JSEF in the News

Endow-A-Thon a Huge Success!

posted Jan 1, 2016, 12:08 PM by Doug L   [ updated Jan 30, 2016, 10:11 AM by matthew novotny ]

As of December 31, 2015, the “$200,000 Endow-A-Thon” launched 14 months earlier by the JSEF came to an end. The campaign was an unprecedented effort by the JSEF Board to incentivize LGBT performing arts organizations to invest in their long-term futures. The primary focus of the campaign was on the member organizations of the Lesbian and Gay Band Association (LGBA), although one non-member group also participated.

The “$200,000 Endow-A-Thon” offered up to $6,000 in matching funds to each eligible organization that endowed new funds with JSEF. Overall, the program was highly successful. According to JSEF Treasurer Jerry Abrams, “We had twelve organizations take part in the campaign, nine of whom were new to JSEF. The other three added funds to their existing endowment accounts. In total, $61,000 in newly endowed funds were deposited. We were more than delighted to deliver a total of $53,000 in matching funds to these worthy organizations.

Here is a list of organizations that participated in the Endow-A-Thon:

  • Atlanta Freedom Bands (Atlanta, GA)
  • CHEER SF (San Francisco, CA)
  • Desert Winds Freedom Band (Palm Springs, CA)*
  • D.C.’s Different Drummers (Washington, D.C.)
  • Lesbian & Gay Band Association (Washington, D.C.)
  • Mid America Freedom Band (Kansas City, MO)
  • Minnesota Freedom Band (Minneapolis, MN)
  • Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus (Palm Springs, CA)
  • Philadelphia Freedom Band (Philadelphia, PA)
  • Rose City Freedom Band (Portland, OR)
  • San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band (San Francisco, CA)*
  • South Florida Pride Wind Ensemble (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)

*  Previously had funds endowed with JSEF

JSEF President Loren McGlade noted “It was especially exciting to see that six of the new organizations took full advantage of the Endow-A-Thon by investing $6,000 each. One group, D.C.’s Different Drummers invested a whopping total of $14,000!” Regarding looking forward to working with these new organizations in 2016 and beyond, McGlade said “We always invite organizations with endowed funds to select a trusted member to serve on the JSEF Board. That way, they can be fully engaged in the operations of the Endowment Fund while also seeing that their own organization’s investments are being well cared for. We will be contacting each of these groups about this early in 2016.”

Once all the year-end financial data has been compiled, the JSEF will be publishing its financial statements and sending each organization listed above updated information regarding their investments.

Although the “$200,000 Endow-A-Thon” campaign has ended, JSEF Board Secretary Doug Litwin wanted to state that “the Jon Sims Endowment Fund stands ready to any to work with any interested non-profit LGBT performing arts organizations about setting up an endowment plan that addresses their long-term goals. All they need to do is write to info@jsef.org.”

Year-End Financial Report Shows Strong 2014

posted Jan 20, 2015, 10:52 AM by Doug L   [ updated Jan 21, 2015, 10:52 AM ]

The Jon Sims Endowment Fund for the Performing Arts has issued its year-end financial report for 2014. Total funds under JSEF control equal $420,466, a record amount. Equally impressive is the fact that the total fund balance grew 11.3% over 2013's year-end total. This is due to a continuing positive securities market. Note that newly endowed funds from the “$200,000 Endow-A-Thon” are not included in this total yet but will be arriving later in 2015.

The complete year-end report can be read below.

$200,000 Endow-A-Thon off to a great start!

posted Dec 20, 2014, 10:48 AM by Doug L   [ updated Jan 1, 2015, 5:43 PM by matthew novotny ]

The Jon Sims Endowment Fund's "200,000 Endow-A-Thon” announced on November 7, 2014 at the LGBA conference in Ft. Lauderdale is off to a great start.

In just more than one month, the JSEF has engaged in discussions with multiple LGBA member organizations who are interested in preserving and protecting their long-term financial future. They are all very interesting in having up to $5,000 of newly endowed funds matched by JSEF. Also, the first 10 organizations who reach that target amount will be eligible to receive ANOTHER $1,000 in matched funds when they invest an additional $1,000.

So far, five LGBA member Bands have made the commitment to endow new funds with LGBA. Those five Bands are:
  • Philadelphia Freedom Band
  • Atlanta Freedom Bands
  • Mid America Freedom Band (Kansas City, MO)
  • San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band
  • Rose City Gay Freedom Band (Portland, OR)

Don't let YOUR Band (or other LGBA member org) miss out on this big money opportunity. The offer expires December 31, 2015.


If your organization is ready for the $200,000 Endow-A-Thon, please read THIS PAGE and complete and submit the form you'll find there. You may also contact the Jon Sims Endowment Fund via e-mail at info@jsef.org or visit the Contact Us page. Explain your situation and tentative plan and you will receive a response from a JSEF officer very quickly. We understand that every organization and investment situation is unique and we will work with you to craft a plan that suits your needs.

Interested organizations are encouraged to read the web page on this site that discusses the various types of legacy gifts

JSEF announces $200,000 Endow-A-Thon for LGBA Member Organizations!

posted Nov 7, 2014, 8:22 PM by Doug L   [ updated Dec 2, 2014, 11:02 AM ]

On November 7, 2014 at the LGBA conference in Ft. Lauderdale, the Jon Sims Endowment Fund presented a workshop entitled “How to preserve and protect your Band's long-term financial future.” 

The highlight of the JSEF workshop was the announcement of the “$200,000 Endow-A-Thon.” Under this bold, new program, LGBA member organizations (and LGBA itself) can earn a matching grant of up to $5,000 when they invest the same amount in newly endowed funds. Not only that, the first 10 LGBA member organizations that reach the maximum matching amount of $5,000 are eligible to receive ANOTHER $1,000 in matched funds when they invest an additional $1,000. All told, the Jon Sims Endowment Fund is pledging up to $200,000 of its own funds to convince LGBA member organizations to set up their own accounts with endowed funds. This offer expires December 31, 2015.
Here are some highlights of the $200,000 Endow-A-Thon:
  • Get up to $5,000 in matching funds
  • 10 bands can earn up to $1,000 in ADDITIONAL matched funds!
  • All LGBA member organizations are eligible, if they have IRS 501c3 status.
  • Offer good through December 31, 2015.
  • Up to $5,000 in new funds will be matched by JSEF.
  • The first 10 bands to endow the full $5,000 will also become eligible to earn a bonus of up to $1,000 matching funds for a total of up to $6,000. In this case, if your band endows $6,000, JSEF will match that amount.
  • All LGBA member orgs (with 501c3 status) are eligible, including those which already have endowed funds, and LGBA itself.
  • The minimum opening contribution is $1,000.
  • Funds will be matched within 30 days after funds are received by JSEF.
  • JSEF invests and manages your endowed funds. The investment earnings will be available to bands through the standard JSEF grant application procedure.
Here are a few examples to illustrate how this matching program works:

BAND "A" endows $4,000 before 12/31/15 - JSEF contributes another $4,000
BAND "B" endows $5,000 before 12/31/15 - JSEF contributes another $5,000
BAND "C" endows $6,000 before 12/31/15 and is one of the first 10 bands - JSEF contributes $6,000
BAND "D" endows $5,500 before 12/31/15 and is one of the first 10 bands - JSEF contributes $5,500
BAND "E" endows $8,000 before 12/31/15 and is one of the first 10 bands - JSEF contributes $6,000

Interested organizations are encouraged to read the web page on this site that discusses the various types of legacy gifts


If your organization is ready for the $200,000 Endow-A-Thon, please complete and submit the form below. You may also contact the Jon Sims Endowment Fund via e-mail at info@jsef.org or visit the Contact Us page. Explain your situation and tentative plan and you will receive a response from a JSEF officer very quickly. We understand that every organization and investment situation is unique and we will work with you to craft a plan that suits your needs.

JSEF Endow-A-Thon Application


Write to info@jsef.org or visit the Contact Us page.

A few additional notes regarding this program:

  • If an LGBA member band should decide to leave LGBA, they will forfeit all the matching endowed funds from the JSEF, including increased value of those endowed funds.
  • However, they can transfer the remaining funds (the market value of their own endowed funds plus the increased value of their own contributions, plus any earned income on their endowed funds and the matching funds from JSEF) to another 501c3 organization of their choosing. This will be subject to the rules of their own 501c3 bylaws.
  • If a participating member band should lose their 501c3 status, the market value of the matching endowed funds from the JSEF shall revert back to the JSEF.
  • The investment earnings for participating LGBA member bands will be available through the standard JSEF grant application procedure (the form is available on this web site).
  • Reminders will be periodically sent to eligible LGBA member bands about the remaining time to take advantage of this matching offer.
  • Because JSEF funds are invested in the stock market, these investments are not insured or guaranteed, and the value of the invested funds may decrease as well as increase. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance.

Exciting News For LGBA Member Organizations!

posted Nov 1, 2014, 3:45 PM by Doug L

Details to come on November 10, 2014.

Program will be announced in Ft. Lauderdale at the LGBA conference on November 7. Until then, please stand by. Thank you.

Jon Sims Endowment Fund Posts Strong 2013 Results

posted Jan 15, 2014, 12:32 PM by Doug L   [ updated Jan 15, 2014, 3:25 PM ]

Year-end financial statements for 2013 show that the year was a strong one for the JSEF and its investment accounts.

As of December 31, 2013, all JSEF accounts totaled $377,473. This is record high amount and is 21.3% ahead of the total of one year earlier ($311,073). Although there were some additional contributions of endowed funds during 2013, and several exciting grants were funded, most of this growth was due to earned investment income. Even more impressive is the chart below which shows that total fund balances have more than doubled over the past five years. The exact percentage increase over the five year period is 122%. Very impressive.

JSEF - 5 year growth of all funds 2009 - 2013

For the individual organizations who have endowed funds with JSEF, the results are also impressive. Since the end of 2011, the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band has seen its endowed funds grow by 31%. Similarly, the Lesbian and Gay Band Association has seen its funds grow by 37% over the same period. Contributing to these growth rates is the very high level of reinvestment of earned income by these two organizations.

For the Desert Winds Freedom Band of Palm Springs, CA, a relatively new contributor of endowed funds, their balances increased by slightly more than 50% in the most recent two-year period. While there were a few additional contributions of funds, most of this again represents investment growth.

JSEF President Loren McGlade had this to say about the successes of 2013, "This type of performance by the Fund should cause all LGBA and other non-profit arts organizations to give serious consideration to setting up an account with endowed funds for the JSEF to manage. Whether your organization is a new one or an established one, make a New Year's resolution to take tangible action and preserve your long-term future organization."

Note: All investors should consult a qualified professional before trading in any security. Investment techniques involve risk and are not suitable for all investors. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Therefore, no current or prospective investor should assume that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended and/or purchased by JSEF), will be profitable or equal to historical performance levels.

JSEF Helps Fund New Commissioned Work "Colors" in Atlanta

posted Nov 28, 2013, 10:43 PM by Doug L   [ updated Nov 28, 2013, 11:33 PM ]

The 2013 LGBA Conference took place in Atlanta, Georgia the weekend of October 11 - 13. The highlight of the weekend was a spectacular concert called "Color Our World: Life, Spirit, & Magic!" at the Ferst Center for the Arts at Georgia Tech University.

The featured piece on the concert was named "Colors" by Atlanta composer Tim Jansa. It was commissioned by the host Atlanta Freedom Bands and funded in part via a grant to AFB from the Jon Sims Endowment Fund for the Performing Arts.

"Colors" is celebration of the diversity, strength, and unbreakable spirit of the LGBT community.It opens with a powerful, sudden, explosive,and colorful thematic statement that is then repeated throughout: "We are here and we are here to stay." A march-like motif, somber at first, quickly gains clarity and strength, depicting a community defining and gradually asserting itself. After a brief climactic moment, a trumpet solo theme heralds courage and despair, joy and tragedy, the will to go on tempered by doubts about the ultimate outcome. These three motifs and themes form the major building blocks of "Colors."

At the end of the exposition, the mood quickly brightens, the tempo picks up, and the "good times" begin by depicting LGBT men and women in all their colorful nature: artistic, quirky, mischievous, physical, loving - and everything in-between. This fun section eventually leads into a depiction of our community "coming of age," and ultimately the climactic finale of "Colors" combines all previous motifs and themes, pitting them against each other until they reach a rousing celebration of equality and victory over bias, ill-will, and hatred. The work ends with (wedding?) bells ringing and a final glorious statement of the main theme.

Said composer Jansa about his piece, "It has been a true pleasure working with such an able ensemble and its members who share a true love and enthusiasm for our community and our cause." You can learn even more about Tim Jansa and hear him talk about "Colors" by clicking HERE.

Mid America Freedom Band Celebrates 10th Anniversary with JSEF Support!

posted Jul 7, 2013, 11:58 AM by Doug L   [ updated Feb 10, 2015, 10:03 PM by matthew novotny ]

On April 20, 2013, the Mid America Freedom Band (MAFB) of Kansas City celebrated its 10th Anniversary. A spectacular concert took place at Unity Temple on the Plaza and featured the world premiere of a work commissioned by the MAFB entitled Sapphire. This composition, by MAFB Artistic Director Dr. Lee Hartman, was partially funded with a grant from the JSEF. Additional funds were raised from 34 donors to a Kickstarter online campaign.

Describing the concert, Executive Director and trumpet player James Henry had this to say: “Mid America Freedom Band's 10th Anniversary concert was a truly champagne-worthy occasion with a greatly varied musical display ranging from the intimate and glorious with Robert Jager’s To Music; to the lively and light-spirited with several popular tunes released 10 years prior; to the intellectually stimulating with Lee Hartman’s Sapphire, the composition of which employs subtle techniques celebrating MAFB; to the proud and patriotic, celebrating our openly gay veterans with Armed Forces Salute.

Echoing those comments, clarinetist Christopher Gibson added “The 10th Anniversary Concert allowed me the opportunity to play with a terrific group of musicians, all who have been playing much longer than me and who are so encouraging to me. The concert had all types of music from classical to pop. In the middle of this collection of music was Sapphire. While it was a great, challenging piece of music, it pushed me to do better, allowing me to grow as a musician. It is always fun to perform music that has been created for you and that you get to premiere.”

Focusing specifically on the world premiere of Sapphire, oboist Stacy Davidson offered that “Sapphire reflects the diversity and camaraderie within the Mid America Freedom Band. Sapphires are a form of the mineral corundum, and these stones are naturally found in every shade of the rainbow. Like gemstones, each of Sapphire’s four movements is multifaceted, echoing the diverse range of ages, occupations, musical backgrounds, gender identities, and romantic preferences of the band members. Dr. Hartman crafted this work specifically for the Mid America Freedom Band, going so far as to weave the band members’ names in musical code within the piece. The musical legacy of Sapphire and the band it was commissioned for will live on far into the future, inspiring other composers and musicians to proudly and boldly write, perform, and nurture a sense of community.”

The composer's program notes for Sapphire contain the following excerpts:

  • Sapphire is the gemstone of tenth anniversaries, but more important, that brilliant blue represents “harmony” in the pride flag. What a perfect combination!
  • The piece itself is built off of a four-note motive representing MAFB. 
    “Fanfare” is a strident display of fast trills and runs with a brief respite of solo woodwinds. A quartet of solo brass players leads back into a restatement of the original material and the trombones close the movement in a blaze of glory.

  • The middle two movements, “Chorale (for saxophones and brass)” and “Dance (for woodwinds, percussion, and bass),” are played back-to-back without a break. A band is only as strong as its members and so I used the names of the all the MAFB members playing in the premiere as the basis for these two movements. The “Chorale” uses a musical alphabet in which every letter of the alphabet is assigned a pitch; of course some have to repeat as there are more letters than pitches available. The ‘Dance” is a quirky off-kilter quasi-waltz.
  • I used a modified system of Morse code to embed the member names in this movement. With talented piccolo and contrabass players, I could not resist the urge to end the movement with a demented duet between the two extremes of the ensemble. 
  • “Finale” is a Latin-spiced party. It is pure fun and the rhythmic drive of the movement is taken from the natural rhythm of speaking, “Mid America Freedom Band.” Luckily for this rhythm fit perfectly over Latin dance patterns. 

To listen to the first movement of Sapphire, click HERE.

To listen to the last movement of Sapphire, click HERE.

Based on its successful experience with JSEF, the Mid America Freedom Band is giving serious consideration to raising additional funds locally for the purpose of endowing them under JSEF management. This will help assure the long-term future of this important LGBT arts organization.

JSEF Grant Helps Fund LGBA Commissioned Work

posted Aug 6, 2012, 3:08 PM by Doug L   [ updated Aug 6, 2012, 3:26 PM ]

To help the Lesbian and Gay Band Association (LGBA) celebrate its 30th Anniversary in style, their Board decided to commission a new piece of music to have its world premiere during a September 15 concert in Dallas as part of its annual Conference. In addition to soliciting funds from loyal individual donors, LGBA applied for a grant from the Jon Sims Endowment Fund for the Performing Arts.

Said LGBA President Adam Derosa, "Over a year ago, the LGBA Board committed to commissioning an
original piece of music to celebrate our organization's 30th Anniversary and to premiere this piece during the Dallas conference. In December 2011, we were excited to announce the selection of Michael Markowski to compose this work.
 In addition, we invited Jadine Louie, Artistic Director of the SF Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band to conduct the world premiere of this exciting piece at the Majestic Theater on September 15. Jadine (photo at right) is one of LGBA's most experienced and beloved conductors, and she jumped at the chance to lead this piece in its first performance."

At age 26, composer Michael Markowski (photo at left) has accomplished quite a lot!
In 2010, he successfully graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Film from Arizona State University. In 2006, his work for concert band, Shadow Rituals, was honored with first prize in the first Frank Ticheli Composition Contest, sponsored by Manhattan Beach Music. He has received commissions for new works from a number of organizations including CBDNA, The Consortium for the Advancement of Wind Band Literature, The Lesbian and Gay Band Association, Arrowhead Union High School and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Youth Wind Ensembles, Bethel High School, and other consortiums of schools.

The piece he has written for LGBA is entitled "City Trees" and here is what Mr. Markowski had to say about it: "This piece 'City Trees' is partly about my own recent Eastern migration from Arizona to New York City. Above all, it's a lyrical reflection of the bravery that it often takes to venture into new worlds, embrace other cultures, and lovingly encourage new ideas."

For more information about the composer, visit http://www.michaelmarkowski.com/. For more information about the 2012 LGBA conference in Dallas, visit http://oaklawnband.org/2012-lgba-conference/ 

JSEF Helps Fund Orchestra "Drum Drive"

posted Oct 15, 2009, 8:02 AM by Doug L   [ updated Jun 7, 2011, 4:11 PM ]

Thanks to a generous matching grant from the Jon Sims Endowment Fund for the Performing Arts, the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony orchestra (BARS) has a new set of four timpani.

Thanks to the generosity and support of its San Francisco area audience, donors, and community, BARS has purchased a brand-new set of Yamaha 6200 series timpani. These drums were unveiled at the June 4 BARS concert at the SF Conservatory of Music on Oak Street.

BARS gives a standing ovation to The Jon Sims Endowment Fund for the Performing Arts, the Castro Lions Club, T Wyatt & California Percussion, CF Howes, and M Saccomano for their efforts in helping us raise the bar.

Here are some photos from the night of the unveiling of the set of 4 timpani. See the JSEF home page for a video of the first-ever public performance on these timpani.


Above center left: Outgoing BARS Executive Director formally introduces the new set of 4 timpani to the audience.
Above bottom left: Percussion section leader Mark Saccomano performs a recital on the new timpani.
Above bottom right: JSEF Board Members Kathy Hennig, Loren McGlade, and Doug Litwin pose with BARS percussion section members and the new timpani.

You can read more about the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony at http://bars-sf.org/

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