Stax Music Academy and Memphis Music Initiative Receive Lewis Prize for Music Grants

The Stax Music Academy students perform in the Stax Museum’s Studio A

From Lewis Prize –

Stax Music Academy and Memphis Music Initiative are recipients of the Lewis Prize for Music COVID-19 Community Response Fund. A total of $1.25 million has been awarded to 32 Creative Youth Development (CYD) organizations across the U.S. that have adapted and responded to the pressing needs of the young people they serve amid the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Lewis Prize for Music invests in youth music organizations and their leaders to facilitate positive change through access to music education. Each of the COVID-19 Community Response Fund recipients embody this goal; they do extraordinary work providing young people with opportunities to learn, perform and create music while also serving their immediate and unique needs around food, transportation, mental health, and academics.

From Flint, Michigan to Montgomery, Alabama, to Oakland, California, the recipients cultivate leadership opportunities and safe spaces for the young people they support. Many of the recipients have budgets of less than $100,000 per year, and two-thirds are led by people of color. Through their community-driven and youth-focused approach, they have become safe havens for the young people they serve during COVID-19.

“Access to music enriches the social fabric of our lives,” said Daniel Lewis, Founder and Chairman of the Lewis Prize for Music. “The organizations and leaders we have chosen to support in these times play a critical role in the lives and communities of the young people they support. In the face of unprecedented challenges of COVID-19 and racial injustice across the country, Creative Youth Development organizations are devoting all of their resources to uplift both the creative and material well-being of young people and their families. We are thrilled to support these organizations and be an advocate for the entire Creative Youth Development field.”

Creative Youth Development is a recent term for a longstanding practice that integrates creative skill-building, inquiry, and expression with positive youth development principles, including holistic wellbeing. It is a national movement dedicated to strengthening young people and their communities through local expressions of culture and music.

“The Lewis Prize for Music is committed to supporting young people and the adults in their lives who give them love, safety, and a musical voice,” said Dalouge Smith, CEO of The Lewis Prize for Music. “These 32 grantees work to break down barriers of inequality every day. They also do more than offer programs and services to young people, they include them in decision-making. We are honored to mirror this by including ten young adults under the age of 26 in the grant-making process.”

The grants range from $25,000 to $50,000 to each of the 32 Creative Youth Development organizations.