Berklee Launches $100 Million Campaign: Soundbreaking

Nick Balkin
June 16, 2014
Press release

Berklee announces the launch of Soundbreaking: The Campaign for Berklee, a $100 million campaign and the largest fundraising effort in the college's 69-year history. Berklee celebrated the public kick-off of the campaign on June 12 at Symphony Hall with a performance that featured Berklee alumna Melissa Etheridge and student and alumi artists backed by Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops. 

With nearly $57 million raised in the campaign's quiet phase, including $3.7 million pledged by Berklee faculty and staff through annual giving, Soundbreaking has already surpassed the total of Berklee's previous campaign, Giant Steps, which raised $54.5 million from 2006 to 2011. 

Half of the target fundraising goal has been earmarked for scholarships and financial aid for students, and funds raised via the campaign will be directed toward fulfilling three overarching goals: 

Create a global laboratory for musical discovery and artistry. The campaign will fund programs designed to inspire new musical ideas and collaboration on a global scale, including the Berklee Popular Music Institute (BPMi), the Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship (BerkleeICE), the Berklee Global Jazz and Mediterranean Music institutes, among other initiatives, and support new facilities such as the 16-story 160 Massachusetts Avenue building in Boston, and the college's campus in Valencia, Spain. 

Promote the power of music to change people's lives for the better. Funds will support programs such as Berklee City Music and Amp Up NYC, which make music education accessible for high school students across the country; music therapy, where students learn to use the healing power of music by working with soldiers with PTSD and reviving the memories of Alzheimer's patients; and Berklee's assistive technology lab for blind and visually impaired students. 

Transform the current model for higher education. Spiraling costs of higher education in the U.S. make it increasingly difficult for students to attend or stay in college, while those who graduate often find themselves burdened with significant debt. Berklee is developing a wide range of offerings—scholarships, articulation agreements, online degrees, and MOOCs—to help curb student debt and make music education more affordable. 

"Music can change the world, and at Berklee, we aspire to be a force in creating the innovations that change music," said Berklee president Roger H. Brown. "We want Berklee to serve the most talented students in the world and this campaign will help make that possible." 

Soundbreaking comes on the heels of Giant Steps, the college's first large-scale fundraising campaign. Giant Steps raised $54.4 million to fund scholarships to bring the world's best young musicians to Berklee regardless of need, programs such as Berklee City Music and the Berklee Global Jazz Institute, renovations of campus facilities, faculty fellowships, and more. 

Berklee is the largest and the leading contemporary music school in the country, recently named No. 1 by the Hollywood Reporter. With 4,000 students on campus in Boston and Valencia, Spain, and more than 500,000 online, Berklee continues to reimagine how music can be taught, performed, and presented around the world.