The Living Heritage Foundation
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Organization Details


LHF offers a fiscal sponsorship program to help arts and media professionals who qualify toward greater success. We call the people or programs that we sponsor fiscally, "sponsorees'." They serve the adult concert and film-going world through their art and programs. We serve them -- arts and/or media professionals of any race who have ALREADY significantly presented works by/about African Americans or women of note in their careers. If their application is approved, these professionals may seek our advice and utilize our non-profit status to get grants and funding for new projects or important career activities, such as audition or presentation travel. Thus, the goal of this program is to give to "givers" who have taken the time to enrich programming for us all, by allowing them to receive grants and donations toward activities that will significantly enrich their careers and future audiences.

The financials that flow through this program are tax deductible and go to sponsorees' "LHF-approved" activity. They pay no application fee, but 5% of the funds donated to them through LHF goes into our grant fund, which is available to these artists and others. Sponsorees are eligible to apply to our grant program every two years. This is the LHF unique funding concept.

*The amount that flows through this program is limited only by the good will of donors. We estimate that this program now takes up about 30% of our time and we hope to raise funds for travel and to publicize it.
Program Successes
Our fiscal sponsorship program has enriched the careers of several artists internationally and has fostered new programming. Here are some recent accomplishments:
2019-20 (acclaimed successes)
-Acclaimed Duo sopranos -- Marquita Lister and Louise Toppin start developing their volume of spirituals for 2 voices by women arrangers.
- Legendary operatic bass-baritone SIMON ESTES to presented a master class after a concert at Sacramento State University.
- MET mezzo-soprano TRICHINA VAUGHN, stationed in Dresden, DE. executes her second of three Metropolitan Opera contracts in Porgy and Bess. In all she received and executed 3 contracts from auditions that we enabled.
-St. Louis sports photography/former AP photographer LEON ALGEE, JR. to gain equipment and software to enhance his photography of African American youth in Junior PGA, Boys and Girls Club, and high school sports programs in St. Louis, leading to displays.
- The fine bass KEVIN THOMPSON to sing a major operatic role in China and to salvage major equipment threatened due to cancellations during Covid.
-Barbara Range of Sacrament receive our Lifetime Achievement Award for her art and production venue in Sacramento -- The Brockhouse Complex.

In 2018 (many successes -- highlights):
- Grant and sponsorship recipient Trichina Vaughn attained her dream -- She appeared successfully at the MET -- the outcome of our sponsorship and grants from audition to performance starting in 2015.
- Grant and sponsorship recipients Carlos and Brennen, piano-clarinet duo, debuted at Carnegie Hall and presented at the NANM National Conference in Las Vegas.
- Composer Jacqueline B. Hairston was awarded our Lifetime Achievement Award.
- There was more!!
Help us achieve even more artists sponsorships and to continue to sponsor great art.

In 2017:
- Baritone Robert Sims (our Lifetime Achievement awardee) received rave reviews for his concert, panel, and book signing on legendary tenor Roland Hayes. Medal of Arts winner tenor George Shirley emceed and sang as well.
- Operatic soprano Shawnette Sulker (who has popularized W. Indian and African-American classical art song) to get ongoing career sponsorship and to go to Europe to concertize and audition.
- The Alpha Bruton Gallery in Chicago to apply for grants to continue community art work that helps high-level minority artists exhibit their works here and abroad.

In 2016/2017, as fiscally sponsored projects, we helped:
- A positive rapper WolfHawkJaguar bring a World Music Festival to Oakland, CA and with it, leading Cuban singer Bobi Cespedes.
- International exponent of the Spiritual, baritone Robert Sims to present a project a successfully reviewed concert and book panel on the great concert tenor Roland Hayes at Lincoln Center.
- The emerging PBS documentary Voices for Freedom - The Hyers Sisters' Legacy.
- Sacramento choreographer Nicole Manker (who has focused on African American works on the S/BAD company) attend 2016 Katherine Dunham certification and in 2017 present/showcase works of Katherine Dunham at a major dance conference.
Grant giving is a major goal of this Foundation and takes about 40 percent of our time. The ideas is to support the career-advancement of those who have already given significantly by presenting works by/about African Americans or women of note within their professional careers. Such works enrich programming for us all.

This program is funded though fiscal sponsorship fees and donations, so it requires fundraising, and needs your support. Our grant program is composed of an annual grant competition in January, for which funds donated and collected the previous year are used and emergency grants (available July-December). Our January grants are often used for any activity that will advance our recipients' careers -- audition/performance travel, public presentations, exhibits, and to create various types of art work and films; the emergency grants are used primarily for urgent travel.

Our grants are open to any professional who fulfills our mission, regardless of race. Our goal is to further the careers of those who have ALREADY significantly presented works that relate to African Americans or women of note, so the grant they receive from us need not be applied in those areas. We often seek matching funds to augment what we can give.

The Need:
Working arts and media professionals depend constantly on competitions and auditions. Even if they are celebrated, they are perpetual contract workers. In addition to living expenses, they must pay for travel, auditions, agents, and fees for conventions, exhibits, editing, media duplication, screenings, art display, rehearsals, accompaniment, copying, coaching, and fees to advance their projects. Our proven professionals do not command scholarships, and often they are above the grant-getting cut off age, so they need our assistance. We support the sub-group of those professionals, whom we feel have given special programming to us all.

Our goal is to give $15,000 in grants in a year and to have $5,000 in emergency funds to give toward artists' urgent needs, and to give a Life-time Achievement Award every two years to an artist who has continuously contributed significant arts or media works related African-Americans or women of note. Hence the $20,000 figure above. Please help us reach this goal.
Program Successes
Here are a few highlights of our grant program (emergency and regular):

With LHF grants -- We gave to
-Former Metropolitan Opera (MET) soloist KAREN SLACK to begin developing a soprano and orchestra work for next year involving music and words of great African American heroines.
- Internationally renowned soprano MARQUITA LISTER to create her first Web site.
- Oakland collage artist NEDRA WILLIAMS to mount her first online exhibit
-Acclaimed soprano HOPE BRIGGS to debut at Lincoln Center and also to coach songs and create accompaniments for the music of her a new online song series.
-Scholar Halifu Osumare for her biographical dance book entitled Dancing in Blackness. LHF sponsored the California tour. The book won 2 major US awards
- Arizona script writer ROGER COLE to enter 8 film festivals for awards for his new short-film script. To date he has been selected for festivals and table readings.

- Brought legendary bass-baritone Simon Estes to Sacramento State University to give a public master class -- a new venture for him -- to accompany his concert there.
- Gave to Trichina Vaughn in 2018 toward her to lodging while at the MET -- a contract she'd won on her previous trip under LHF grant.
- Gave renowned composer Jacqueline Hairston our 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award.
- Gave a grant to former AP sports photographer Leon Algee for presenting his work.
- Gave acclaimed author-choreographer Halifu Osumare a grant in 2018 toward her national book tour.
- Sent the Carlos and Brennen piano-clarinet duo, to debut in 2018 at Carnegie Hall and to present a concert at the NANM National Convention in Las Vegas.

- Gave baritone Robert Sims (the world renowned exponent of the spiritual) our 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award.
- Sent operatic soprano Hope Briggs in 2017 to Carnegie Hall to enrich the concert of renowned composer Jacqueline Hairston.
- Gave grants in 2016 and 2017 to opera star mezzo Tichina Vaughn to come from her permanent position at Semperoper in Dresden, DE to the US to audition at the MET and to compete.
- The 2018 grant was to return for successful appearances won at the Spoleto Festival.
- Helped send the operatic basso Kevin Thompson to China for the first time to sing an opera, and sponsored virtuoso pianist-composer Carlos Fuentes to present a new work at the NANM National Convention.
If accepted, fiscal sponsors and grant recipients may optionally elect to be mentored by members of our LHF advisory committee, our Board, or those esteemed in the their field that we can provide a connection. Our sponsors are already successful, but the mentors with whom LHF may connect sponsors may help evaluate new works or even help them prepare for advancements in their careers. If we select a sponsoree or give a grant, we want them to find someone "who has gone before them" to suggest resources and venues too, which might help make their project or career more successful. We also recommend artists and media to existing series or venues. This enriches the programming of existing series with new works and expands the careers of our grantees and sponsors. The program, which may involve travel, takes about 10 percent of our time and is important, but not costly.
Program Successes
- Our career expansion program for sponsorees and grantees has a 100 percent rate of success!
- Since 2012, we have recommended soprano Hope Briggs for Carnegie Hall, Shawnette Sulker, baritone Robert Sims for Music in the Mountains in the Sierras and the Harrison Oak Series in Sacramento, and pianist-composer Jacqueline Hairston, rapper WolfHawkJaguar, and four singers to First Unitarian of Oakland's series.
- All got the jobs and brought new repertoire before those audiences.
About 20 percent of our work will center on a few special projects that further LHF's mission and raise awareness of our Foundation.

Recent, ongoing special projects have involved digitizing two of America's first musicals, which were lost works commissioned and popularized by the African-American divas, The Hyers Sisters in the 1870's, and co-producing a PBS film about The Sisters (see below). In such projects, our investment of funds has been very low, but our investment of time, significant.

Future Needs:
Next year we will:
- Produce a book of the two Hyers works that we have digitized, making them available to the public for the first time since 1894.
- Expand our media presence and office -- a Foundation website and promo and co-produced fundraising concert are needed along with an office intern.
- Assist with the distribution of our co-sponsored film on the Hyers.
- Help produce a rare masterwork by celebrated black composer Dorothy Rudd-Moore.

Doing these projects will require video editing, web-designing fees, and a few production costs, but the gains will far outweigh the costs. For example, a website and promo to display our programs effectively will connect our work with our sponsoree sites and attract many more donations and applicants. Our expansion will require a part-time intern, who will receive a stipend, and a better piece of equipment for our office, but our work will become more effective. The budget figure thus reflects projected costs for these things is above.
Program Successes
- Our co-sponsored M.E.P. Productions film Voices for Freedom debuted on PBS and quickly rose to broadcast on 33% of all PBS stations. It has to date won five international Film Festival awards and a Telly (all screens) Broadcast Award. Its producer and our Founder was celebrated on PBS Arts Showcase.
- Composer Jacqueline B. Hairston was awarded our Lifetime Achievement Award. She has to date had three Carnegie Hall recitals dedicated to her works and Kathleen Battle, having recorded many, is touring with ten of them in her current program.
- Song innovator, soprano Marnie Breckenridge in a concert of works of contemporary women composers appeared on the Harrison Oaks Concert Series in Sacramento.
- We created a web portal and a Facebook page and populated it with videos, photos, and information on our sponsorees and projects. We will expand this work as mentioned above.
- We are currently mentoring and co-sponsoring Masters of the Spiritual with Canti Classics at Lincoln Center in New York, starring 12 singers and paying tribute to three iconic arrangers of spirituals.