A Closer Look at The ASCAP Foundation's Generous First-Half of 2015

Just last week, I posted a piece on the ASCAP Foundation's Jamie deRoy & Friends Award. According to my math, that's the third ASCAP award that is both named after an individual and given to a composer or songwriter.

But don't let the math fool you.

The foundation is equally generous in doling out grants to nonprofit musical organizations, particularly, it seems, those based in the South. It's been a busy first half of 2015 for the ASCAP Foundation. It has awarded over $40,000 so far, spread out across 10 organizations. I took a closer look at the winners and some trends emerged. They include the following:

A commitment to music education. Approximately seven of the 10 grants are for music education purposes, spanning age groups. For example, New Orleans-based Make Music NOLA received $4,000 for its In Our Own Voice: Make Music NOLA Music and Lyrics Project, which provides at-risk students the opportunity to receive four hours of music instruction per week for 26 weeks.

The foundation awarded another $4,000 to the Savannah Music Festival's Acoustic Music Seminar, which provides 16 pre-professional string players ages 15 to 22 the opportunity to attend a week-long workshop led by master clinicians in bluegrass, old-time, western swing, and modern-day American string band, among other genres.

Honoring unsung local masters. Hundreds of American cities have their own local music legends. Unfortunately, many don't get the recognition they deserve. The foundation works to help change that, one city at a time. It gave $5,000 to the Des Moines County Historical Society for the Bart Howard 100th Birthday Celebration. Howard was a prolific composer from Des Moines. (The program is funded by the ASCAP Foundation Bart Howard Fund, which brings the total of funds or grants named after musician to four, by the way.)

New compositions. Two grants focus on composition. One went to the Junior Jazz Foundation's Hilton Head Summer Jazz Camp to support five composition scholarships. And the largest grant, in the form of $10,000—the next largest was $5,000—went to Culver City, California's Symphonic Jazz Orchestra's George Duke Commissioning Competition to support a new jazz piece by an ASCAP composer.

Bottom line? If you're a music education nonprofit operating in a small- to mid-sized city, the ASCAP Foundation needs to be on your radar. For a closer look at the 10 grants from 2015, click here.