Sailing Past $100 Million

Soundbreaking Surpasses Its Goal


Soundbreaking: The Campaign Berklee surpassed the target goal of $100 million in December.

When president Roger Brown and the Berklee Board of Trustees contemplated launching a second capital campaign, the Berklee community was torn. On the one hand, Giant Steps, the college’s first campaign in its 65-year history, was a resounding success. Launched in 2006 with a goal of $40 million, Giant Steps posted a final total of $54.5 million five years later. Understandably, trustees, members of the President’s Advisory Council (PAC), the president and administration were optimistic about a second campaign, especially when the college received the largest gift in its history, an unanticipated $8.4 million bequest, in 2012. Tempering that enthusiasm, trustees recognized that it was a tough time. The U.S. economy had struggled in the aftermath of the great recession; Berklee’s administration was preoccupied with launching the college’s first master’s degree courses at its new Valencia, Spain, campus; and it was completing the college’s first purpose-built facility at 160 Massachusetts Avenue in Boston. Then, as the board and president debated, three trustees: John Connaughton, Ann Kreis P’11, ’13; and Jeff Walker, volunteered to become the cochairs. Fueling determination, a fourth trustee presented a strong case to aim high. As fiscal year 2015 began, Berklee set a goal of $100 million and launched “Soundbreaking: The Campaign for Berklee” with three comprehensive objectives:

  1. Create a global laboratory of musical discovery and artistry
  2. Promote the power of music to change people’s lives for the better
  3. Transform the current model of higher education

At the time of the launch, a $100 million goal seemed attainable, but only with dogged, determined effort, taking advantage of every minute of the five-year public campaign period through May 31, 2019. No one imagined the possibility of reaching the goal early. However, after a little more than three years, Soundbreaking sailed past the goal. As we go to press, the campaign total is nearly $109 million, with 17 months remaining.

Just as important, we have nearly reached the informal goal of raising half for scholarships, posting a total of almost $48 million. Gifts include a new all-time high record contribution of $12 million, plus gifts of $5 million, $3 million, two at $2 million, several $1 million-plus, and a number in the $100,000–$500,000 range. Thanks to the generosity of trustees, PAC members, alumni, parents, and patrons; Soundbreaking support for students and faculty has helped Berklee launch new programs online and on three campuses in Boston, Valencia, Spain; and now, New York City. As Soundbreaking continues in these final months, we are grateful to all who have made its past success possible, and those who now are considering a gift.