Linda Walton, Vice-President of Programming, Jazz Mobile; Robin Bell-Stevens, President & CEO, Jazz Mobile; Kenneth J. Knuckles, President & CEO, UMEZ; Maurine Knighton, Senior V.P. for Program and Non-Profit Investments, UMEZ; and Hans Hardisty, Associate Program Officer for Program and Non-Profit Investments, UMEZ.


             New York, N.Y.Kenneth J. Knuckles, President & CEO of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corp. (UMEZ), joined by Maurine Knighton, UMEZ’s Senior Vice President for Program and Nonprofit Investments, announced today that UMEZ had awarded a three-year, $1,260,000 grant to Jazzmobile, the oldest not-for-profit cultural organization created just for jazz in the United States. UMEZ’s grant will enable Jazzmobile to expand programming, increase revenue, and upgrade the organization’s infrastructure.

            UMEZ’s support comes when many arts organizations are struggling to cope with the economic downturn. According to Mr. Knuckles, “A vital cultural economy is essential to the strength of Upper Manhattan. We believe this is an opportune time for Jazzmobile to closely examine its operations and make adjustments that ensure it maintains its place in the constellation of local arts organizations.”

 Jazzmobile was founded in Harlem, in the summer of 1964 by Dr. Billy Taylor and Ms. Daphne Arnstein to present, preserve, promote and propagate jazz music through quality performance and education programs and to play a major role in the renaissance of jazz. Over the years, Jazzmobile has been critical to the development of jazz and jazz education programs in Harlem and throughout New York City. The organization has a rich history, having brought performers like Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Nancy Wilson, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Wynton Marsalis, Wycliffe Gordon and many other well-known musicians to locations where the performers could be seen and heard free of charge by audiences of all ages and nationalities.  Its programs have also been presented nationally and internationally, expanding its influence in the jazz community.

           “Jazzmobile, as a cultural entity in this City, plays an essential role in bringing much-needed and much-appreciated jazz and jazz education to people of all ages,” said Mr. Knuckles.  “As such, it is part and parcel of UMEZ’s larger vision of restoring Upper Manhattan as the premier cultural center and destination in New York City.”


            Robin Bell-Stevens, Jazzmobile’s CEO, said, “As we stand at the threshold of our 45th Anniversary, we are enormously grateful for this significant investment in Jazzmobile by The Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation.  It serves not only as an acknowledgment of our contribution to the cultural landscape for forty-five years; but it is an endorsement of our ability to strategically grow our institution, which will enable us to have an even greater cultural and economic impact (especially) in Harlem. To this end, we welcome others to join UMEZ as we build an even stronger Jazzmobile!”


 UMEZ’s mission is to sustain the economic revitalization of all the communities of Upper Manhattan through job creation, corporate alliances, strategic investments and small business assistance.  UMEZ seeks to revitalize distressed communities by using geographically targeted public funds and tax incentives as catalysts for private investment. In Upper Manhattan, the communities that lie within the Empowerment Zone's borders include Harlem, East Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood.


 UMEZ’s CIIF celebrates Upper Manhattan’s rich past while creating new legacies.  The work of the CIIF is two-fold:  community building through a cultural and economic lens; and, a marketing of place that repositions Upper Manhattan as one of New York City’s primary cultural districts.  The goals of the CIIF are sustaining the local economy by promoting development, revitalization and tourism; making strategic cultural investments; and, strengthening the cultural ecosystem.

            CIIF seeks to fund service organizations that can significantly position and promote local arts and culture as an integral component of cultural history, contemporary art production, and the local cultural industry and economy; build the artistic and administrative capacity of local arts and cultural players; provide technical assistance; develop programmatic links and collaborations with other groups in Upper Manhattan, city-wide, and/or nationally; and, service the arts across disciplines.

March 2014
Win8 logo
UMEZ upgrades to Microsoft Windows 8.1
Biennial Report 2011-2012
Biennial cover pg 2011-2012
Biennial Report 2011-2012
Nov 6, 2012
June 26, 2012
Career Opportunities in Healthcare Program
Jul. 25, 2012: BRISC loan recipient, Jado Wine Bar & Sushi opens in Harlem
Jul. 25, 2012: Jado Sushi

October 17, 2011
October 17, 2011
Dec. 15, 2010
Dec. 15, 2010
Dance Theatre of Harlem receives UMEZ grant
Dec. 14, 2010
Dec. 15, 2010
Verdery Roosevelt appointed Senior Vice President
November 22, 2010
November 22, 2010
Award-winning master stylist Maisha Teacher opens Bibi Salon
November 10, 2010
November 10, 2010
Harlem Vintage receives BRISC loan
November 9, 2010
November 9, 2010
Hope Community receives grant
September 27, 2010
September 27, 2010
UMEZ teams with Grameen America
July 22, 2010
Ken Grand Opening
Grand Opening of East River Plaza
April 16, 2010
April 16, 2010
Morris-Jumel Mansion receives grant
March 15, 2010
March 15, 2010
Acelero Learning, Inc. receives BRISC loan
March 5, 2010
b yet
Best Yet Market opens in Harlem
Jan. 20, 2010
Jan. 20, 2010
Gemini II Specialty Boutique receives retail incentive loan
Dec. 13, 2009
Island Salad Opening
Island Salad receives BRISC loan
Sept. 30, 2009
Sept. 30, 2009
Caribbean Cultural Center receives UMEZ grant
Aug. 18, 2009
Patane Press receives retail incentive loan
Jun. 16, 2009
Harlem Masters
Harlem Masters receives forgivable loan
Mar. 17,2009
Mar. 17,2009
Watkins Health Foods receives forgivable loan
Feb. 2, 2009
Pollen Nation
Pollen Nation receives BRISC loan
Jan. 28, 2009
Jazzmobile check
UMEZ underwrites Jazzmobile's future
Jan. 13, 2009
Island Salad Check
Island Salad receives BRISC loan
Nov. 3, 2008
Nov. 3, 2008
UMEZ provides funding for new health care careers initiative
East Harlem Cafe celebrates grand opening.
Aug. 26, 2008
Dagaz check
BRISC loan is a custom fit for Dagaz
Jun.26, 2008
Taller Boricua receives UMEZ grant
Jun. 24, 2008
Manhattan Neighborhood Network awarded UMEZ grant
Jun. 11, 2008
Jun. 11
Empowerment Zone awards $150,000 grant to Opus 118
May 30, 2008
Hope Co mmunity pic
UMEZ grant for Hope Community, Inc
Apr. 7, 2008
Apr. 15
Studio Museum receives multi-year grant
Mar. 14, 2008
Plum Pomidor Restaurant awarded BRISC loan
Mar. 13, 2008
Mar. 25
BRISC loan helps Citicare move to new location & purchase equipment
Feb.13, 2008
Alianza Dominicana breaks ground for new headquarters
Feb.12, 2008
Fishers of Men II Reels in BRISC Loan

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