TORONTO, ON (CelebrityAccess) – The Slaight Family Foundation has made a $2 million, five-year commitment to the national music education charity MusiCounts. The gift will support dynamic, diverse, and exciting music education programs in schools across Canada through the new MusiCounts Slaight Family Foundation Innovation Fund.
The innovation fund will support school music programs that use music technology, as well as programs that enable youth to celebrate their cultural identity in the classroom. Whether it be beat-making and DJ programs, Métis fiddling, recording studios, or traditional Indigenous drumming, teachers are transforming what is possible in music class. The fund will take this transformative thinking from dream to reality for thousands of students across the country.
The bold and inspiring commitment from the Slaight Family Foundation will help address a growing need in MusiCounts’ existing musical instrument and equipment grant programs. Before the gift, MusiCounts could support only one in every six programs that sought support through the organization’s Band Aid Program; thanks to this investment, the support will now be one in four.
“Gary Slaight and The Slaight Family Foundation have shown unwavering support of Canadian music in all its forms. This landmark investment will transform what music education looks like in Canada,” said Kristy Fletcher, President of MusiCounts. “Thank you, Gary Slaight and The Slaight Family Foundation, for believing in the value of music education for every kid in Canada.”
The innovation fund applications will open in Fall 2023 in conjunction with the MusiCounts Band Aid Program. The new fund does not replace the Band Aid Program but offers teachers the option to apply for the grant that best supports the needs of the school and students. The fund will also include resource development and professional development opportunities for educators to ensure they are supported in bringing these new school music programs to life.
Dr. Bina John, Assistant Professor of Music Education at the University of Toronto, is serving as Program Advisor for this new funding stream. As an expert in music pedagogy and music in equity-seeking groups, she is uniquely poised to help shape the direction of innovation in music education.
“As we emerge from the two pandemics of COVID-19 and racism, one thing is certain: we simply cannot go back to the traditional ways of music teaching and learning,” said Dr. John. “We must create radical, musical spaces of belonging where children see themselves in the music that we teach. The MusiCounts Slaight Family Foundation recognizes this transformative potential of music education by establishing a new Innovation Fund that will support technology-forward programs, culturally relevant and culturally responsive music programs as well as contemporary music ensembles that will propel us forward in a kind and equitable way.”