2015 CMA Foundation Grants Approach Record Giving

Students from the Hillsboro High School choral group after performing at the CMA Awards radio remotes Nov. 2 in Nashville. Pictured (L-R): (back row, third from left) CMA Foundation Board member Lon Helton; CMA Senior Director of Membership and Balloting Brandi Simms; CMA Board member Chris Young; CMA Community Outreach Manager Tiffany Kerns; and CMA Board member Rob Beckham. Photo: Scott Hunter.

Students from the Hillsboro High School choral group after performing at the CMA Awards radio remotes Nov. 2 in Nashville. Pictured (L-R): (back row, third from left) CMA Foundation Board member Lon Helton; CMA Senior Director of Membership and Balloting Brandi Simms; CMA Board member Chris Young; CMA Community Outreach Manager Tiffany Kerns; and CMA Board member Rob Beckham. Photo: Scott Hunter.

The CMA Foundation has revealed 2015 recipients for its music education grants, totaling $1.66 million. Thirteen music education programs will receive funding this year, five noted in last year’s giving, which totaled a record $1.72 million. Total contributions since 2006 equal more than $11 million.

“If it weren’t for our artists, who all perform for free during CMA Music Festival, and the thousands of fans who support the event each year, these donations would not be possible,” said Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer. “The CMA Foundation donates to causes that are important to our community, but every dollar is given on behalf of the artists and fans that support Music Fest each June. The money generated by the Festival benefits music education programs across the U.S. and globally. CMA Foundation grants change lives for the better — which makes everyone involved in the Festival extremely proud.”

Created in 2011, the nonprofit recognizes that studies show students who participate in the arts are more likely to graduate, have better attendance rates, and higher GPAs than students not enrolled in arts classes.

Students from Education Through Music partner schools perform during a press conference to announce the final nominees for "The 48th Annual CMA Awards" Sept. 3, 2014 at the Best Buy Theater in New York City. Photo: Kevin Yatarola.

Students from Education Through Music partner schools perform during a press conference to announce the final nominees for “The 48th Annual CMA Awards” Sept. 3, 2014 at the Best Buy Theater in New York City. Photo: Kevin Yatarola.

Programs benefiting from the CMA Foundation in 2015 include:

Education Through Music (ETM): Partners with inner-city schools to provide all students with music as a core subject, and to create school communities that value the arts. In the current school year, ETM serves 20,000 students and 40 teachers in 37 inner-city schools in New York City, and their model reaches another 8,000 children in Los Angeles.

Harmony Project: Tuition free, after-school and weekend music program in Los Angeles that targets 2,000 at-risk students ages 6-18 to ensure they receive the support and guidance they need to graduate on time and continue on to college. CMA Foundation will fund student instruments, which are provided for free.

Little Kids Rock (LKR): National nonprofit providing an innovative music education program called Modern Band to more than 170,000 students in 29 cities, including Dallas, where more than 13,000 students are enrolled. Little Kids Rock provides instruments, curriculum, teacher training and ongoing support; giving teachers the skills and resources needed.

Metro Nashville Public Schools: Since 2006, CMA and the CMA Foundation have donated more than $7.5 million to strengthen music education in all Metro Nashville middle and high schools. Funds have been used to purchase instruments and music equipment and build and equip an instrument repair shop.

Musician’s Corner: The Conservancy’s Kidsville program provides free music education Pre-K through 12 with “Musical Meet & Greets,” at Musicians Corner events in Nashville’s Centennial Park. Kidsville is projected to provide free educational programming to 6,000 youth in Centennial Park, The Parthenon and through community outreach at Metro Community Centers and local nonprofits this year.

Nashville Children’s Theater: Supporting the Arts Access Program; specifically “Jack’s Tale – A Mythic Mountain Musical,” which was written by the Theater’s Scot Copeland and composer Paul Carrol Binkley. The production is based on Appalachian folklore and accompanied by original music. NCT’s Arts Access program serves a growing number of children and families facing financial barriers for participation in the arts, including school field trip discounts to low-income schools; in-class drama workshops offered at no cost to low-income schools; a Family Access membership (FAM) program providing need-based discounted tickets and drama class scholarships; and after school arts education programs with students from some of Nashville’s most under-served communities.

Notes for Notes: Funds the construction of music studios in Boys and Girls Club facilities across the U.S. The CMA Foundation made an initial donation to the Nashville Notes for Notes chapter in 2014 and has committed additional funds to expand the program in 2015 to chapters in Atlanta, Austin, Brooklyn, Detroit, and San Francisco.

The Quest Center: A music education and resource center located in Dickson, Tenn., a largely rural community with limited access to music programs. The Center makes music education accessible to all members of the community, including individuals with disabilities. The CMA Foundation is funding after-school and out-of-school instructional classes and music discovery workshops, typically serving students grades 3-12 in partnership with the Dickson County Board of Education.

Ryan’s Guitar Project: Funds will be used to establish music programs in Ramallah and Gaza. Based on Greek Orthodox parochial schools educating more than 95 percent Muslim students, the music education program has broad community support and will be the first of its kind in a war-torn region – giving children a positive way to express themselves. Funds will be used to purchase and transport Taylor Peacock GS mini guitars, music equipment, and other material to the region.

The Salvation Army: Funds will be used to re-structure programming for the existing Red Shield Kids Club in Nashville by expanding the level of services to include performing arts. A specialized instructor will teach youth of underserved areas how to play music and engage them in theater and private music lessons. In addition to serving as academic mentors for their required coursework in English, math, and science, participating children will have performing arts curriculum two times a week.

Savannah Music Festival: Supports the implementation of Musical Explorers, a pilot program of Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute adapted by the Savannah Music Festival to serve the students of greater Savannah. Designed to teach children in grades K-2 about their local communities and indigenous musical traditions through lessons that integrate music into general classroom studies. More than 9,500 students at 59 schools are benefitting from the program.

Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC): Supports the after-school program Disney Musicals in Schools, which will engage students in 20 Metro Nashville Public Schools. Now in its fourth year, the local program was Disney’s first in-school outreach project outside of New York City and is the only city working with both elementary and middle schools. At the end of this academic year, 27 percent of Metro Nashville’s elementary schools will have produced a musical. At no cost to them, the schools receive a performance license for the Disney KIDS or JR. Musical of their choice, comprehensive resource materials, and in-school support from TPAC Teaching Artists.

W.O. Smith School: Provides three summer camp opportunities to their low-income students each year: Resident Camp, Camp Backbeat, and Day Camp. Music camps provides a positive musical and social experience in a nurturing environment and offers the chance for inner-city children of varied backgrounds to learn to live and play as a community. The summer camp sessions are offered each June in Nashville for children ages 8 to 18.

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Eric T. Parker oversees operations and contributes editorial for MusicRow's print magazine, MusicRow.com, the RowFax tip sheet and the MusicRow CountryBreakout chart. He also facilitates annual events for the enterprise, including MusicRow Awards, CountryBreakout Awards and the Rising Women on the Row. [email protected] | @EricTParker

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