Congratulations to long-time Board Member Jeffrey Grossman, honored by the Philadelphia Business Journal for his partnership with Musicopia
April 2019…Musicopia extends its heartfelt and heartiest congratulations and thanks to Jeffrey Grossman, partner at Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, LLP, who was honored this month by the Philadelphia Business Journal as one of its “2019 Faces of Philanthropy” recipients for his work with Musicopia. Each year, the Philadelphia Business Journal honors the region's most impactful philanthropic initiatives between for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations, and looks for the best examples of how companies of all sizes give back to Greater Philadelphia through engagement with the nonprofit sector. This year’s awards breakfast took place on April 11, 2019 at the Crystal Tea Room in Philadelphia.
Jeff, who served for 11 years on Musicopia’s Board of Directors through June of 2018 (including one year as a Board Observer), first found out about Musicopia through his participation in the Business on Board program of the Arts and Business Council for Greater Philadelphia. The Business on Board program provides comprehensive leadership development and board placement focused on the unique needs of the Philadelphia region’s nonprofit arts and culture sector. “I went through the training, and at the end of it, you talk to the program coordinator about your interests, so that they can pair you with a nonprofit,” said Jeff. “I talked about my love of music and that I play guitar, so I was paired with Musicopia.” Jeff has been playing guitar since age 12, and also plays a bit of piano, drums, and bass.
Jeff started as a Board Observer in 2005 and became a Board Member the following year. He served on the Executive Committee and was the co-chair of the Governance Committee. Some of the many benefits of having Jeff as a Board Member were his exemplary problem-solving skills, his ability to work positively and collaboratively with a wide range of people, and his understanding that there are many perspectives that are equally valid and need to be taken into account when working as a group. “In terms of problem solving as a unit, I learned that communication is key,” he said. “You have to be deliberate, you have to be inclusive, and you have to bring the variety of perspectives to the table and draw up a solution that way. Whatever time you may have lost in the planning phase by doing that, you make up in the execution phase because you’ll have broad consensus. If you do it right, you will have many hands interested in becoming a part of the solution instead of just a few.”
Denise Kinney, Musicopia’s Executive Director, agrees. “Jeff has a rare ability to listen to all sides of a discussion and then propose a solution that satisfies everyone and brings everyone to consensus. Jeff took his Board service seriously and never hesitated to volunteer or to reach out to his contacts on the organization’s behalf.” Jeff also received Musicopia’s PROVIDE Award in February, an award that recognizes the service of members of the Board of Directors who ended their term in the past year.
Jeff was a leader on the Board during a time of great challenge and change for Musicopia. For example, he was with the organization during the 2008 Recession, a difficult time for many nonprofit organizations. “We had to navigate our way through the great recession and the impact that had on funding, but we came out of it not only stronger, but more intact,” Jeff said. Jeff also played a key role in steering Musicopia through the establishment of its partnership with Dancing Classrooms Philly (DCP) which was finalized in 2012. Musicopia and DCP now have a shared Board of Directors but originally had separate Boards. Jeff was one of three Musicopia Board Members who volunteered to serve on the DCP Board as well to ensure the success of the new partnership venture in the critical first few years. Jeff also enjoyed working with his colleagues on the Board and staff. “It’s a working Board, comprised of people who want to roll up their sleeves and do the good work for the enterprise. It’s energizing and rewarding to work with people like that,” said Jeff. “The Board has evolved a great deal in terms of its discipline and ability to cover a broad spectrum of issues in a very organized and thoughtful way. And that’s just progress over time, but really important progress nonetheless.”
Of course, Jeff also cares deeply about the positive and life-changing impact that music can have on students. “Just knowing that there are kids in Philadelphia and the surrounding counties that are hooked on music that might not have been if not for our involvement in the communities that we serve is awesome,” said Jeff. “As a musician, the path that music took me on, in terms of relationships with peers, building confidence, and the joy of music itself, has been as defining as anything else in my life in a positive way. If you’re young and impressionable and you develop a love of performing music or dance at an early age, you will form a positive identity and purpose. Having a strong sense of identity and purpose is a real advantage.” Throughout the years, Jeff has been to many Musicopia programs and concerts and has seen first-hand the impact that programming has had. “I’ve seen students learning to work together as a group, and I’ve also seen how groups such as the Musicopia String Orchestra and Drumlines have evolved over time and have come to be so talented,” Jeff said. “You just know you’re making a material different in the lives of these kids. Musicopia is an excellent organization and vital to this city and to the communities it serves.”
Fun fact: Jeff coined Musicopia’s tagline “For a Well Played Life.” Thank you for that, Jeff, and for so much more, from all of us at Musicopia and Dancing Classrooms Philly!
By Talia Yellin Fisher