The Mabel Mercer Foundation was established in 1985 as a nonprofit to preserve and advance an endangered part of American musical heritage: the intimate art of Cabaret performance and the Great Songbook of its repertoire. Through sponsorship of live performances and broadcasts, the Foundation endeavors to entertain and educate a public raised on mass-produced pop music, to stem the effects of shrinking music education budgets, and to encourage practitioners in the present-day cabaret field. The Mabel Mercer Foundation has presented cabaret showcases around the country and abroad, including its flagship annual New York Cabaret Convention. In addition, the Foundation augments its worldwide reach with virtual music presentations and provides outreach to students via American Songbook competitions, scholarship awards, concert tickets, and masterclasses. Named after Mabel Mercer, arguably the supreme cabaret artist of the twentieth century, the Foundation also functions as a central source of information for artists, presenters, promoters, and the general public about Ms. Mercer and the art form she exemplified.
"The Mabel Mercer Foundation, American song's best friend."
"In terms of entertainment and emotion, there is no other currently available arts medium that carries the immediate, intimate, and direct communicative experience of cabaret."
"The next generation of cabaret showstoppers competing for the New York Cabaret Convention are proving that young people are invested in the Great American Songbook."
"Everything I know about singing I learned from Mabel Mercer."
“Mabel Mercer was an eternal, enthusiastic champion of burgeoning young talents. We think she would be delighted by the Adela and Larry Elow Teenager Endowment Fund, created solely to encourage teenagers to learn, perform, and promote the Great American Songbook."
“The Most Important Cabaret Event of the Year” (The New York Cabaret Convention)
"The formation of the foundation was partly Mr. (Donald) Smith's response to obituaries and tributes that misleadingly described Ms. Mercer as a jazz singer. She was really an art singer, the foremost exponent of an intimate nightclub style known as parlando, which blends singing with speaking to convey emotion."
“As founder of this organization, Donald Smith ceaselessly championed what he knew to be the ‘fragile world of cabaret.’ He would be delighted that we’re stronger than ever, three decades later, and fulfilling our charter in both necessary and new approaches to the entertainment."
“The Superbowl of the Art Form known as Cabaret” (New York Cabaret Convention)