National Endowment for the Arts grants most often do not directly fund school music programs. However, they have had a tremendous impact on many outreach programs that benefit music students, and these grants have supported many of Tennessee's most successful non-profit music initiatives. Since 2010, groups in Tennessee have been awarded $10.3 million through 207 different NEA grants.
These have included:
- More than $5 million in operational funding for the Tennessee Arts Commission, which itself funds subsidies for student tickets, support for arts education teacher training, teacher incentive grants for professional development, and a variety of other local projects to benefit arts across the state.
- $265,000 across multiple grants for the Country Music Foundation's long-running Words and Music program, which is used in music classrooms across the state to integrate songwriting into the curriculum.
- $15,000 for the Chattanooga Symphony's Sound Beginnings Program, including their ensembles in the schools activities and Young Person's Concerts.
- $90,000 for the Metro Nashville Public Schools' Music Makes Us program for efforts to improve music teacher training and fund professional development for music teachers.
- $15,000 for the Memphis Symphony Orchestra's education programming.
- $240,500 for multiple Nashville Symphony initiatives, including educational outreach and Grammy Award winning recording projects.
If you wish to voice your support for these agencies as Congress begins to deliberate the budget, please contact your district's representative and our senators.
These agencies represent a very small proportion of the federal budget. The president's proposal also suggests large cuts in funding for the Department of Education, with a radical shift of funds away from existing programs for teacher preparation and other initiatives towards funding for school choice initiatives, including private school scholarships, charter schools, and voucher programs. Look for more information and calls for action from TMEA and NAfME as those broadly outlined changes in educational funding are given more specificity in coming weeks.