Scholarships: Investing in Extraordinary Students Who Need Support

The first in a series about supporting students

Soundbreaking donor Elizabeth Boland speaks with scholarship recipient Kayna Fanene.

The Challenge: Affordability

“Two amazing Berklee graduates, Cava Menzies '99 and Lisa Forkish '06, taught me at the Oakland School for the Arts [in Oakland, CA],” Kyana Fanene says. “After studying with them, there was no doubt that Berklee would be my first choice to pursue a degree in music therapy.” Berklee's tuition cost was a challenge, however.

Scholarships: A Top Priority

Generous support helps make Berklee more affordable for Fanene and thousands of others from around the world. Once Boston-based, Berklee has expanded its geographic reach to a second campus in Valencia, Spain, and its students come from across the United States and more than 100 countries on six continents. Integrating music from many cultures enhances students' education and experience.

As Berklee Today goes to press, Soundbreaking: The Campaign for Berklee sailed past $80 million toward its $100 million goal, a remarkable milestone in this, just the second of the campaign's five-year public phase. More than 15,000 gifts from trustees, members of the Presidential Advisory Council, alumni, parents, faculty and staff add up to this total. We are grateful to the many generous donors who have chosen to direct their gifts to scholarships, a top campaign priority. Whether through a gift to the Berklee Fund, which offers unrestricted support to the college's most pressing needs—particularly financial aid—or through establishing individual term or endowed scholarship funds, these gifts make it possible for students to come to Berklee and earn their degrees. It is a privilege to highlight just a few stories here, in this, the first article of a series that will focus on those who offer scholarship support through their gifts to Soundbreaking.

Michael Brown

Elizabeth Boland

When Kyana Fanene learned that she would receive the Elizabeth Boland Scholarship, Berklee was within reach. “Receiving this scholarship has allowed me to concentrate on what is important to my family and me: education and giving back to our community,” Fanene told Elizabeth Boland. “I hope that one day I will be able to help other students pursue their ambition just as you have helped me.”

Boland responds, “Music, in so many forms and from so many people, has influenced and colored many aspects of my life. What a thrill to be able to pay it forward, helping to bring some dreams within reach, to bring some creativity to fruition, to simply make available the opportunity to explore and flourish. This scholarship program gives me a unique connection to these inspired students, and lets me directly experience how my love of music gets amplified tenfold!”

Michael Brown

In his spare time, Michael A. Brown, president and CEO of Symantec, a global corporation and leader in cybersecurity, plays keyboards and manages the Wildcats, a classic rock dance band formed in 2000. As part of the Berklee community for the past decade, first as a member of the Presidential Advisory Council and now as trustee, Brown shares his worldwide experience and passion for music with the college. As he thought about motivations for establishing both endowed and term scholarship funds, Brown explained, “Music means a lot to my wife and me. We are delighted to direct our Soundbreaking gift to scholarship support to help assure that the most talented students will attend Berklee and, from there, help shape the future of music.”

Paul and Katie Buttenwieser

Paul and Katie Buttenwieser

For Paul and Katie Buttenwieser, community, education, culture, and the arts have been priorities. With keen insight from professional and personal experience, Paul, a psychiatrist, novelist and pianist; and Katie, a social worker at Boston Children's Hospital in Boston, deeply value the impact of the arts on society. Over the years, they and their family started the Family-to-Family Project, a non-profit that helps Boston's homeless, and gave generously of time, wisdom, and treasure to many of Boston's extraordinary institutions, including the Institute for Contemporary Art, Harvard College and Medical School and the School of Education; and the American Repertory Theater.

In so many ways, we at Berklee appreciate having the Buttenwiesers as members of our community. Paul commented, “It means a great deal to Katie and me to recognize Berklee's progress under the visionary leadership of president Roger Brown, and to support Berklee's talented music students, now and in the future, by establishing the Paul and Catherine Buttenwieser Endowed Scholarship Fund.” Beginning in the fall of 2017, the Buttenwieser scholarship will be available to students pursuing the newly established Harvard-Berklee joint degree in music.

John and Stephanie Connaughton

John and Stephanie Connaughton

Berklee trustee John Connaughton, co-managing partner at Bain Capital, has served on several of the firm's leadership committees and chaired its global private equity board. With a wider-ranging perspective and a longstanding love for music, Connaughton has observed that Berklee is a unique asset that can make Boston great, with positive influence that extends beyond Boston to the world. John and his wife, Stephanie, directed part of their campaign gift to establish the Connaughton Endowed Scholarship Fund.

“Stephanie and I have long believed that performing arts, and particularly music, have great positive impact,” John Connaughton says. “Establishing this endowed scholarship fund to ensure that the most talented students will attend Berklee also helps to ensure the future of music. We are delighted to direct a portion of our Soundbreaking gift to scholarship support.”

Len and Mary Anne Baker

Len and Mary Anne Baker

Len Baker, a partner at Sutter Hill Ventures in Palo Alto, CA,—one of the earliest venture capital firms—recently joined the Berklee Board of Trustees. As the college contemplates opportunities at the intersection of two rapidly changing industries, music and higher education, Baker brings broad experience from work with entrepreneurs in a range of industries.

His work extends to countries on both sides of the Pacific in the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors, and he serves as a member of the Yale Corporation and on a number of investment committees at Yale, the Packard Foundation, and the government of Singapore.

Baker sees Berklee students as entrepreneurs who challenge music today as they look ahead, and invests in them and their futures with the Baker Family Endowed Fellowship Fund. “So many talented students at Berklee deserve more financial support,” Baker says. “We are pleased to be able to help a few of them.”

Trustee and Soundbreaking donor Bill Kaiser (second from the left) with members of the Berklee student group Java Jive

Bill Kaiser

On the surface, it may seem that Bill Kaiser crossed paths with Berklee only upon becoming a trustee. Originally from Ohio, Kaiser graduated from MIT and later, Harvard, before working in the computer industry and at Greylock Partners venture capital firm. But Berklee played an early role in Kaiser's Boston experience. With parents who both loved music, played instruments, and performed, music was ever-present in the Kaiser home where Bill too participated. One vivid high school memory involvedtraveling from Cleveland to Boston to perform with his school's jazz ensemble at the Berklee High School Jazz Festival where the group placed second. Since then, Kaiser has attended many Berklee concerts. Recently, one of his daughters—a killer bass guitar player—attended Berklee's Five-Week Performance Summer Program.

Berklee benefits from Kaiser's experience, astute advice, and love for music as he chairs the Berklee Online committee to the Board of Trustees. As familiar as he is with successful entrepreneurship, Kaiser is impressed by Berklee students who embrace innovation. That motivated him to devote a substantial portion of his gift to Soundbreaking to establish an endowed scholarship fund. “Berklee and its amazing students are creating and innovating in every aspect of contemporary music,” he says. “All scholarship gifts are generous. I particularly like endowed scholarship funds because they keep on giving, forever.”


We thank each of these generous benefactors who have chosen to invest in Berklee students and the future of music. We are pleased to highlight a few stories here, and look forward to sharing more in future issues of Berklee Today.