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Distrkct IS Foundation

The Distrkct IS Foundation was founded by Kansas City native Joseph ‘Jo Blaq’ Macklin, a multi-platinum, Grammy award-nominated music producer, songwriter, engineer, and vocal arranger. 

After 14 years working with top industry artists in Los Angeles, Macklin returned to his hometown in 2015 with a mission in mind: create pathways and a venue for Kansas City youth to gain first-hand knowledge, experience, and a well-rounded foundation in various careers in the music production industry. A graduate of KCK’s Washington High School, Macklin seeks to make available industry-leading tools, techniques, and resources he and his peers did not have access to growing up here.

Our Inspiration

The Distrkct IS Foundation is named for Joe’s mother, Ilene K. Sims, who embodies the Foundation's underlying mission to give back and invest in our community and its children through compassion and educational empowerment.

Ilene worked throughout her life to provide for her family. She always aimed to teach her kids the value of hard work and the value of education.
From her experience as a social worker and librarian, Illene has seen firsthand the many challenges that children and families throughout the Kansas City community face. She has always worked tirelessly to help foster a safe, positive, and nurturing environment for those in need.


The Distrkct IS Foundation aims to follow in her footsteps.

About Our Program

The Distrkct IS Foundation Multimedia Program serves as a prevention, diversion, and workforce development program for underserved Kansas City youth. By fostering a supportive and creative environment for students, the organization has developed a proven track record of improving attendance and graduation rates for students in the program. 

We target districts with lower graduation rates and underprivileged youth to provide them with productive pathways to future opportunities. Distrkct’s program fosters students’ engagement with and commitment to school, creates a sense of community among their peers, promotes healthy relationships, and provides a productive and creative safe space for students to grow their interests and talents. 


Our teaching staff and leadership team are industry-leading professionals and provide students with the firsthand knowledge and skills they need to pursue various careers in the music production and audio engineering fields.


Currently, this program is partnered with the De La Salle Education Center in Kansas City, MO with plans to expand our curriculum offerings and grow our footprint to serve students in neighboring jurisdictions as our organization grows.


Distrkct’s vision is to create a start-to-finish professional development pipeline for Kansas City’s underserved youth. This model unfolds in two stages:


1. Providing world-class educational services in cross-industry multimedia production, resulting in professional certification on industry-leading technology; and;


2. Providing a space and structure in which these graduates can pursue and expand their economic opportunities with the skills they’ve learned.


Upon completion of the curriculum the organization has created, students leave as qualified multimedia professionals with certification from Avid on their industry-standard Pro-Tools recording software. 


This certification is a clear marker of these students’ skills and provides them with the ability to work across the multimedia industry in their specialized field in recording studios throughout the world.

Our Record of Success

The Distrkct audio engineering and production curriculum has successfully educated and trained 60 students from Kansas City and secured their certification in Avid's recording and audio production software Pro-Tools. 

Since the completion of our program, graduates have been able to utilize the skills and certification they received to begin their careers in a variety of roles - from running the soundboard at their local church to working with major corporations such as the T-Mobile Stadium in Kansas City, the Disney Corporation, and beyond. 


Current students in our program have seen substantial improvement across their academic profiles in areas such as their attendance records, grades, and at-school behavior. Students have, on average, seen attendance rates improve from 76% to 95% through their involvement in our program. A part of our curriculum requires students to maintain good attendance in order to participate. Students in our program have also seen substantial improvements in behavior issues at school.


Upon completion of our program, to ensure our students are able to maximize their training and creative skill sets, we work with them post-graduation to find employment opportunities and provide them with professional mentorship to ensure they have the knowledge, skills, and assistance to navigate their new careers in the industry.

Support Our Efforts

Additional support from generous individuals like you will allow our organization to scale up our work with Kansas City’s youth and help us create unique opportunities for students in our community. Below is important information regarding our tax status, deductibility, and ways to contribute.


The Distrkct IS Foundation is an established 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Further documentation of our nonprofit status can be provided at your request. Upon receipt of your contribution, we will return a receipt for IRS tax deduction purposes for your records.


Contributions can be mailed to:

Distrkct IS Foundation
Two Pershing Square

2300 Main Street, 9th Floor

Kansas City, MO 64108

Or made online via the links below.


We deeply appreciate your consideration of support for our important mission. With your help, we will continue to expand our work and create a brighter Kansas City for all. If you have further questions regarding our organization, please contact us.

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