Fund-Raising Platform To Aid Jazz Humanitarian Wendy Oxenhorn


Wendy Oxenhorn, an NEA Jazz Master who saved the lives and living spaces of some of the greatest music icons in America during their times of crisis, lost her own home and workshop, a creative oasis known as The Tin Palace on Florida’s Sanibel Island, to Hurricane Ian in late September. A GoFundMe effort is currently underway to help provide the well-known humanitarian with much-needed financial support.

Oxenhorn is responsible for bringing thousands of musician families through 9/11 and four hurricanes. She was the one to organize bringing “the music” back to New Orleans, providing aid to nearly 1,000 of NOLA’s most beloved musicians — including Fats Domino, Dr. John, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Trombone Shorty, Treme Brass Band and the Hot 8 Band — and their families during her time as the founding director and vice chairman of the Jazz Foundation of America.

“It’s so hard to believe the one thing I owned, this magic place on earth that I built so much of by myself, it was not just a home, it was where I was one with everything, and nature was the love of my life,” she wrote in a recent letter to friends. “I had a community and a communion with wild animals and trees who kept me company, and to see it all ravaged … this tiny slice of amazon rainforest where I had left this crazy world, was my salvation, it where I was able to truly be free.”

Oxenhorn has spent her life lived in a near constant state of giving. Her charitable efforts often demanded 17-hour days and she ran the Jazz Foundation of America for 20 years without ever taking a weekend off. She took what was then a one-person operation that had helped 35 musicians and transformed the Jazz Foundation of America into a national organization helping more than 9,000 emergency cases a year, protecting musicians and their families from eviction, homelessness and hunger. She also created a program that allowed hundreds of elderly musicians whose phones didn’t ring anymore and were too old or too ill to work long nights in the clubs or tour, and created paying gigs in the states they lived in through a program she created in inner-city public schools across the country. She also created and produced many of the events that raised the money and generated more than $70 million dollars for the Jazz Foundation. Her charitable efforts over the decades have been documented in numerous awards and articles.

To contribute to the GoFundMe campaign that was set up to help Oxenhorn just as she helped so many others, click here. DB

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January 2024
Samara Joy
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