Otis Redding Foundation
Southern Cultural Treasures
Year of Award
Grant or Fellowship
Southern Cultural Treasures
The Otis Redding Foundation’s mission is to empower, enrich, and motivate all young people through programs involving music, writing and instrumentation. That mission began with a seed of an idea planted by Macon, Ga.-based Soul singer Otis Redding, who wanted to host a summer camp in his home community to teach underprivileged youth about the benefits of civic engagement and use his popularity in the music industry to be a positive example of success for African American children in the South, where racist ideology was still the norm and social mobility seemed fairly hopeless. Redding realized that a path to success included an active pursuit of education.
Though Redding died before his idea of an educational camp could be fully realized, his family carried on that dedication to philanthropy and education. In 2007 Zelma Redding formally established the Otis Redding Foundation in her late husband’s honor, and the new foundation hosted its first summer camp, which focused on the art of songwriting. Since that first camp more than a decade ago, the Redding Foundation has launched a full range of comprehensive educational options. Through the expansion of programmatic offerings, the Foundation provides students access they would not otherwise receive to music education throughout their elementary, middle, and high school careers. Year-round instruction for children ages five through 18 teaches songwriting and instrumentation, as well as diverse and niche aspects of the music industry including production, engineering, dance, and artist relations.
Leadership - Karla Redding-Andrews
Karla Redding-Andrews, a native of Jones County, Georgia, has a passion for education paired with music and the arts. She graduated from Georgia Southern University in 1985 with a B.S. in Public Relations and remains an active alumna, serving on the Public Relations Advisory Board. Redding-Andrews oversees the day-to-day operations of the Otis Redding Foundation, whose motto is “progress through education; enlightenment through music and the arts.” In addition to her role with the Foundation, and in partnership with her mother Zelma, she oversees the publishing catalog of Otis Redding and manages the use of his name, image, and likeness.
Karla currently serves as Vice Chair of the Georgia Music Foundation and is a board member for the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University, the Community Foundation of Central Georgia, Central Georgia Technical College, the Georgia Intellectual Property Association, and the International Cherry Blossom Festival. She attended the Leadership Macon Class of 2015 and is an active member of the Macon Rotary Club.
Karla received the Macon Arts Alliance Cultural Award in 2016, and in 2018, she received The Women’s International Music Network’s She Rocks Award. Her alma mater, Georgia Southern University, awarded her with the inaugural Shine, Black Girl, Shine Black Women Empowerment Award from the Office of Multicultural Affairs as the Coordinator of Diversity Education and Program Outreach in 2019.
Redding-Andrews and husband Timothy have two sons, Justin and Jarred.
Southern Cultural Treasures is a program of South Arts and made possible with support from the Ford Foundation.