Bloomingdale School of Music – Non-Profit Spotlight

What is your mission?
Bloomingdale School of Music (BSM) provides open access to high-quality music education to anyone who seeks it, regardless of economic status, ability level, ethnicity, or religious affiliation.

What makes your organization so unique in the non-profit space?
Since 1964, BSM has strived to make music education accessible to students regardless of their financial means. BSM has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to providing access to music education to individuals from underserved communities, not only to prepare talented students from such communities for more advanced musical study, but also to open doors to the musically curious who may otherwise be prevented from taking up an instrument. BSM is firm in its conviction that sustained, individualized, and rigorous music training can drive personal success in music and in life.

Widely recognized for administering one of the country’s most aggressive financial assistance programs for a music school of its size, BSM devotes nearly 15 percent of its annual operating budget for need-based financial aid and scholarship awards. Over the past decade alone, BSM has awarded more than $1.5 million in need-based aid, including nearly $160,000 to 136 students from more than 80 families during the most recently concluded fiscal year. Awards, ranging from ten to 100 percent, average 50 percent of annual tuition. Approximately 80 percent of the families receiving financial aid have household incomes of under $40,000. Among financial aid recipients, nearly 40 percent are from underserved communities in Upper Manhattan or the Bronx; 55 percent are Latino, 18 percent are Black, and 9 percent are Asian. For many of its students, BSM represents the only available option for musical study.

Once a student has received financial aid, as long as that student remains engaged with good attendance and practice for lessons, BSM commits to providing support throughout that student’s school years. BSM’s sustained commitment and experience with music provides the most impactful benefits to our students and our community.

What is your organization up to at the moment & how can CUP Members be involved?
BSM provides financial assistance through its Music Access Project (a three year comprehensive after-school pre-college music program) and its Project Bridge program (a full scholarship program for talented middle and high school students who cannot otherwise afford private lessons) and also by providing need-based financial aid for its other students. This aid has enabled BSM to develop a diverse student body and provide music education to students that would not otherwise be able to pay for private or group lessons. BSM can provide CUP members with an opportunity to volunteer their time, professional skills, and experience by serving on its Board of Directors or active committees. Such service can provide CUP members with exposure to the workings of a non-profit corporation and experience in board membership, opportunities for leadership and the ability to connect with and work closely with like-minded professionals to fulfill BSM’s mission.