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Kansas City is, perhaps, best known throughout the world for its unique contribution to music — jazz, which now has become respectable, adopted by symphonies, and taught in conservatories of music. It has taken many forms, but basically it remains the old robust music that reflects the Kansas City spirit.

The Kansas City Jazz Ambassadors, Inc., Incorporated as a 501(c)3 in 1984, was created as part of the Kansas City Jazz Commission by then mayor Richard L. Berkley, and is the city’s oldest nonprofit governed by an operating board of volunteers.

A majority of the proceeds from our fundraising efforts go directly to our Musician’s Assistance Fund (MAF), the Tommy Ruskin Memorial Fund and the John Booth Legacy Fund, with a small portion going to help operate the all-volunteer non-profit organization.


The Musician’s Assistance Fund is maintained by KCJA to assist local musicians who are experiencing hardship that interferes with their ability to play gigs and earn money. This could include stolen instruments, medical bills with no insurance, housing/living expenses, car problems, etc. If you or someone you know fits this description, please don’t hesitate to let us know how we can help.


The Tommy Ruskin Memorial Fund for Jazz Education is named for the beloved Kansas City jazz master who mentored and inspired countless performers who continue his great legacy today. This fund supports “Jazz Futures”, a program consisting of monthly live performances throughout the school year where jazz studies programs from area colleges bring their best combos to local nightclubs to show off their talent. The Jazz Ambassadors then give a significant donation to each institution’s jazz program.

The John Booth Legacy Fund aims to support uninsured and underinsured jazz musicians in our community by covering expenses associated with end-of-life arrangements. Through the Legacy Fund, we seek to prevent a lack of resources from depriving any of our local jazz legends of their dignity. Our goal is to ensure that they are remembered and cherished as they rightfully deserve in times of illness or passing.


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