music vein

Noel Paul Stookey's Music to Life Organization Awarded $500,000 Grant

Music to Life, a national nonprofit founded by Noel Paul Stookey of the folk trio Peter, Paul & Mary, has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation to fund its signature Accelerator programs for social justice musicians.

This grant enables Music to Life to create up to four national Accelerator Academies over the next three years, tapping musicians across all geographies, genres and generations to engage in an eight-month intensive incubator program. Participants will receive business skills training in strategic planning, organizing, management and fundraising to develop and execute their music and social-justice driven concepts. Through capacity-building and mentorship, these musicians will generate viable proposals, receive pitch training and a matching grant as they collaborate with community partners and identify funding to bring their concepts to life.

“For these past 60 years, I have been a participating witness to the power of music to change lives,” said Noel Paul Stookey. “This grant from the Mellon Foundation confirms Music to Life's leadership role in mentoring the social change artist's transition from inspiring performance to constructive community engagement.”

Music to Life’s Accelerators mobilize musicians to develop sustainable, music-driven programs for communities facing persistent economic, environmental and racial injustice. With the Mellon Foundation’s support, Music to Life will train up to 75 musicians each year, prioritizing grassroots and BIPOC artists.

“Musicians in our network learn how to make a living while also making change,” said Elizabeth Stookey Sunde, executive director of Music to Life and daughter of Noel Paul Stookey. “This grant not only allows us to scale the Accelerator like never before, but in doing so, we also empower cause-driven musicians across the country, who are often an overlooked resource for building more resilient communities.”

Music to Life’s first national Accelerator will launch in early 2023. Social justice musicians with compelling ideas for community change and other interested allies are encouraged to join Music to Life’s mailing list for more information on application deadlines and other opportunities for involvement. 

Music to Life (MtL) is a national nonprofit that connects socially conscious musicians with the resources needed to realize their bold visions for community change, setting new standards for sustainably engaging musicians in the work of revitalizing their communities. MtL offers a coordinated ecosystem of services where musicians of all genres can find community, training and technical assistance to support their calling as change agents. Learn more at www.musictolife.org

The Mellon Foundation is the nation’s largest supporter of the arts and humanities. Since 1969, the Foundation has been guided by its core belief that the humanities and arts are essential to human understanding. The Foundation believes that the arts and humanities are where we express our complex humanity, and that everyone deserves the beauty, transcendence, and freedom that can be found there. Through our grants, we seek to build just communities enriched by meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imagination can thrive. Learn more at mellon.org.