What's the Country Music Association Foundation Looking For in Music Education Nonprofits?

Well, that was quick. Just a few weeks after giving $150,000 to music education nonprofit Little Kids Rock during a recent trip to Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles, the CMA Foundation, a charitable offshoot of the Country Music Association, has struck again. This time, 3,000 miles to the east.

The foundation awarded a $20,000 grant to the Savannah Music Festival to 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.

But before we take a closer look at this grant, we figure a more thorough investigation of the CMA Foundation is in order, given its recent spending spree. Since its inception in 2001, the CMA Foundation has given more than $11 million to organizations enhancing the lives of students through the power of music. The CMA Foundation has money to spend. And it's predominantly interested in three types of projects. These would be projects that:

  • Restore the arts (a topic that's very near and dear to our hearts here at IP).
  • Teach children "how to make music," and
  • Inspire creative musical expression (traditional and non-traditional).

Applicants can also request funding for instruments and equipment needs to support these programs. The foundation also notes that "all applicants interested in receiving funding should have a great community network before applying."

All of which brings us back to the Savannah Music Festival's winning "Musical Explorers" program. "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 benefiting from the program.

Sounds about right to us.

All in all, the CMA Foundation's annual donation for music education for 2015 will total $1.66 million divided among 13 charitable groups. Check out the full list here.

In the meantime, get your grantwriter on the horn. CMA Grant guidelines for 2016 will be available on April 1st. All applicants will be notified in November on their funding request.