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Nov 14, 2022

Count Basie Center for the Arts Announces $20M Endowment Campaign Musician Charlie Puth Named Honorary Chair

Charlie Puth poses with Count Basie Center president and CEO Adam Philipson moments before the kickoff of Puth's 'One Night Only' tour in Red Bank.

The nonprofit Count Basie Center for the Arts has announced its $20 million “Forever For Everyone” endowment campaign. Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum singer/songwriter/producer Charlie Puth, the onetime student of the Count Basie Center Academy of the Arts who kicked off his ‘One Night Only’ tour at the venue, was named honorary chair.  

“My ‘One Night Only’ tour kicked off at the Count Basie Center for the Arts, where I once trained and honed my skills,” said Puth. “It is important to me to make arts education accessible to children, which is why I’m proud to serve as honorary chair of the Basie Center’s ‘Forever for Everyone’ endowment campaign.” 

The Count Basie Center 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 aims to raise $20 million dollars, allowing the organization to offer scholarships in perpetuity to Basie Center Academy programs; to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in the performing arts; fund the Basie Center’s goals for strategic growth; and create an emergency fund for upkeep of its campus, including its 96-year-old historic theater.  

“The ‘Forever For Everyone’ endowment will award hundreds of yearly scholarships to students who wish to study at the Basie Center Academy, like I did,” Puth added. “The Basie Center offers classes and arts education experiences that teach not just performance skills, but also critical life skills like confidence, tolerance, teamwork and collaboration.” 

The Count Basie Center’s ‘Forever For Everyone’ campaign aims to raise money to achieve three organizational goals:

  • Foster access and equity through the creation of a perpetual scholarship program, allowing students to become part of Basie Center programs regardless of their stage of life or socioeconomic standing. 
  • Provide funds to launch new programs and initiatives, especially those which will deepen the Basie Center’s commitment to cultural competency, racial equity, and social inclusion.  
  • Create a reserve capital improvement fund to ensure the Count Basie Center campus remains viable in the long term, including reserves for maintenance of the Basie Center’s 96-year-old historic theatre. 

“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 Philipson, president and CEO of Count Basie Center for the Arts. “At the core of our mission to Inspire, Educate and Entertain is the creation of a new generation of equitable access to arts education for our children. 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 Stillwell and Valerie Montecalvo will co-chair the campaign, expressing their commitment to providing arts education opportunities to the region’s students.  

“Valerie and I love the Count Basie Center for the Arts and recognize the impact this campaign will bring to the children of our community,” Stillwell said. “The opportunity we have in front of us, to create a legacy by widening the impact of the Basie Center’s arts education programs, is potentially life-changing. We’ve witnessed the joy and confidence arts education creates in students, and we believe it’s crucial that all children receive  these opportunities.”  

Philipson concluded, “’Forever For Everyone’ isn’t just a slogan; it’s our credo moving forward. What the Count Basie Center provides in the field of arts education should be equitable, accessible, and available to all students interested in the arts. This campaign is our commitment to ensure that legacy is fulfilled.” 

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