Southern California Music Nonprofits Awarded $2.4 Million

“It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” for nonprofits receiving grants from The Music Man Foundation;
the Foundation honors Meredith Willson, who wrote the song in 1951 

LOS ANGELES, December 8, 2022 – The holiday season got a little brighter for local children and community members as The Music Man Foundation announced $2.45 million in funding for nonprofits that work to permanently change the way music is embedded in our schools, health care system, and community.

The Music Man Foundation is named for the Tony Award-winning musical written by Meredith Willson, who also wrote “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” in 1951. 

Southern California organizations receiving funding are leading after-school music training programs to break the cycle of poverty and support college attainment, training formerly incarcerated adults for careers in music to reduce recidivism, developing a new music therapy curriculum for children ages 0-5 experiencing trauma, integrating music into health care treatments, facilitating collaborative songwriting to support community organizing, and using music and poetry to build community among at-risk and incarcerated youth. Called the Meredith Willson Awards, the two-year grants range from $100,000-$500,000, and the inaugural 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.

“As caroling and concerts abound, the holiday season is a perfect time to celebrate the importance of music in our communities. Music can bridge cultural and social divisions, improve quality of life, and provide career pathways,” said Sarah Lyding, executive director of The Music Man Foundation. “The Meredith Willson Awards will make a difference in the lives of Southern California students, patients in hospitals, people who were formerly incarcerated and now rebuilding their lives, and more.”

There’s growing recognition of the importance of music for the health of communities and individuals. In 2019, 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 $22 million to 80 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. More information about eligibility and selection criteria for the 2022 Meredith Willson Awards can be found here

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

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