Funding & Support
The Ensemble seeks to connect and inform all people who are committed to ensemble music education for youth empowerment and social change.
News & Resources
If your program is rethinking its fundraising strategies in this new economic landscape, you may want to consult the experts: The Chronicle of Philanthropy (the major publication for the field) recently published a Tool Kit for fundraising during the pandemic.
Many music for social change organizations want to respond to racial justice demands in every way they can, and engaging their Boards is a common strategy. A good, free, two-part webinar series from Nonprofit Quarterly shares effective ways to involve your Board: “Beyond the Board Statement: How Can Boards Join the Movement for Racial Justice?” See Part 1 here and Part 2 here.
The Lewis Prize for Music announced the recipients of its $1.25 million COVID-19 Community Response Fund, awarded to 32 Creative Youth Development (CYD) organizations across the U.S. (including three El Sistema organizations) that have adapted and responded to serve the needs of young people and their families during the pandemic. One-third of recipients have budgets of less than $100,000 per year; two-thirds are led by people of color. Read an article about the Fund in the July World Ensemble.
Dalouge Smith, CEO of The Lewis Prize for Music
The Lewis Prize for Music, a philanthropic foundation established in the United States in 2018, is guided by the mission of partnering with leaders who create positive change by investing in young people through music. We were only two months past announcing our inaugural awards when the COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders took effect. At the time, we were finalizing our internal evaluation and identifying lessons learned. We were excited to nearly double the time frame of our process by opening the 2021 Accelerator Award letter of interest in late spring.
Robert Saunders, Music Education Director, Miami Music Project, FL
As learning programs of every kind and in every part of the world find ways to respond to the global health crisis, El Sistema-inspired programs are doing what we encourage our students to do: we are learning from one another. At Miami Music Project, we quickly reached out to El Sistema USA about creating resources for other El Sistema-inspired programs. We were excited to learn that Monique Van Willingh, Director of the Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program at Longy School of Music at Bard College, was already working to develop a webinar series with the goal of sharing field experiences and best practices of organizations that are successfully transitioning to digital programming. Since summer camp activities are the immediate concern for many El Sistema-inspired programs around North America, El Sistema USA President Katie Wyatt reached out to several program leaders to begin sharing their experiences and innovations in this area.
The Sphinx Competition is a national competition offering young Black and Latinx classical string players a chance to compete under the guidance of an internationally renowned panel of judges, and to perform with and receive mentorship from established professional musicians. The repertoire requirements for the 24th Annual Sphinx Competition have been announced and applications have opened online.
The Lewis Prize recently announced their COVID-19 Community Response Fund, which will award $1 million in grants to support youth-serving music programs in their responsive and adaptive efforts during COVID-19. Here is a toolkit that includes more information about the fund. The application process for their annual Accelerator Award will begin as soon as the Community Response grants are awarded.
Have you heard good ideas from your students or young colleagues about ways they might engage in music-making with other isolated students? Now, there just might be a grant to support that idea for young people ages 13-25: Peace First’s COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants. Apply here.
The Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation Scholarship Program will award over 40 students attending a four-year college or university with scholarships from $10,000 to $25,000. Highly gifted musicians with an interest in Latin music genres are encouraged to apply. The deadline for consideration has been extended to April 13. Guidelines and application are available online.
Could your program use some high-powered consulting advice? Recognizing that U.S. arts organizations (including Sistema programs) will be hard hit economically by the current health crisis, the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland (one of the nation’s leading training and consulting organizations) offers pro bono hourlong consultations for any U.S.-based non-profit arts or culture organization between March and June 2020. Contact them here.