For The Review, Tidings
Arlene Schnitzer and Jordan Schnitzer presented Youth Music Project, a nonprofit music school in West Linn, with a $25,000 gift last month at the Volunteers of America's (VOA) 2018 DePreist Award for Excellence event.
The gift was made in honor of Youth Music Project's founder, Sally Bany, and her mother Gert Boyle, who was also honored by VOA that evening.
Initially launched out of a travel trailer in 2012, Youth Music Project is now permanently settled in West Linn's historic Willamette District. In 2017, 1,550 students ages 1-18 enrolled in one or more classes at YMP. About 39 percent of the organization's group classes, private lessons and summer camps were provided free of charge through the organization's community-supported tuition assistance program.
The Youth Music Project tuition assistance program is open to students who qualify for free and reduced school lunch, SNAP or those who are in the foster care system. Those who qualify can register tuition-free for one weekly group class or private lesson series per term, and one week-long summer camp per year.
Youth Music Project partners with other nonprofit organizations and local schools to reach as many students as possible, according to Celeste Rose, the organization's development director.
"The Schnitzers' continued investment in Youth Music Project is so appreciated," Rose said. "As one of the largest philanthropic families funding the arts in the Portland metro area, the Schnitzers' gift is testament to the value and relevancy Youth Music Project brings to our community. We are truly honored and thankful for this gift, which will help us continue to provide high-quality music education and make sure students have access regardless of their family's ability to pay."
Youth Music Project provides music education in rock, pop and country genres. Programming includes early-childhood classes, after-school group classes and private lessons, a teen internship program, summer camps and performance opportunities in the school's state-of-the art Meteor Lounge. The school was initially designed to be a welcoming and safe space for all children, no matter their gender, race, country of origin, creed, orientation or other facet of their identity.
Bany said the Schnitzers' generous donation will help to further her initial mission for Youth Music Project.
"What an amazing gift presented to the Youth Music Project," said Bany. "As co-founder, I'm so thankful for the opportunity to continue the sweet sound of music and happiness in our building and community."
Travis Magrane, executive director of Youth Music Project, also expressed his gratitude.
"Music is a rare magic," he said. "For those who play it, it serves as a physical, intellectual and emotional vehicle. It teaches patience, persistence and practice, and strengthens collaboration and communication skills. It is a gift that inspires us to dance and to sing, and we are dancing and singing indeed from this incredibly generous gift from the Schnitzers, which allows Youth Music Project to continue its mission of providing the magic of music to all kids in our community."
For more information, visit youthmusicproject.org.