By Tim Sampson, of the Soulsville Foundation
The Stax Music Academy (SMA) kicks off its annual #MusicMustContinue August/September fundraising campaign this month to raise $50,000 to close the tuition gap for students who apply and qualify for financial aid to attend SMA. The true cost for the work we do is $10,000 per year per student for music education and creative youth programming, which includes professional mental wellness counseling. However, $1,000 is the maximum that a family is ever charged. In addition to this, many of our students receive need-based discounts and pay as little as $200 per year. No child is ever turned away because of financial limitations.
That’s why we started the #MusicMustContinue fundraising campaign in 2020. When our young people and their families were impacted by the COVID pandemic and unable to pay their remaining tuition balances, we created the #MusicMustContinue fund to close the gap.
This year, with many families still decimated by the financial strain of COVID, over 90 percent of our students have applied and qualified for scholarship funding, compared to 50 – 60 percent in years past. Because we are committed to serving every student no matter their financial situation, we are calling on donors to support this campaign because every young person deserves a space to be supported, creative, and prepared for success as an adult.
In our graduating class of 2021, all 13 seniors received music scholarships to pay for their college education.
We are also still soliciting corporate or individual sponsorships for this year’s #MusicMustContinue campaign at the $5,000 level. $5,000 sponsorships will be leveraged during the campaign as matching gifts to encourage others to support SMA students and help us to reach our goal of $50,000. For more information about becoming a sponsor, please contact Candace Lester at Candace.email@example.com.
Thanks to our current sponsors, Newberry Tanks, DistroKid, and Great South Bay Music.
Tim Sampson is the Communications Director for the Soulsville Foundation