The Music Man Foundation Announces Two Grant Opportunities for 2024

Up to $2.5 Million Available to Nonprofits Using Music to Create Positive and Lasting Change

LOS ANGELES, January 23, 2024 – The Music Man Foundation today announced two grant opportunities for 2024, making available up to $2.5 million to nonprofits working to permanently change the way music is embedded in our schools, health care system, and communities. 

Southern California nonprofits can apply for The “Meredith Willson Awards,” named for the creator of the musical “The Music Man,” in whose honor The Music Man Foundation was established. Two-year grants, ranging from $50,000 to $500,000, will provide significant general operating support to five to ten organizations working in music, learning, and well-being. Nonprofits in Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura counties are eligible to apply starting today. It is the first time the grants have been available to Riverside County nonprofits.

Previous Southern California Meredith Willson Awards recipients are Able ARTS Work, Community Power Collective, Give a Beat, The Harmony Project, Heart of Los Angeles, LA Opera, LA Philharmonic Association, Street Poets and Young Musicians Foundation.

A second grant opportunity, the “Strengthening the Sector” grants will support organizations working to create positive changes in the arts, including advocating for increased public funding to arts programs, supporting policy changes, or increasing public will in support of the arts. Grants will provide project-specific support to nonprofits operating in Los Angeles County, in the state of California, or nationally. Applications open March 1, 2024.

The organizations that received Strengthening the Sector grants in 2023 are Arts For LA, Californians for the Arts, Create CAGrantmakers in the Arts, Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture for the LA County Arts Ed Collective, National Association for Music Education, National Guild for Community Arts Education, OPERA America, State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education for the Arts Education Data Project, and University of California, San Francisco for the Sound Health Network

“From veterans and health care patients getting the support they need, to entire communities benefiting from new pro-artist policies and increased arts education – organizations that have received Meredith Willson Awards and Strengthening the Sector grants are using music to create positive and lasting change,” said Sarah Lyding, executive director of The Music Man Foundation. “With this year’s grants, we hope to fortify and expand the groundbreaking work of additional organizations using music to advance change.”

There’s growing recognition of the importance of music for the health of communities and individuals. The National Institutes of Health awarded $20 million for projects that bring together music therapy and neuroscience. Studies have shown that stronger social ties in our schools and communities, and increased tolerance for others, are among the benefits linked to participation in the arts. Children’s music education has been tied to improved reading and math skills, as well as stronger social skills and increased self-confidence. 

About The Music Man Foundation

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.  The Foundation’s mission is to empower organizations using music to catalyze enduring change and to amplify our founders’ musical legacy. Over the last decade, the Foundation has awarded more than $25 million to 85 organizations. In addition to “The Music Man,” Meredith Willson wrote the musical, “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” and beloved songs “It’s Beginning to Look Like Christmas” and the University of Iowa fight song. 

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Media Contact: Nerissa Silao, 310-874-9230, [email protected]

Photos are available to the media.