Who we are: One of ten siblings growing up in Compton, California, Fred Martin developed a passion for music at an early age. Unfortunately, when Fred’s parents were unable to afford his saxophone rental, he had to set this passion aside. When this happened, Fred vowed to ensure that other parents would not have to choose between their child’s dreams and their family’s well being. In 2002, Fred founded the Urban Entertainment Institute (UEI), and since then has been making good on his promise and helping to encourage and hone the skills of any child who wants to pursue the performing arts.

What we do: UEI is a non-profit that strives to expose young people to the performing arts through in-school and after school programs. Students are trained in vocal, dance, and theatrical performance, and digital recording, as well as the technical aspects of the entertainment industry. UEI also offers its students the opportunity to network with musicians, artists, actors, business managers, agents, and other industry professionals.

Through a partnership with Cisco TelePresence, UEI has become the first performance arts program to increase its reach through technology, giving “Music to a World Without Borders.” Cisco TelePresence creates a live, face-to-face communication experience via high-definition video conferencing that allows students and teachers to collaborate and build relationships with individuals from different schools and communities. With this technology, Cisco and the Urban Entertainment Institute are bridging the gap, providing universal access to content, and changing the way we learn.