On The Other End of the Line

By 
Dana Pellitteri

Step onto Berklee’s campus and you’ll find one of the most diverse student bodies of any college in the world. The students are some of the most talented, creative, and passionate I’ve ever met. They are the heart of Berklee—bound together by a love for music and dreams of a career in the field.

For those of you who are Berklee alumni, you know what it’s like to practice until 3:00 A.M., jam with your favorite professor, or land an amazing gig. But did you know that the generosity of those who came before you made so much of your Berklee experience possible?

Giving and philanthropy play a large and often silent role at Berklee. Each year alumni and parents make gifts to the Berklee Fund to preserve and enrich the educational experience offered at the college. Alumni give to commemorate their time here and to assure a thriving Berklee experience for future students.

Philanthropy at Berklee focuses on students. In fact, you may even receive a phone call from a Berklee student each year. Next time you do, please pick up! You may be surprised to find that on the other end of the line are young musicians who care about Berklee and want to hear about your experience since you left. They want to know where you’re working, whom you’re working with, and what role music plays in your life. They are excited to tell you about new developments at the school. They look up to you. They see themselves in you, and you should see yourselves in them.

The students who make these phone calls have their own stories to share. One is a talented bass player in her final semester and can complete studies at Berklee only because of a scholarship. Another is a second-semester student with his eye on medical school after graduation to pursue a career in music therapy. You may even hear from the student who never felt like she fit in until she found Berklee. Now she’s a student leader.

When you speak to them, you hear the impact that gifts to the Berklee Fund have on students. It allows their education—and the legacy of yours—to continue. When these student callers ask you to make a gift, they are asking you to invest in music education and to help make Berklee the college you want it to be.

Berklee strives to be the world’s leading institute of contemporary music. To do this, we need extraordinary teachers, the newest technology, and the most talented students. The best will never be the least expensive. Tuition alone covers only 72 percent of the cost of a Berklee education. Private sources—including fundraising—cover the rest.

Our goal is to provide financial assistance to every student unable to afford a Berklee education so our graduates are not burdened by debt.  We know that many alumni are paying off student loans. There is a seemingly endless need for scholarships and financial aid. We hope that one day all students can attend Berklee regardless of their means.

I’m proud to share that a group of students among the phonathon callers recently made gifts to the Berklee Fund, the first ever to unite in a showing of solidarity and conviction through a gift to Berklee. The message they send is clear: they care about Berklee and are grateful for the opportunities it provides, and they have a stake in its future.

Gifts of any amount from alumni help us improve the quality of education offered here, which in turn increases the value of your Berklee degree and your competitiveness both in and out of the music field.  Today’s students will join you as alumni tomorrow. You’re all part of the exclusive Berklee community. When we all give back a little bit, we grow stronger together.

To make a gift to Berklee, visit www.berklee.edu/giving.