Our Approach

Our Mission

To empower organizations using music to catalyze enduring change and to amplify our founders’ musical legacy.


The Music Man Foundation is named after the Tony winning musical written by Meredith Willson. Meredith’s widow, Rosemary, started the Foundation in 1998 as the Meredith and Rosemary Willson Charitable Foundation and substantially increased the Foundation’s endowment upon her death in 2010.

In its first decade, in fulfillment of a mission to support programs using music to improve children’s lives, the Foundation focused its investments in two initiative areas: core-curriculum music education and music therapy.  You can read more about each of these initiative areas via the buttons provided below.

“You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to make today worth remembering.”
– Harold Hill in Meredith Willson’s The Music Man

photo credits: Able ARTS Work

Grantmaking Approach

  • We admire organizations with a disciplined approach to their work and programs with the potential to be scaled.
  • We seek to fund activities that would not be advanced without the interest and support of the Foundation.
  • We aspire to understand the world in which our grantees work. As such, we constantly learn by analyzing research, evaluating grantees’ progress, and quantifying outcomes.
  • We value innovation by investing in our partners’ thoughtful and measured growth, encouraging them to challenge the norms of traditional approaches, and remaining flexible with our grantmaking.
  • We aim to serve a population whose members may not have the capacity to advocate for themselves: specifically, youth aged 0 – 18 and those without the ability or resources to access music programs.
  • We provide peripheral support to enrich the environment in which our primary partners work, whether via research, advocacy, or by raising awareness.