Count Basie Center for the Arts Announces $20M Endowment Campaign; Musician Charlie Puth has been named Honorary Chair | Catch My Job


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Originally published: 10/24/2022

Count Basie Center for the Arts Announces $20M Endowment Campaign;  Musician Charlie Puth has been named Honorary Chair

(Red Bank, NJ) — Non-profit Count Basie Center for the Arts Announced its $20m ‘Forever for Everyone’ endowment campaign. GRAMMY nominated, multi-platinum singer/songwriter/producer Charlie PuthA one-time student at the Count Basie Center Academy of Arts who launched his ‘One Night Only’ tour at the venue, was named honorary chair.

“My ‘One Night Only’ tour kicked off last night at the Count Basie Center for the Arts, where I once trained and honed my skills,” said Puth, whose third studio album, Charlie, released on October 7 via Atlantic Records. “Making arts education accessible to children is important to me, which is why I am proud to serve as honorary chair of the Bessie Center’s ‘Forever For All’ endowment campaign.”

On Sunday, October 23rd, the Count Basie Center also announced a scholarship in Charlie Puth’s name, available to students interested in participating in any Count Basie Center Academy program. For more information, visit

The endowment’s goal is to raise $20 million, so that the organization can endow scholarships in Bessie Center Academy programs in perpetuity; promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in the performing arts; Fund the Bessie Center’s goals for strategic growth; and create an emergency fund for the maintenance of its campus, including its 96-year-old historic theater.

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“The ‘Forever for Everyone’ endowment will provide annual scholarships to hundreds of students who wish to attend Bessie Center Academy, as I did,” Puth added. “The Bessie Center offers classes and arts education experiences that teach not only performance skills, but also important life skills such as self-confidence, resilience, teamwork and cooperation.”

The Count Basie Centre’s ‘Forever for Everyone’ campaign aims to raise funds to achieve three organizational goals:

* Increases access and equity by creating a perpetual scholarship program, which allows students regardless of their stage of life or socioeconomic status to be a part of the Basie Center program.

* Provide funding to launch new programs and initiatives, particularly those that will deepen the Bessie Center’s commitment to cultural competency, racial equity, and social inclusion.

* Create a reserve capital improvement fund to ensure the long-term viability of the Count Basie Center campus, including a reserve for maintenance of the Basie Center’s 96-year-old historic theater.

“As our historic theater approaches its 100th anniversary, we’re focused on the next century, and the opportunities the Count Basie Center can create for the community,” said Adam Phillipson, president and CEO of the Count Basie Center for the Arts. “Creating a new generation of equitable access to art education for our children is at the core of our mission to inspire, educate and entertain. This campaign, and the generosity of our donors and the general public, will make those opportunities possible.”

Philanthropists and longtime Count Basie Center supporters Carol Stilwell and Valerie Montecalvo will co-chair the campaign, expressing their commitment to providing arts education opportunities to students in the region.

“Valerie and I love the Count Basie Center for the Arts and recognize the impact this campaign will have on children in our community,” said Carol Stilwell, co-chair of Forever for Everyone. “The opportunity before us, to broaden the impact of the Bessie Center’s art education programs and create a legacy, is potentially life-changing. We have witnessed the joy and confidence that art education creates in students, and we believe that this is extremely important all Children get these opportunities.”

CEO Phillipson concluded, “‘Forever for All’ is not just a slogan, it is a progression of our beliefs. “What the Count Basie Center provides in arts education should be equitable, accessible and available to all students interested in the arts. This campaign is a legacy fulfillment. Our commitment to ensure.”

For more information or to contribute to the Count Basie Center’s Forever for Everyone endowment campaign, visit

Count Basie Center for the Arts New Jersey’s premier center for the cultural arts, dedicated to powerful, inclusive artistic experiences and the creative exchange of ideas. The Bessie Center mission is to inspire, educate and entertain through its unique and engaging cultural and artistic offerings that expand and embrace the diversity of the region. As a nonprofit organization, the Bessie Center is committed to enriching the quality of life in the community by creating opportunities for participation in the arts, partnering with schools, collaborating with other mission-oriented organizations, and driving regional economic prosperity. The Bessie Center has hosted an array of world-class artists, including Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band, Jon Bon Jovi, John Legend, Crosby Stills & Nash, Tony Bennett, Diana Ross and Ringo Starr. Count Basie Center programming is made possible in part by funding from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

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Photo: Charlie Puth poses with Count Basie Center President and CEO Adam Phillipson shortly before the kickoff of Puth’s ‘One Night Only’ tour in Red Bank. Puth, who studied at the Count Basie Center Academy of the Arts as a child, was named honorary chair of the Basie Center’s ‘Forever for Everyone’ endowment campaign, which will raise money to endow hundreds of scholarships in perpetuity for students interested in studying art. Performing Arts at the Count Basie Center Academy. A pre-show reception was also held to raise money to establish a scholarship in Puth’s honor.


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