What will it take to bring the power of music to every child in Miami-Dade County? The Miami Foundation is exploring that question, lifting up possible solutions, and making major investments in music access in partnership with philanthropist Daniel R. Lewis, nonprofit partners, and the Miami-Dade County Public School District.

The power of music is undeniable. Evidence clearly shows that children who are exposed to music education benefit from life-long benefits for their mind, body, and spirit. Research demonstrates that music education positively impacts literacy development, math skills, interpersonal abilities, confidence, attendance and coordination. We want these benefits for every child in Miami-Dade.

Today we are announcing a $4.5 million three-year commitment from Daniel R. Lewis to support the newly created Music Access Miami Fund at The Miami Foundation.  This funding will primarily support three areas of work:

  • Music Alliance Miami Gardens: Piloting a collaboration in Miami Gardens where all children will get access to free, high quality music programming, in and out of school, with an aim to positively impact students social-emotional development and academic performance.


  • Music Access Network: Building a network of leaders working toward the common goal of music access for all children in Miami Dade through investments in the people and organizations at the forefront of this issue.


  • Music Access Miami Map: Expanding a regional asset map to identify where students in Miami-Dade have access to programming and where there might be gaps.


In the coming year, our focus will be on system-level impact, partnering more closely with the school system, government, and institutional partners, and incentivizing larger collaborations that bring resources and opportunity to youth in a more systemic way.

When asked about why music and why now, lead funder Daniel R. Lewis shares, “Access to music education for children of color has dropped from 1982 to 2008 from 49% to 27%, compared to a 1% drop from 59% for white children.  To make music education accessible and affordable for all children, collaboration among nonprofits, philanthropists and public schools is needed.  While studies support the value of music education for a child’s cognitive and emotional development, how to make it available to all, with culturally relevant genres and contemporary technology, needs to be demonstrated locally.”

We are designing an effort that will increase access to music for children while also facilitating increased trust, clarity, and collaboration among music leaders in the region.  The Music Access Fund will build on the work and investments made last year in the overwhelmingly successful Music Access Fellowship, a $1 million effort created by Radical Partners that, through a year-long fellowship, encouraged Miami-based music leaders to build trust and begin organically exploring ways to increase collective impact to ultimately reach more youth.

The Music Access Fellowship alumni came together to chart a vision for what music access looks like in Miami and ultimately selected Miami Gardens as the first community to pilot this approach. Through the Music Access Fund, investments are being made to a cohort of six visionary organizations and twelve principals to partner and expand their capacity to serve more students within Miami Gardens.  The nonprofit grantee partners in this Miami Gardens pilot include:

  • Achieve Miami will offer virtual after-school music programming for grades 2 – 5 that includes voice, band, percussion and general music instruction.
  • Arts For Learning will offer in-class professional development and coaching programs that provide support for pre-k, kindergarten and first grade teachers on music strategies to help children thrive while simultaneously delivering music instruction to students.
  • Guitars Over Guns will offer after-school programming two days a week at each school site with instrument offerings that include vocals, keyboard, rap, music production, drums, and guitar.
  • Miami Music Project will offer an after-school music education and social development program for 1st – 6th grade students. They provide instruction on violin, viola, cello, double bass, flute, clarinet, clarinet, and oboe. In addition to instrumental learning, all students also receive choir and rhythm ensemble.
  • Young Musicians Unite will be providing 12 schools an in-school music program from grades 5 – 12 with genres ranging from rock ensembles to jazz band, drumline, music technology, beginning band, and keyboard/choir classes. They will also provide specialized after-school programming for advanced performing jazz combos and rock ensembles.
  • Save The Music Foundation will provide targeted instruments, technology and other resources to all schools, including culturally-relevant general musical instruments, band, string & music technology grant packages, along with program support, monitoring and evaluation services to schools for a 10-year period.


Managing the Music Access Fund at The Miami Foundation is Kunya Rowley, who joined the team last month in the newly-created, full-time role of Music Access Program Manager. An alum of the inaugural Music Access Fellowship, Kunya will work closely with the Miami Gardens pilot collaboration, while leading the fund’s efforts to strengthen the larger music access ecosystem network in the region.

The Miami Foundation is committed to bringing together philanthropists and partners to invest in the collective power of our region’s best music, education, and innovation leaders. The long-term goal is to expand beyond Miami Gardens and ultimately reach every student in Miami-Dade County with music access. The Fund was created as a collaborative fund with the hope of growing the pot of resources to support music access for students in Miami. To learn more about the Music Access Fund, visit the website:


Lindsey Linzer is the senior director for programs and grants administration at The Miami Foundation 


No Comments

Post A Comment