The Roderick D. Jones Foundation
Our Mission Our goal is simple. The RDJ Foundation, through monetary awards and opportunities to meet and perform with working professional musicians, wishes to provide a platform to support and nurture our up and coming young musical artists.
The Roderick D. Jones Foundation’s “soul” purpose is to preserve and continue the vision of Roderick Darryl Jones, a life long Gardena, CA native and community leader by every year finding musically talented youth who have distinguished themselves from amongst their peers both artistically and academically. Once we identify the scholarship recipients it is our goal to awarded there individuals with a monetary award and opportunities to preform live on stage including the hugely popular and eagerly anticipated “Gardena Jazz Festival.” This spectacular event features some of the top acts from the world of Jazz.
The Roderick D. Jones Foundation was created to preserve and continue the vision of Roderick Darryl Jones (known as “RJ” to all who were near and dear), a life long Gardena, CA native and community leader who was a champion of both the arts and youth mentorship. As a leader in the area of youth empowerment, he took it upon himself to inspire youth through sports, education and music. As a community leader, Jones is best known as a visionary who helped pave the way for the creation and launch of The Gardena Jazz Festival as one of its co-founders. The festival, now in its 12th year, has grown to be one of largest and most popular gatherings for jazz aficionados in Southern California, regularly attracting 10,000 or more music lovers.
With his passing in 2010, the torch of the cause has now been handed to RJ’s sister, attorney Sandra L. Jones. Sandra is also Gardena High School alum and an advocate for the arts. Sandra’s motivations to create the Roderick D. Jones Foundation are first and foremost a deep love and respect for her brother, and an overwhelming desire to keep Roderick’s memory and vision alive in the city of Gardena and beyond. The foundation exists to support young people who show promise in the area of music and seek out positive ways and resources to express those musical gifts.
For the past two years the foundation has awarded monetary scholarships to young Los Angeles area musicians and vocalists as well as providing the recipients the unique opportunity to perform as the opening act of the Gardena Jazz Festival under the musical direction of world renown musician and music educator Nedra Wheeler. “We want to support and provide performance opportunities to our young music minds who wish to continue their music education as well as pursue music as a career. We are actively seeking those young people who are not only gifted but who are also conscious about giving back to the community”, says Sandra.
As a result of the positive response from festival attendees, scholarship recipients and all involved, Sandra has set up the foundation as a State of California registered nonprofit corporation and a federal tax exempt 501(c)(3) public charity. Coming aboard as Program Director is yet another Gardena native and childhood friend of both Jones siblings, Cornelius “Corney” Mims. Mims is nationally and internationally known for his stellar work as a musician, songwriter, record producer and musical director who has and continues to work with MANY of the entertainment industry’s elite.
Board members include:
- Sandra Jones, Esq., Founder and Executive Director
- Cornelius Mims, Program Director
- Jason Pittman, Artistic Consultant
- Brenda Jokogbola, Administrative Support
Supporters of The Roderick D. Jones Foundation include:
- Tom Torlakson, California State Superintendent of Public Education
- Steven Bradford, California State Assembly member, 62nd District
- Rachel Johnson, Gardena City Council Member
- Anthony White, Director, Los Angeles Unified School District’s “After The Bell” Program.
- Caruthers Realty
- Coulter, Vernoff & Pearsons Attorneys At Law
- The San Gabriel Valley Expressions Book Club.
- Jay Pacete/JAPA Photography
- Belinda Foster/AWJ Platinum PR
- Keith O’Derek/Upfront Productions.