The James Dewitt Yancey Foundation, formerly known as The J Dilla Foundation. This name change, implemented in January 2015, serves as a tribute to Maureen (MaDukes) Yancey-Smith's son's legacy, and aligns with his induction into the esteemed Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture. MaDukes has dedicated her life to this mission, which focuses on the upliftment of youth and the encouragement of their interest in education through music and the arts. Her advocacy for the Hip-Hop Education Center at NYU has garnered recognition, with the J Dilla Foundation receiving the esteemed "Extra Credit Award" for "Best National Organization" in 2015.

Building upon this foundation, The James Dewitt Yancey Foundation has expanded its reach, establishing chapters in various cities including Detroit, Minnesota, Atlanta, Chicago, London, Las Vegas, Australia, LA, NYC, Miami, and Alabama. Additionally, MaDukes is actively working on establishing foundation ties in Puerto Rico, where she currently resides.

Central to our mission is the acknowledgment and belief in the special gifts possessed by the talented children within our communities. As the late Katherine Fitzgerald eloquently stated, "Where you see the need, the responsibility becomes yours." It is our duty to recognize and nurture the potential of our youth. The James Dewitt Yancey Foundation, together with its dedicated members, is committed to creating a better tomorrow for today's youth. MaDukes tirelessly works to keep J Dilla's legacy alive.

The legacy of James Dewitt Yancey, known as J Dilla or Jay Dee, is celebrated worldwide in over 20 major cities during the month of February, commemorating his birth and untimely passing (February 7, 1972 - February 10, 2006). Hailing from the Conant Gardens section of Detroit, J Dilla's production prowess has resulted in chart-topping singles for renowned artists such as Dwele, Common, D'Angelo, The Roots, Erykah Badu, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Q-Tip, Janet Jackson, Busta Rhymes, and many others. His solo releases have redefined genres, leaving an indelible mark on history and popular music. J Dilla is credited with creating the genre known as "Neo-Soul." Tragically, he succumbed to Lupus at the young age of 32. To ensure that his musical legacy remains at the forefront of music education, Maureen Yancey-Smith (Ma Dukes) and her husband Toney Smith founded the James Dewitt Yancey Foundation.

In collaboration with VH1 Save The Music Foundation, we are excited to introduce the J Dilla Music Tech Grant. J Dilla's impact on rhythm is comparable to what John Coltrane is to harmony and Louis Armstrong is to melody. He stands as the first and only hip-hop producer to influence and transform the way traditional musicians play their instruments. By skillfully blending straight and swing elements in his productions, J Dilla created sonic landscapes that explored the conflict between the two, evoking new and exciting emotional reactions. As a result, he has become an inspiration to a new generation of young beat makers, musicians, and artists. In the words of Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, "J Dilla is the producer's producer's producer."

His influence has garnered admiration from industry titans, with Pharrell Williams stating, "J Dilla is without question, one of the illest beat makers...ever." Madlib describes him as "The Coltrane of Hip Hop," while Common reminisces, "It was incredible to have J Dilla in your dining room making beats – it was one of the greatest experiences I've had." Kanye West adds, "It's like he was making Quincy Jones production sessions inside his MPC." Ty Dolla Sign regards J Dilla as the top producer of all time, and Q-Tip acknowledges his deep understanding and application of music in his work.

The J Dilla Music Tech Grant, facilitated through VH1 Save The Music Foundation, has specific requirements for eligibility. To be considered, a recipient must be a public high school that provides at least one full-time certified teacher and schedules the class as part of the regular school day. A minimum of 45 minutes of weekly instruction must be allocated, and a dedicated room for instruction, along with sufficient and secure storage space for equipment, is necessary. Additionally, grant recipients are expected to complete annual progress reports and host representatives from Save The Music for check-in visits, ensuring the proper functioning and maintenance of all donated technology and equipment.

For further information on the J Dilla Music Tech Grant and other grants offered by VH1 Save The Music Foundation, we invite you to visit their website at https://www.savethemusic.org/grants/exp
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