Revered music executive and philanthropist Joe Galante has established an endowment for Leadership Music with a $500,000 initial gift. The Joe Galante Leadership Music Preservation Fund has the potential to grow to $1 million, due to his generous offer to match dollar-for-dollar additional contributions totaling up to $250,000. Joining him in fundraising efforts are campaign co-chairs Christian/pop music star and humanitarian Amy Grant, and Universal Music Nashville CEO Mike Dungan, both alumni of Leadership Music.
This endowment is the first of its kind in the non-profit’s 32-year history and will ensure financial stability for the organization for years to come.
Galante, a founder of the organization, says the idea came about at a pre-Covid Leadership Music retreat. “The board was asked how we could ensure, going forward, that future leaders would always be guaranteed best practices for education, connection and leadership. In that moment the answer emerged–build an endowment. More recently with the pandemic leveling our business, I realized the urgency of the endowment and the need to act now, not only for the future of the organization but the future of our music business and its yet-to-emerge leaders.”
Galante knows the importance of mentorship, citing Frances Preston, Irving Waugh, and Jerry Bradley, as leaders who impacted his career. “The time they spent teaching and connecting me to others allowed me to grow and learn. That was a gift of enormous value.
“When the Founding Council of Leadership Music came together, led by Jim Ed Norman, it continued that process–silos were connected, and the organization helped Nashville…and the music industry…develop a deep bench,” Galante continues. “Over the years, I have seen members of my staff, colleagues and friends, and people I didn’t even know, become leaders in our field as a direct result of their Leadership Music experience, reinforcing my belief in this organization and its goals.”
Grant emphasized that in addition to her love of Leadership Music, she wanted to be involved because she has always been impressed with Galante’s generosity. She says, “Vince and I treasure our friendship with Joe, and my Leadership Music journey was unparalleled, so I instantly wanted to be involved in honoring both the man and the organization. Joe has such a huge heart and has given so generously to cancer research, animal welfare, music education and entrepreneurship, among many others. I am so pleased to join forces with Mike and Joe on this special endeavor.”
Dungan adds, “As any of the more than 1200 graduates will attest, Leadership Music is a one-of-a-kind industry accelerator. An eye-opening, life-changing, career-bending experience constructed to build lifelong friendships and working relationships. Leave it to the one-of-a-kind Joe Galante to see to it that this organization has the financial stability to keep going long into the future. Now it is up to all of us to accept Joe’s challenge and match these funds. I’m honored to have been chosen to co-chair this effort.”
Joe Galante took over as head of RCA Nashville in 1981. In 1990, he was named president of RCA Records in New York, and then returned to Nashville four years later as chairman of the RCA Label Group/Nashville, which eventually became Sony Music Nashville. Under his leadership the company thrived, adding imprints and bolstering the careers of Alabama, Kenny Chesney, The Judds, Martina McBride, Carrie Underwood, Brooks & Dunn, Alan Jackson, Miranda Lambert and Brad Paisley, to name a few. In April 2010, Galante announced his decision to step down from his post as chairman of Sony Music Nashville.
Leadership Music was founded in 1989 by 12 music industry executives who had graduated from Leadership Nashville. They included, in addition to Galante, Rick Blackburn, Tony Brown, Tom Collins, William Denny, Dale Franklin, Bruce Hinton, Bill Ivey, Joe Moscheo, Jim Ed Norman, Tandy Rice, and Roger Sovine.