; funds the largest arts internship program in the country in conjunction with the Getty Foundation; programs the John Anson Ford Theatres; and supports the Los Angeles County Cultural Calendar on ExperienceLA.com. The Commission also produces free community programs, including the L.A. Holiday Celebration broadcast nationally, and a year-round music program that funds more than 60 free concerts each year in public sites. The 2006-07 president of the Arts Commission is Marjorie Lyte.
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Date:Jun 7, 2006
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