Download the complete version of the strategic plan below. This pdf document includes more detailed goals and actions, as well as evaluations of PJCE’s current state, including survey results from June 2020.

Executive Summary

Evolving to meet the demands of the future.

Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble (PJCE) creates and performs original jazz music that engages and supports our community’s diverse artists, cultures, and place. In our strategic plan we are preparing to do this work for more people, in more diverse and creative ways, and with a stronger financial foundation.

We completed this planning process during the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic recession, and an urgent movement for racial justice. Our plan is both compelled and motivated by those conditions and by the changing cultural and economic demands on Portland artists.

Building on our previous achievements, we believe that a growing PJCE will better support its dynamic community of artists, audiences, and students of jazz in Portland.

Marilyn Keller with PJCE, Alberta Rose Theater, From Maxville to Vanport in 2018. Photo by Kimmie Fadem.

Mission, Vision and Values Statements

Revised as part of our Strategic Planning process.


PJCE creates and performs original jazz music that engages and supports our community’s diverse artists, cultures and place.


PJCE envisions a vibrant jazz community where composers, performers, students and audiences create, see and hear their cultural experiences artistically expressed and represented in original jazz compositions and performance.


Community: We value a supportive community experience that includes a diverse group of composers, performers, audience, and students.

Integrity: We carry out our work with the greatest responsibility, openness, and accountability.

Innovation: We honor jazz and its legacy as an inclusive and diverse art that constantly renews itself in each generation’s time and place.

Legacy: We recognize jazz as a quintessentially American cultural achievement and contribution to world culture, created from and within the African American experience in the United States.

Respect: We treat all people, communities, and cultures with dignity and respect.

Excellence: We strive for excellence in all our endeavors.

Creativity: We value imagination, innovation, and music that embraces local culture, community and history.

PJCE performing Jasnam Daya Singh’s Ekta: The Unity Project at The Old Church, February 2020

Strategic Directions and Goals

Strategic Direction 1: Equitable, broad, inclusive community participation.

Goal #1: Ensure BIPOC, people under 35, and women and nonbinary people are participating as composers, performers, staff and board members, and audience members as a growing and indispensable part of our community.

Goal #2: Honor African-American community’s central role in jazz history by investing in deeper connections to Portland’s Black community.

Strategic Direction 2: Flexible, adaptive programming that supports and engages our community during and after quarantine conditions.

Goal #1: Ensure programming decisions are made according to publicly accessible guidelines for greater transparency.

Goal #2: Place large ensemble programming on hiatus until pandemic conditions subside, using the hiatus to reevaluate ensemble’s organization and community participation.

Goal #3: Begin to offer commissions and performance opportunities to composers working with their own small groups.

Goal #4: PJCE Records takes on a more prominent and innovative role in documenting PJCE projects and releasing work to the public.

Goal #5: Explore methods to reach more young people through the Young Composers program while continuing mentorships similar to previous years.

Strategic Direction #3: Increased financial growth and sustainability to ensure a robust future for original jazz in Portland.

Goal #1: Acquire stable, broad-based, financial and non financial resources to support the programs and growth envisioned in this strategic plan.

Goal #2: Cultivate and increase individual donors to play a larger role in funding PJCE programs especially during and after pandemic.

Goal #3: Develop decision making processes informed by routine, effective financial analysis.

Goal #4: Restore earned revenue to at least of half of pre-pandemic level as share of total revenue, 20%.

Strategic Direction #4: Efficient, effective, impactful organizational Infrastructure

Goal #1: Ensure staff, board, and artists have access to tools and documents that help us pursue our mission.

Goal #2: Develop staff and Board capacity and structure appropriate to meet our goals over next two years.

Goal #3: Designate committees of members of the Board of Directors to set policy and do strategic tasks.

Goal #4: Develop and implement a plan for leadership transition at the end of FY22.