New York—The Juilliard School, the famed performing arts conservatory, has demonstrated how publicity can pay off – literally – for cash-strapped youth programs.
News that Juilliard would suspend a highly regarded outreach program in the face of dwindling donations sparked an outpouring of giving that could save the program. Juilliard President Joseph W. Polisi said the school was temporarily halting the Music Advancement Program, which provides training to low-income minorities, because it was unable to afford the program’s $400,000 cost, according to an article last month in The New York Times.
The Music Advancement Program was established in 1991 in response to drastic funding cuts for music programs in New York City public schools. Each year, Juilliard chooses about 50 African-American, Latino and Native American students from hundreds of applicants in grades three through eight to participate in the two-year program. Students attend weekend classes taught by Juilliard faculty and perform throughout the city.
In the week after the report, Juilliard was inundated with contributions aimed at preserving the program, The Times reported. The Los Angles-based Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, which makes grants in the areas of education, science, the arts and civics, confirmed a $425,000 donation to Juilliard.
Juilliard spokeswoman Janet Kessin told Youth Today that it is unclear if the donations will allow the school to reinstate the program this year.
Juilliard says its endowment has shrunk 24 percent since June 2008, to $603 million, as philanthropic giving has shifted away from the arts. The school cut its budgets by 10 percent in 2008 and expects to reduce departmental budgets by another 10 percent this year, Kessin said.
“In the current economic crisis, so many foundations that funded arts programs have switched their priorities to social needs, such as food, clothing and homelessness,” Kessin said.
Juilliard has reduced the operating budgets of its nine other outreach programs, but only the Music Advancement Program was suspended.