Clef Club seeking donations for upgrades

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Rendering by Community Design Collaborative

A local music venue is hoping to jazz the place up through a fundraising campaign.

The Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz & Performing Arts at 736 S. Broad St. is amping up a landmark $1.2 million capital campaign, which will help transform the iconic institution into a state-of-the-art performing arts center.

The current facility along the Avenue of the Arts was established in 1995 and houses classrooms, a performance space, recording facilities and executive offices. Board members say the building needs some upgrades.

“The facility is 26 years old and every system in the building is showing signs of wear and tear,” said Anne L. Edmunds, PCC Advisory Board member. “We’re talking about the HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems. We’re in need of a new roof, security system, interior and exterior upgrades and a laundry list of physical plant improvements.”

The organization started a $1.2 million capital campaign through donations and collaborative events. So far, it has raised $820,000, but still has about a third of the way to go, needing $380,000 to meet its fundraising goal. Most of the funds have come through a state redevelopment grant and nonprofit and corporate donors. The Clef Club has also received a $5,000 donation from Kevin Eubanks, who gave a portion of his winnings from appearing on Kevin Hart’s game show Celebrity Game Face. Other local establishments have also stepped up.

“In addition, this past January, we held a fundraiser at Chris’ Jazz Café, which raised $12,000,” said Dr. Ken Scott, president of PCC’s Board of Directors. “We are actively looking to partner with other venues in the city for future fundraising events.”

According to board members, upgrades needed include ongoing upgrades to the recording equipment; improvements to sound and lighting systems; modernizing the music studios, classrooms and bathroom facilities; renovation of the lobby and box office space; moving the main entrance from Fitzwater to Broad Street; and the creation of a new façade and signage.

“We have a unique opportunity to build on Philadelphia Clef Club’s legacy and influence the upward trajectory of jazz education and presentation in Philadelphia,” noted Nelson Parrish, PCC board member and treasurer. “Now more than ever, there is a need to focus on the sustainability of PCC services, and to preserve this cultural facility for the next generation of musicians.” 

To make a donation and/or learn more, visit https://clefclubofjazz.org/2021-capital-campaign-for-philadelphia-clef-club-of-jazz.