Berklee Today

The 2005 Alumni Grant Winners Announced

During its three-year existence, the Berklee Alumni Grant program has become a hit among alumni seeking to transform their ideas into tangible creative endeavors. In November of 2002, the first year in which alumni grants were awarded; four recipients received a total of $50,000 in funding. In the latest round (completed in September 2005), a total of $75,000 was awarded to 13 Berklee alumni who were among the 56 who submitted proposals.

Individual awards ranged from $1,000 to $10,000 for various educational outreach efforts. The winning proposals included that of Harry Blazer '72, who requested funding for the Walking in Beauty Festival held annually in Montana. Blazer's award will support daylong clinics and evening concerts at schools in Kalispell, Missoula, and Bozeman. Leonora Helm '82 received funding for Harmony, Inc., her nonprofit music program that provides music instruction to 260 underserved youth in New York City and offers training and development for 25 aspiring contemporary music teachers from local colleges and universities. Jim Logan '86 received an award to fund a tour of displaced-persons camps in Uganda with the Kampala Jazz All-Stars. Maggie Perrotta '95 will use her award to bring the poetry of Emily Dickinson to elementary through undergraduate students in the form of a CD and a live rock show. Hans Schuman '90 received an award for JazzReach, his New York City-based nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion, creation, teaching, and performance of jazz. Jazz Reach presents educational programs for young audiences as well as concerts, clinics, workshops, and masterclasses. Schuman's grant will help him produce a program highlighting some of the important achievements and music of women in jazz and will feature jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves.

The Berklee alumni grant program was created to involve alumni in the ongoing life of the college and to support the work of alumni in their own communities. Each year, applications are made available online in March and must be submitted to the review committee by June 30. The committee, comprising a group of peers of the applicants, begins the review process in August. Announcement of the award recipients is made in September.

The alumni grant program is only one example of the larger initiative that the college has undertaken to reach out to alumni, with awareness of the alumni grant program increasing each year. Over the years, alumni have gained a better understanding of the program, the process, and the types of proposals awarded by the review committee. Projects designed to offer educational and community support, increase recognition for creative expression, improve self-esteem, and benefit underprivileged children through music have generally been those chosen to receive grants.

Through the alumni grant program, Berklee musicians are making a difference one community and one project at a time, and the college is pleased to be able to support these positive endeavors. Summaries and details about the winning projects for 2005 can be found on the alumni website at