New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation
Co-Creating a Visionary Strategy for an Institution That Owns a World-Renowned Music and Culture Festival
Founded in 1970, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation was established as the nonprofit owner of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (Jazz Fest) with a mission to sow the seeds of Louisiana’s unique culture for generations to come. In addition to Jazz Fest, the Foundation owns WWOZ, a local jazz and heritage radio station; a historical archive; and Heritage Music School. These initiatives, combined with the Foundation’s community grantmaking efforts, combine to support, preserve, and celebrate Louisiana’s rich culture and community.
Trepwise kicked off work with the Foundation in 2020 to develop a long-range plan to address deepening community needs, shifting funding sources, and pressing questions on organizational governance and program design.
As a part of our process, we conducted outreach to stakeholders across the ecosystem, from economic development entities to arts intermediaries, to culture bearers and festival vendors.
With the Foundation’s Board, we co-created a long-term plan to increase advocacy around arts education and the rights of culture bearers, build the voice and power of the cultural community into organizational governance, better integrate assets through creative approaches, and develop programs in partnership with the community to catalyze national investment in the ecosystem.
The long-range plan has precipitated the creation of new grant categories and has spurred a process of foundation-wide programmatic evaluation.