Kansas City, Mo. (April 16, 2024) – Folk Alliance International (FAI), a 501(c)3 and the foremost global nonprofit for folk music, is pleased to announce that its Interim Executive Director Jennifer Roe will be heading the organization.

Roe joined the FAI team in 2013, igniting a passion for folk music. She assumed a pivotal role in leading FAI’s staff and contractors and overseeing the day-to-day operations. Her dedication to the organization reflects her commitment to fostering the rich tapestry of folk music and sustaining a vibrant, interconnected community. With a political background prior to FAI, she is a strong advocate for arts and culture at both federal and state levels.

In partnership with the former Executive Director, Roe was instrumental in strategizing and growing the organization including doubling the operating budget and expanding FAI’s global network to include more than 3,000 members—a diverse community of cultural sector entrepreneurs and leaders encompassing artists, record companies, publishers, presenters, agents, managers, arts administrators, diplomats, and more. Her long history with the organization has stabilized operations and funding over her tenure. At FAI, Roe previously worked under Executive Directors Louis Meyers, Aengus Finnan, and Neeta Ragoowansi.

Under Roe’s experienced leadership, the organization will continue to grow in diversity and service of the membership including scholarships, enhancing FAI’s regional chapters, and advocating strongly for the rights and interests of the independent music sector.

“Taking on the Executive Director position at Folk Alliance International is a thrilling opportunity. I love this community, and I am excited to continue to work with our dedicated team and board to serve our membership. I am ready to embrace the challenges and seize the opportunities in this role as we work to advance the strategic plan. I am honored to lead an organization that celebrates cultural diversity, promotes artistic expression, and cultivates a community united by the power of music.” said Roe.

“We are thrilled to welcome Jennifer Roe as Folk Alliance International’s Executive Director. With Jennifer’s deep knowledge of Folk Alliance International and her passion and dedication to the folk community, she is uniquely qualified to lead us, bringing about a new chapter for the organization. We are so grateful to Jennifer, and we look forward to the work she’ll do both with and for our members and the folk community at large.” says FAI’s Board President, Ashley Shabankareh, adding, “We are so excited to have Jennifer at the helm of the organization!”

Roe’s career began in Washington, D.C., where she worked on Capitol Hill for the U.S. Senate Majority Leader before transitioning to serve on his Presidential campaign. She continued in the public sector at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission before managing the office of a small lobbying firm.

After returning to her roots in Kansas City, Roe shifted gears, working with individuals with disabilities and eventually establishing an administrative services business, where FAI became a valued client.

Roe also announced from the stage of the International Folk Music Awards on February 21 that next year’s conference will take place February 19-23, 2025, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada at the Queens Elizabeth Hotel, where John Lennon and Yoko Ono recorded “Give Peace a Chance.”

About Folk Alliance International

Founded in 1989, and governed by a 21-member board of directors, Folk Alliance International (FAI) is the world’s largest membership organization for the folk music industry and community. Its mission is to serve, strengthen, and engage the global folk music community through preservation, presentation, and promotion.

FAI values diversity, equity, inclusion, and access, is committed to gender parity in all its programming, celebrates multiple languages and cultures, and actively welcomes participation from marginalized, disenfranchised, and underrepresented communities.

FAI defines folk broadly as “the music of the people” (reflective of any community they are from), and programs a diverse array of sub-genres including, but not limited to Appalachian, Americana, Blues, Bluegrass, Celtic, Cajun, Global Roots, Hip-Hop, Old-Time, Singer-Songwriter, Spoken Word, Traditional, Zydeco, and various fusions.

FAI produces the International Folk Music Awards (IFMAs), an Artist in Residence (AIR) program, the Folk ExChange global market development program, the Ethno USA gathering in partnership with Belgium based organization JM International, and the world’s largest annual folk music conference and showcase performances drawing over 3,000 delegates from 40+ countries.

Past Artist in Residence partnerships include UNESCO, the International Rescue Committee, the WWI Museum, Kansas City Ballet, the Kansas City Police Department, the Topeka Women’s Correctional Facility, UMKC’s Mathematics Dept., the Kansas City Art Institute, and Friends of the Kaw River.

Additionally, FAI provides information, advocacy, education, and professional development for over 19,000 in its community and oversees an IRS Group Exemption program in support of over 50 US non-profits.

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