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Berklee's Helping Hands

 
  The Bond family from left to right, Clifford, Ed, Samantha, Anthony, Aletta, and Thomas

Giant Steps on Track

As this issue goes to press, in the first capital campaign launched by the college, Berklee has raised $33 million toward its $50 million fundraising goal. The campaign's name, Giant Steps, acknowledges John Coltrane's groundbreaking composition of the same name and conveys the scope of the ambition of the campaign. The financial support from Giant Steps will set Berklee on a course to accept applicants - regardless of need - from among the best young musicians in the world and educate them in an environment that prepares them to become future leaders of the global music community. The goal of the campaign is to raise $15 million for scholarships, $20 million for improved facilities, and $15 million for innovative programs.

Given the turmoil in the economy, it's humbling to see the overwhelming generosity of Berklee community members who have stepped forward. Several Berklee parents have agreed to join Berklee's Giant Steps parent committee, which includes many generous donors to the campaign. They meet with President Roger Brown and Giant Steps staff to raise awareness of the campaign and to seek gifts for it.

The William E. Simon Foundation has made a transformative gift to the Giant Steps campaign. A trustee of the foundation is a parent of a Berklee student. The Simon foundation honors the life and work of William E. Simon, a former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, distinguished statesman, entrepreneur, banker, philanthropist, and author. Berklee is honored by the support of the Simon foundation.

 
Involved parents: Berklee supporters Jeffrey and Janet Leitzinger are the parents of Berklee student Henry Leitzinger.  

Johnson Challenge Met

Five years ago, the West Palm Beach, FL-based Johnson Scholarship Foundation made an audacious challenge to Berklee. As the single largest supporter of the Berklee City Music Program (BCMP), it wanted to reduce its programmatic support for the college while also challenging Berklee to establish an endowed fund for Berklee scholarship support for graduates of BCMP. The foundation stipulated that Berklee needed to raise $2.9 million to receive matching funds from the foundation. In recognition that the college has successfully met this challenge, Berklee received the final payment on December 19, 2008, from the Johnson Scholarship Foundation. This ensures that for years to come Berklee can award 11 full-tuition scholarships for BCMP graduates.

"We are appreciative of the Johnson Scholarship Foundation's incredible support through the years," President Roger Brown says, "and we would absolutely not be in a position to launch a national rollout of 12 partner sites or expand our Boston-based services without their pioneering support." While other donors were hesitant to risk being the "first dollar in," the Johnson Foundation has invested in every element of BCMP. The Johnson Foundation's funding has allowed the college to encourage other donors to build robust support, and Berklee is grateful for its partnership in this endeavor.

 
  (From the left): Malcolm MacLeod of the Johnson Scholarship Foundation, BCMP students Ashley Rodrigues, Tuffus Zimbabwe, Adonis Martin, and Emily Johnson, and President Roger Brown at the 2004 Encore Gala

Involved Parents

After their son transferred to Berklee from another college in New England, Ed and Aletta Bond recognized the change immediately. The signs were clear: outstanding grades and a renewed work ethic, which included forsaking Saturday evenings with family and friends to ensure that a composition project was perfect. But there was more. For the first time since he entered college, their son was engaged, excited, and challenged.

The Bonds embraced the transformation and have augmented their annual fund gift by supporting Berklee's Encore Gala. They invited their other children and several friends to the October event for a night of music by Berklee students and faculty.

In early 2008, Jean and Timothy Schmit established the Timothy B. Schmit Endowed Scholarship for talented Berklee bass guitar majors. Schmit is the bassist for the Eagles, and his vocals are a key ingredient in the signature sound of the band. The Eagles continue to tour and a record successfully and recently received multiple Grammy nominations for their latest CD, Long Road out of Eden.

The Schmits decided to support Berklee following their son's experience at Berklee's Five-Week-Summer-Performance Program in 2007. They said he returned home with a new focus on music and a goal to study music in college. Mindful of how the economy has affected opportunities for college students, the Schmits decided to offer some assistance. "I hope this scholarship will help students to continue their studies at Berklee," Jean says.

Jeffrey and Janet Leitzinger are the parents of first-semester student Henry Leitzinger, a pianist and composer who transferred to Berklee from a Los Angeles-based college. As is often the case with new Berklee parents, the Leitzingers knew little about Berklee before their son arrived at the college. Nevertheless, they now strongly believe that part of being a member of an educational community includes supporting it, and they have made a generous commitment to Berklee.

"Based upon our brief acquaintance with the school, we are greatly impressed by the quality of the program and its people," Jeffrey notes. "Our son has found a home at Berklee, and our support for the college is our affirmation of his choice." Berklee is honored to welcome the Leitzingers into our community, and we thank them for their generous support.