CMA Foundation Grant Recipients

2016 Grant Recipients


The 4-H Mission is to empower youth to reach their full potential, working and learning in partnership with caring adults. National 4-H Council exists to support this through a direct mission: to increase investment and participation in high quality 4-H Positive Youth Development. Through investment in promising, scalable programs nationwide, Council promotes replication of life-changing experiences and outcomes for youth. CMA Foundation is proud to support the inaugural Music Education Matters Summit at the Rock Eagle 4-H Center in Eatonton, GA.

Camp Southern Ground:

The vision for Camp Southern Ground in Peachtree City, Ga. is that of CMA Award-winning artist Zac Brown. Inspired by his own experience as a camp counselor, it is to create a state-of-the-art facility that will serve children ages 7-17 with both typical and special needs. It will be a place for children and their families to learn healthy life skills through an advanced program involving superior nutrition, physical exercise, music and arts, technology, and embracing the outdoor environment. Camp Southern Ground will have activities to challenge, educate and inspire children with diverse abilities, and from all socioeconomic backgrounds, races, and religions.

Chicago Center for Music Education:

Chicago Center for Music Education (ChiME) maintains a commitment to bring about whole-school change by providing year-round, age-appropriate music programs directly to schools. Their in-schools program breaks down barriers of race, culture, and economics through the universal language of music, and utilizes music as the vehicle for cognitive development as well as the development and enhancement of age appropriate social-emotional learning skills.

Classical Kids Music Education:

Classical Kids Music Education in Chicago is a theatrical organization that produces the highly acclaimed Classical Kids Live! symphony concert series. Classical Kids has collaborated with more than 400 distinguished orchestras in introducing more than 2 million children and their family members to the extraordinary lives and musical masterpieces of the great classical composers. Classical Kids works to enrich communities through direct access to culturally significant venues, professional artists and organizations, and high-quality theatrical productions, while fostering a new appreciation for classical music and the vibrant culture of that era.

Education Through Music:

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. ETM’s mission is to promote the use of music in schools as a means of enhancing students’ academic performance and general development. The ETM model currently serves nearly 27,000 students in inner-city schools in New York City and reaches another 10,000 children through the work of their licensed affiliate organization in Los Angeles.

Ethos, Inc.:

Ethos believes that all kids, regardless of socioeconomic status or geographic location, deserve access to music education. Founded in 1998 in Portland, Oregon, Ethos is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that provides music lessons, group classes, camps, multicultural performances, and workshops to more than 7,000 students across Oregon each year. Initial classes were held in a basement at the University of Portland and staffed by a dedicated group of volunteers. Since then, the group has moved into its North Portland headquarters and employed nine full-time staff, eight full-time AmeriCorps members and 52 part-time music instructors.

Girls Rock:

Girls Rock Santa Barbara (GRSB) is a non-profit organization that empowers female-identified youth and fosters self-confidence, creativity, and teamwork by using music and female mentorship as tools for social change. GRSB brings girls together from diverse backgrounds and gives them the opportunity to expand their cultural awareness, develop life skills, and tell their unique group story. It is less about playing an instrument and more about finding one’s voice through music. GRSB is driven by one simple motto: love the music you make, and love yourself for making it.

Give a Note Foundation:

Reston, Va.-based Give a Note Foundation was established in 2011 by the leaders of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) in response to the increasing threats to music education programs in an education environment that is focused on tested subjects and STEM. It became clear that in order to strengthen and preserve music for every child, we needed to expand support for music education beyond the music education profession. The mission of Give a Note Foundation is to nurture, grow and strengthen music education opportunities – every student, every school, every community.

Guitars in the Classroom:

Guitars in the Classroom (GITC) is dedicated to improving the quality of education for all students by expanding the role of learning through music in every kind of classroom. GITC improves musical access in public education through ongoing teacher training, mentoring and in-classroom coaching, as well as access to musical and instrumental resources. GITC teachers learn to lead hands on music integrated with English Language Arts, math, science, social studies, character development, and special education. GITC’s work promotes teacher effectiveness, student literacy, and academic success in K-12 by boosting student engagement, communication skills, critical thinking, and the capacity for creative collaboration.

Harmony Project:

Harmony Project offers music instruction to Los Angeles children with the greatest needs and the fewest resources. Founded in 2001 with only 36 students, the Harmony Project now commits to more than 2,000 students for their entire childhood to ensure they receive the support necessary to graduate high school and continue to college. Their mission promotes the healthy growth and development of children through the study, practice, and performance of music; builds healthier communities by investing in the positive development of children through music; and develops children as musical ambassadors of peace, hope, and understanding amongst people of diverse cultures, backgrounds, and beliefs.

Metro Nashville Public Schools:

A joint effort of Metro Nashville Public Schools, the mayor’s office and music industry and community leaders, the Music Makes Us® initiative aspires to be a national model for high quality music education. With a focus on music literacy and student participation, Music Makes Us® is strengthening traditional school music while adding a contemporary curriculum that embraces new technologies and reflects our diverse student population.

Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation:

The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation keeps music alive in schools by donating musical instruments to under-funded music programs, giving young people the many benefits of music education, helping them to be better students, and inspiring creativity and expression through playing music. The Foundation was inspired by the acclaimed motion picture “Mr. Holland’s Opus,” the story of the profound effect a dedicated music teacher had on generations of students. In nearly twenty years, the foundation has donated just over 18,000 instruments to 1,357 schools nationwide. Over the life of the instruments, generations of students will benefit for years to come.

Music & Youth Initiative:

The Music & Youth Initiative in Boston establishes sustainable, high-quality after-school music programs for underserved youth, ages 10-18, through collaborations with leading youth development organizations (such as Boys & Girls Clubs and YMCAs), universities, and corporate partners. These “Music Clubhouse” programs are free (or for a minimal cost) to the participating youth. Music & Youth currently has 17 Music Clubhouses in Massachusetts and Texas, where more than 600 teens and pre-teens participate in formal contemporary music lessons every week. Founded in 2004, Music & Youth Initiative is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Music Resource Center – Cincinnati:

MRC-Cincinnati is a multifaceted, non-profit, after-school music and recording studio for adolescents that utilizes music education, recording, and the performing arts as a way to mentor teens, resulting in a sense of empowerment and accomplishment in an urban setting. Members can choose to take music lessons (guitar, drums, piano, voice), learn to make beats in the Teaching Studio, record their bands’ songs in the new, professional, multi-track recording studio, hold band practice in the rehearsal room, create original music in one of four project studios, have an after-school snack, hot summer lunch or help with homework in the lobby or perform in their new venue.

Musicians Corner:

The mission of Kidsville at Musicians Corner is to utilize the arts and play to help educate Nashville’s youth in the areas of music, nutrition, fitness, and literacy to enhance the development of healthy and successful futures for the city’s youngest citizens. They believe in the intrinsic value of play and provide opportunities for experiential learning, and multi-sensory, object-based exploration.

Nashville Children’s Theatre:

Nashville Children’s Theatre (NCT) is a professional theatre company providing the children, families, and educators of Middle Tennessee with theatrical experiences that inspire imagination, develop creativity, and build community. Founded in 1931 with a belief that a cultural heritage is the right of all children, NCT serves 80,000 Middle Tennessee youth, educators, and families each year with world-class productions and theatre education programs. In order to create future leaders who can solve tomorrow’s challenges with innovative ideas, NCT’s programs are developed and executed by the highest caliber artists and are accessible to children and families at all levels of financial, developmental, and physical abilities.

Nashville Symphony Association:

The Nashville Symphony is the largest performing arts non-profit in Tennessee and a major contributor to music education in Middle Tennessee. Music education and community engagement have been at the heart of the 83-member orchestra’s mission since its founding in 1946. Through concerts, classroom presentations, curriculum materials, instrument lessons and other hands-on learning opportunities, the Symphony’s free education and engagement programs reach and engage tens of thousands of adults and children in Middle Tennessee every year.

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation:

The mission of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation, Inc. (Jazz & Heritage Foundation) is to promote, preserve, perpetuate, and encourage the music, culture and heritage of communities in Louisiana through festivals, programs, and other cultural, educational, civic, and economic activities.

Notes for Notes:

Notes for Notes® is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that designs, equips, and staffs after-school recording studios inside Boys & Girls Clubs offering youth the opportunity to explore, create, and record music for free. Notes for Notes studios are packed with professional instruments (guitars, basses, drums, keyboards/synths), equipment (DJ gear, digital music workstations), and full recording facilities. Beyond providing access to equipment and resources, they educate youth about careers both on the stage and behind the scenes.

Play On, Philly! (POP):

POP partners with Philadelphia schools to provide an educational and social preparedness program while developing high-level musical knowledge and performance skills. During its 2011 pilot year, POP served 110 students in grades K-8 at St. Francis de Sales School. In 2012, the tuition-free program was expanded to Freire Charter Middle School, serving students in grades 5-8. Today, Play On, Philly! trains 250 students at these two Music Center sites. Students are immersed in intensive, after-school music instruction 2.5 hours per day, 5 days per week throughout the school year and in a rigorous summer program in July.

Quest Center:

The Quest Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit music education and resource center located in Dickson Tenn., a largely rural and lower-income community 35 miles west of Nashville. The Center offers programs and a curated environment for music education, enrichment and community development. The program serves children grades pre-K-12, including at-risk youth; those with behavioral, social, and emotional issues; and developmental delays.

Rocketown of Middle Tennessee:

Founded by contemporary Christian music artist Michael W. Smith in 1994, Rocketown in Nashville serves children and teens through innovative and one-of-a-kind programs. Their vision is to be the place of peace, purpose, and possibilities for youth. All young people are welcome at Rocketown, and they regularly interact with those who are under-served, unsupported, disconnected, and feel isolated and hopeless. They believe young people grow and learn more readily in a community that is welcoming, diverse, and challenges them to think.

Rosie’s House: A Music Academy for Children:

Rosie’s House in Phoenix is dedicated to the long-term success of Arizona students and utilizes music as a method of inspiration, motivation, and intervention for youth. Rosie’s House Free Afterschool Music Lessons for Underserved Youth acts as a method of prevention by providing a “home” for more than 200 youth vulnerable to drug and gang violence. In Arizona, at a time when the average per-pupil expenditure on arts instruction is less than $1, they are a beacon of opportunity for youth that need a safe after-school “home.” Overall, they serve 410 youth annually through their string, wind, brass, piano, choir, and mariachi programs.

Tennessee Performing Arts Center:

TPAC’s Disney Musicals in Schools (DMIS) is a free semester-long, after-school musical theater program that inspires students and their school communities to organize around the challenging work of mounting a 30-45-minute musical production. Guided by TPAC Teaching Artists, this program utilizes active partnerships that combine school, professional, and community resources to create rich avenues for student learning while providing teachers with the training and tools needed to strengthen their arts programs. DMIS is expected to reach nearly 1,300 Metro Nashville Public Schools students in 26 elementary and middle schools this school year.

The People’s Music School:

The People’s Music School’s mission is to deliver access to the benefits of high-quality, tuition-free music education. Through intensive instruction and performance, students achieve excellence in music that transfers to other areas in life. They grow musically, socially, emotionally, and intellectually, and develop a foundation of responsibility, self-esteem, resilience, and purpose. TPMS currently serves nearly 500 at-risk students through individual instruction, group ensemble participation, music theory, and performance opportunities across the Chicago metropolitan area.

The Young Americans:

The Young Americans in Corona, Calif. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) performing arts and educational company with no political or religious affiliations. The group was founded in 1962 by Milton C. Anderson and is credited with creating the very popular “glee” and “show-choir” concepts in the early ‘60’s. The Young Americans serve as the oldest and largest youth music advocacy group in the world whose main focus is to help strengthen music education programs in schools and communities, and to inspire people though music and the arts.

VH1 Save the Music Foundation:

We are a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring music programs in America’s public schools, and raising awareness about the importance of music as part of each child’s complete education. We develop strategic partnerships with school districts to build sustainable instrumental music programs by providing grants of brand­-new musical instruments to public elementary and middle schools.

Virginia Tech Foundation, Inc.:

The Virginia Tech String Project, established in 2007, is the signature outreach program for the School of Music at Virginia Tech. Their mission is twofold: to provide affordable string instrument lessons to students in the community and to prepare Virginia Tech’s undergraduate music students for success in the field of music education. They fill a significant gap in the public school system curriculum by providing low-cost beginning lessons in string instruments to students in the third and fourth grades. The students are taught by undergraduate music students, who are overseen, evaluated, and given critical feedback by the conductors and director.

W.O. Smith/Nashville Community Music School:

Since 1984, W.O. Smith Music School has provided music instruction to low-income students in the metropolitan Nashville area. Their vision is simple: transform lives through music. They strive to offer the best music education possible for their students, and do so through private instruction, classes, ensemble opportunities, as well as master classes and performances by both local and national artists. The children are provided an instrument, necessary musical materials, and a volunteer teaching artist for their instruction. Lessons are offered for fifty cents and no student is turned away due to an inability to pay fees for any school programs.

Youth Empowerment through Arts and Humanities:

YEAH! provides a conservatory-style learning atmosphere in which students are immersed for one week in the art of making music. Established 13 years ago in Murfreesboro, Tenn., YEAH! provides music programming that is accessible and engaging for young women because of its emphasis on pop, rock ‘n’ roll, and Country Music. Girls participate in instrument instruction, music industry workshops, social justice workshops, ensemble practice, and guest artist performances. Participating students form a band and learn in an ensemble setting using popular music to build music fundamentals. Students are taught how to play instruments, work together, write original songs, and market their bands.

2016 Grant Recipients

Education Through Music:

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. ETM’s mission is to promote the use of music in schools as a means of enhancing students’ academic performance and general development. 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 through the work of their licensed affiliate organization in Los Angeles.

Harmony Project:

Harmony Project is a tuition free, after-school and weekend music program in Los Angeles that targets 2,000 at-risk students ages 6-18. The program follows students from elementary to high school to ensure they receive the support and guidance they need to graduate on time and continue on to college. Combining rigorous music instruction and enrichment activities, mentoring, family support services, and college scholarships, the program guides vulnerable youth through life’s challenges while building critical life skills that will serve them into adulthood. CMA Foundation will fund student instruments, which are provided for free.

Little Kids Rock (LKR):

Little Kids Rock is a national nonprofit that provides 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 in 120 Dallas Independent School District schools are enrolled. Little Kids Rock leverages the shared cultural capital of students (and their teachers) by connecting learning to the musical styles that kids already know and love, including rock, pop, hip hop, and Country. Little Kids Rock provides instruments, curriculum, teacher training and ongoing support; giving teachers the skills and resources they need to ensure all students have the opportunity to unlock their inner music makers.

Metro Nashville Public Schools:

Since 2006, CMA and the CMA Foundation have donated more than $7.5 million to support an unprecedented effort to strengthen and improve music education in Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools. Thanks to the grants, the school system is able to dramatically enhance instrumental instruction in all middle and high schools. The funds have been used to purchase instruments and music equipment and build and equip an instrument repair shop. Through this unique partnership with Metro Schools and the Nashville Public Education Foundation, CMA has provided thousands of instruments, enabling the city to accelerate access to quality music education for more students.

Musician’s Corner:

The Conservancy’s Kidsville program provides free music education for youth in grades Pre-K-12 through “Musical Meet & Greets” that take place at Musicians Corner events in Nashville’s Centennial Park. Through hands-on learning activities, sessions conducted by music business professionals, and partnerships with community organizations, Kidsville will provide free educational programming to 6,000 youth in 2015 in Centennial Park and The Parthenon and through community outreach at Metro Community Centers and local nonprofits. CMA Foundation funding will strengthen Kidsville’s educational activities, including “Musical Meet & Greets.”

Nashville Children’s Theater:

The CMA Foundation is supporting the Arts Access Program at the Nashville Children’s Theater; 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:

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:

The Quest Center is 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, while providing leadership and a positive, affordable, and safe environment for students. The CMA Foundation is funding afterschool 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:

The Foundation grant 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:

CMA Foundation will support 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. This custom curriculum incorporates music-based exercises and regional genres into literacy and social studies lessons. Musical Explorers is 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:

Supporting TPAC’s Afterschool 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% of Metro Nashville’s elementary schools will have produced a musical, engaging up to 1,200 students, 130 educators, 600 volunteers, and 12 teaching artists. 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:

W.O. Smith School provides three summer camp opportunities to their low-income students each year: Resident Camp, Camp Backbeat, and Day Camp.  W.O. Smith music camps offer an affordable enrichment activity to many area children who could not otherwise afford to attend camp. It 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.