OVERVIEW: The mission of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation's grants is to advance active participation in music making by "supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs from the international music products industry." They give out a number of grants and scholarships each year to individuals and organizations aligned with this mission.
IP TAKE: NAMM currently only supports a handful of higher ed organizations and gives out their grants by invitation only. The scholarship access is a bit more open.
PROFILE: The mission of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation's grants is to advance active participation in music making by "supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs from the international music products industry." In a recent year, the foundation’s total giving came in at about $600,000.
NAMM Foundation Program Grants are given to support programs for "people of all ages that utilize music making materials, are replicable as regional, national or international models, and include outcomes and impact measures."
With such a broad scope, it likely comes as no surprise that higher ed institutions and affiliated organizations make up only a small fraction of NAMM’s program grantees. Making the odds even stiffer, the foundation only accepts applications by invitation only (the foundation does accept online inquiries, but cannot guarantee a response), and this is a founation that truly must come to you, since they actively "discourage you from contacting Foundation staff to lobby to be considered for an invitation to apply."
But higher ed organizations shouldn’t count themselves out just yet. In one recent year, for example, support through the foundation's Music Making Grants program went to groups like:
- National Piano Foundation, which is working to “develop an internship program in partnership with Ferris State University’s Music Business Degree program”;
- National String Project Consortium, “a coalition of String Project sites based at colleges and universities across the United States”;
- 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”; and
- Technology Institute for Music Educators, to expand its “Technology Leadership Academy, a program for pre-service music education majors” that seeks “to reach non-traditional music students with technology-based music programs.”
Another promising area for postsecondary organizations is the foundation’s Music Research Grants program, which is subdivided into three categories:
- Scientific Grants to “support leading researchers and research teams in exploring the effects of hands-on music making” in social, physiological, and cognitive contexts;
- Impact of Music Education grants, which “examine the roles of music education in the lives of school-age children as well as school and community”;
- Impact of Music Making Grants to “examine the role of active participation in music for children, youth, adults and seniors outside of formal educational settings.”
Music research grantees have included the University of California, the University of South Florida, Carnegie Mellon, and Northwestern University.
Of direct benefit to budding music entrepreneurs, NAMM also offers the NAMM President’s Innovation Award. Open exclusively for undergrads and grad students with a 3.0 GPA or higher in “a university-based music business, music education and/or music technology program,” the foundation gives awardees up to $600 “to support travel needs and expenses to attend The NAMM Show, the annual global music products trade show in Anaheim, Calif.” At the show, award recipients also “participate in professional development offerings,” such as the NAMM Generation Next program, “and have access to more than 1,600 exhibits.” Applications are due in September.
Another student-centered award is the William R. Gard Memorial Scholarship, which is intended "to encourage individuals to pursue education and careers in the music products industry." The scholarship comes in at up to $2,000 per year may be renewed for up to three years (renewable for one year for grad students). Eligibility for this award is restricted to full-time college students who have worked for at least 400 hours at a NAMM Member firm where they are still employed. Renewal of the award requires the recipient to maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher. The application period for this award runs from the beginning of July to mid-August.
- Sharon Bryant, Senior Project Manager, NAMM Public Affairs
- Eric Ebel, Senior Project Manager, NAMM Public Affairs & Government Relations