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In the 10 years that he directed the New York Chapter of the Recording Academy, history graduate Jon Marcus ’70 was never as fulfilled in running the Grammy Awards as he is now. Marcus recently took over as executive director of the Music For Youth Foundation, a recording industry charity that supports music education programs for underprivileged youth and provides scholarships to aspiring student musicians.

“I enjoyed the glitz of the Grammys,” he says, “but I was never excited to work for an organization where the money I raised benefited the stockholders. Perhaps my desire to do social good is a remnant of the ‘60s.”

The opportunity to break into the music world came about at Lafayette.

“I intended to become a lawyer,” Marcus says. ”One day I went into the radio station to inquire about a side job. Fifteen minutes later I was on the air with WJRH. My legal career went out the window in that moment and I am not sure my mother ever forgave the radio station.”

The radio station also provided Marcus with some highlights.

“I had the opportunity to spend 15 minutes alone with Muhammad Ali, who was doing a campus tour. I also got a call from the FBI once, asking for a transcript of an interview I did with a Black Panther. After I refused I was sure the clicks on my phone in the next months had some sinister meaning,” he jokes.

Marcus made his career transition because it allowed him to work in the field he loves while providing an opportunity he felt was missing: the chance to help others.

“The opportunity to give is the most important thing to me,” he says. “The foundation provides musical opportunities for underprivileged kids that would never be available to them otherwise. We want to give kids access to previously unreachable resources and programs that provide for their education and musical development.”

Categorized in: Alumni Profiles