National Association of Music Merchants Foundation: Grants for College Performing Arts

OVERVIEW: The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation advances music participation through scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs from the international music products industry.

IP TAKE: NAMM currently supports only a handful of higher education organizations. It offers grants by invitation only while its scholarship access is more open.

PROFILE:  The National Association of Music Merchants Foundation (NAMM) was founded in 2006 to “advance active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs.” It offers two primary avenues of grantmaking, Music Making and Music Research, but the foundation also maintains a number of partnerships with various organizations.

The majority of NAMM Foundation grants directed at higher education fall under its Music Research program, which aims to expand the public understanding of “the impact of music making and music education, the importance of music at every stage of life, and the relationship between music and physical and emotional wellness.” Past grantees include Northwestern University, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of South Florida, and the University of California system. As of this writing, the foundation is not accepting applications for Music Research grants. However, the Music Research program includes two awards that students may apply for directly. The William R. Gard Memorial Scholarship offers  $2,000 a year to employees of NAMM member companies who are currently attending college. The NAMM President’s Innovation Award is a one-time cash prize of $600 to attend the NAMM Show, a trade show held yearly in Anaheim, CA.

In contrast, NAMM’s Music Making program targets “nonprofit public service organizations who expand access and opportunity to music education for thousands of individuals and provide innovative music education and hands-on music making programs.” It normally prioritizes outreach that benefits young children; however, it does not necessarily exclude higher education institutions. Visit its page of 2018 grants for a better picture of the foundation’s grantmaking strategy. Past Music Making grantees include National String Project Consortium, “a coalition of String Project sites based at colleges and universities across the United States,” and Percussive Arts Society, whose work includes “working with Indiana University/Purdue University at Indianapolis Graduate Museum Studies program at Indiana University to evaluate the Rhythm Discovery Center.” The foundation’s Music Making grants are exclusively invitation-only.

The NAMM foundation does not publicize the size of its individual grants, but claims that in 2018, it gave a total of $675,000 to 25 organizations through its Music Making program, an average of $27,000 per grant.


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