Prestigious Grant is the Largest Ever Received by the Atlanta Music Project

The Atlanta Music Project, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that provides intense music education for at-risk children right in their neighborhood, has been selected as one of only six national youth music programs to be awarded a Widening the Stage grant from the renowned Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.


The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation awarded the Atlanta Music Project a $122,801 grant that is renewable for up to three years and could escalate to have a total value of nearly $500,000. The Widening the Stage grant is the largest ever received by the AMP, and it will be used to create the Exceptional Student Program, which will provide the most talented AMP students with the best resources to develop their musical abilities.

“This grant allows AMP the opportunity to provide specialized musical training to our most talented students. While AMP’s primary efforts are dedicated to making high-quality music education available to all at-risk youth right in their neighborhood, with this grant, we can begin an additional track for gifted students who would not otherwise have the opportunity for advanced musical training,” said Dantes Rameau, the executive director for the Atlanta Music Project. “Children from Atlanta’s most underprivileged neighborhoods can now realize their full musical potential. Our program is giving them confidence, creativity, ambition and a sense of purpose.”

Students entering the Exceptional Student Program will have access to year-round advanced musical offerings in the form of weekly private lessons from AMP’s Teaching Artists, master classes from guest artists, public performances and access to specialty equipment and teaching materials. To be eligible, students must be between the ages of 8 and 18 and continue their normal AMP studies in addition to participating in the Exceptional Student Program’s curriculum.

“Musical talent exists in all communities, but not all communities have the financial resources to nurture that talent to its fullest potential,” said Dr. Lawrence Kutner, the executive director for the Jack Kent Cook Foundation. “Using our Widening the Stage grant, programs like the Atlanta Music Project will give students who have the motivation and aptitude to pursue rigorous music education the pathways to achieve their dreams.”

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s Widening the Stage grant is designed to increase advanced instruction and performance opportunities for talented, low-income students. Other grant recipients included some of the oldest, most prestigious youth music programs in the country including the Merit School of Music in Chicago, the Levine School of Music in Washington, D.C. and the Settlement Music School of Philadelphia.

“The Atlanta Music Project is by far the youngest organization to receive an award, and to be included alongside the most esteemed music programs in the US is truly a testament to our program. The Widening the Stage grant demonstrates the confidence that organizations like the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation have in us to change the lives of low income, at-risk youth here in Atlanta,” said Al Meyers, co-founder and board chairman of the AMP. “This grant is validation that we can change children’s futures through the power of music education. Not only does music education help students have more academic success in school, research shows that it improves emotional and mental wellbeing, and it sets them up to be more successful and productive adults.”

About The Atlanta Music Project

AMPThe Atlanta Music Project is a 501(c)3 organization that provides intense music education for at-risk children right in their neighborhood. The after-school youth orchestra and choir program offers music education 5-days-a-week, 2 hours per day at the Coan Recreation Center in Edgewood and the Gilbert House in Perkerson. There are no auditions and the music education program is free to students – the only requirement to participate is a commitment to attend all classes. Founded in 2010 and modeled on El Sistema, the acclaimed Venezuelan youth Orchestra system that has transformed the lives of over one million children, the Atlanta Music Project encourages social and emotional development, hones academic skills and cultivates musical talents in Atlanta’s most underprivileged youth. For more information about the Atlanta Music Project, visit

About the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation

JKCThe Foundation is a private, independent nonprofit established in 2000 by the estate of Jack Kent Cooke to help exceptional students with financial need reach their full potential through education. Foundation programs include the largest scholarships in the U.S. for community college transfer students, scholarships to college and graduate students, individualized educational support for high school students and grants to organizations that serve high-achieving students with financial need. Reflecting Jack Kent Cooke’s love for the arts, the Foundation has supported talented musicians from limited financial backgrounds through its Graduate Arts Award and scholarship programs including Young Artist Awards given to select pre-collegiate performers on the From the Top classical music radio show.