Innovation Echo Alliance (IEA), formerly known as Kariz Kids Youth Enrichment Services, was created by Marcel “Kariz” Martin as a response to a need for programming in schools that used art, and specifically music, as a creative tool for learning.

In Marcel’s work as a producer, youth educator, and program facilitator, he noticed a lack of such programming in the communities around him, and took the initiative to build an organization that could address this absence. With funding being the number one issue causing organizations and schools in marginalized areas across the country to not have access to such programming, Marcel saw a gap that need to be filled.

This gap included a lack of access to evidence-based enrichment programs, a lack of connections to resources in the creative industries, and a strong need for the voices of youth to be heard.

This vision eventually spiraled into a plethora of contacts and partnerships with organizations and corporations that were interested in partnering, funding initiatives, and hiring program graduates as interns in the creative industries, while providing creative outlets and learning opportunities for youth.