Charitable Arm of the Academy of Country Music Gives $261,825 to Twenty-Five Beneficiaries

ENCINO, CA (December 7, 2017) – ACM Lifting Lives® announced its 2017 fall grant cycle beneficiaries today with grants totaling more than $260,000 for a selection of organizations including Barefoot Republic, Inc., Camp Sunshine Inc., COPD Foundation, CreatiVets, El Paso Symphony Orchestra Assn., Inc., Every Child Counts, Follow Your Heart Arts Program, Inc., Foundations of Music, Girls Rock Santa Barbara, High Hopes Development Center, Legacy Music Alliance, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Middle Tennessee State University Foundation, Music for Seniors, Music Mends Minds, Musicians on Call, Nashville Songwriters Foundation, Inc., Operation Song, Peggy R. McConnell Arts Center of Washington, Porter’s Call, Rocketown of Middle Tennessee, St. Anna's Episcopal Church, Tennessee Alliance for Kids, The Quest Center for Art & Community Development and Vanderbilt Kennedy Center. Partnerships with artists and generous giving from fans and the Nashville community enable ACM Lifting Lives to provide funding to organizations that share the same mission, and strive to improve lives through the power of music.

“ACM Lifting Lives is honored to have such amazing support from artists, industry members and fans, and that allows us to continuously increase the amount of beneficiaries we are able to help support every year.” said ACM Lifting Lives Chairman Debbie Carroll.

Programs funded through this grant cycle include:

  • Barefoot Republic, Inc. – Barefoot Republic serves more than 2,100 youth through Day Camp, Overnight Camp, and year-round service, learning and performance opportunities in Kentucky, Tennessee, and California. Approximately one-third of campers participate in music programming. In 2018, offering will expand to include Day Camp in Compton. Funds from this grant will be used to assist with costs of opening the new camp and will allow 10 disadvantaged youth to attend the camp for free.

  • Camp Sunshine Inc – Camp Sunshine enriches the lives of Georgia's children with cancer and their families through year-round recreational, educational and support programs. This grant will support the Music Program, with the funds being used directly to pay for the musician hired for 2 weeks of summer camp, for the purchase of new musical instruments and equipment, and to hire musicians for 2 weeks of Sunshine 2U - a hospital program for children too ill to leave the hospital setting.

  • COPD Foundation – The COPD Foundation and PEP (Pulmonary Empowerment Program) have established Harmonicas for Health, the first nationwide harmonica program created especially for individuals with COPD and other chronic lung diseases. Funds from this grant will go toward supporting this program.

  • CreatiVets – CreatiVets provides combat veterans struggling with PTSD and traumatic brain injury with opportunities to use music, art and writing to heal their unseen wounds of war. This grant will be used to support the Combat Veteran Songwriting Program and to create a compilation CD of songs written in the program to distribute to other veterans recovering in hospitals, VA clinics, and other Veteran Service Organizations.

  • El Paso Symphony Orchestra Assn., Inc. The El Paso Symphony Orchestra has partnered with the El Paso Independent School District to provide a free after-school music program five days a week in one of the poorest and least educated neighborhoods in the country, with 60% of households below the poverty level, 70% not completing high school, 95% Hispanic, and 56% speaking little or no English. Funds from this grant will support the El Paso program, which serves an elementary school and plans to expand to a middle school this year.

  • Every Child Counts – Located in the Bahamas, Every Child Counts is a special needs school that provides education for children with learning, developmental or physical disabilities to maximize each child's ability to become a productive, successful and independent citizen. Funds from this grant will help support the school’s music programs.

  • Follow Your Heart Arts Program, Inc. – The Follow Your Heart Arts Program provides music education opportunities in the hometown of country music artist Charlie Worsham in rural Mississippi. Funds will be used to purchase 30 guitars for guitar lessons, to begin a songwriting program for at-risk youth, to conduct field trips to the GRAMMY Museum Mississippi, and to advocate for music education by sharing the success of the program with key state and national representatives

  • Foundations of Music Foundations of Music brings music education to underserved classrooms and communities across Chicago. Funds will be used to support its Songwriting/Production Program for students in grades 6-8, which teaches students to write and produce original rap/hip-hop songs.
  • Girls Rock Santa Barbara – Girls Rock Santa Barbara empowers girls through music education.  This sleep away camp includes instrument lessons, forming a band, collaboratively writing an original song, participating in workshops, recording in a professional studio, and performing with their band at a live showcase event.  The grant funding will support program costs and scholarships.

  • High Hopes Development Center – The High Hopes Development Center is a pre-school with on-site pediatric clinic, serving children with special needs and long-term disabilities alongside their typically-developing peers. The Center offers a Music Enrichment Program for 148 preschoolers, 60% of whom are typically-developing and 40% having special needs. Funds will be used to assist with music teacher salary, instruments, and curriculum.

  • Legacy Music Alliance – Legacy Music Alliance provides children access to music education through its Instruments to Schools Program, which repaired 1,332 instruments used in schools last year, and its Clinicians in the Classroom program, which conducted 300 hours of in-classroom music lessons taught by professional musicians. Funds from this grant will be used to support these programs in an economically disadvantaged school district, continuing the work started with last year's Lifting Lives grant.
  • Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra – The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra is in its 27th season, and in addition to performing concerts, it provides education and community engagement programming. The Orchestra’s Soul Strings program uses the talents of orchestra members to increase the quality of life for people with developmental disabilities through music therapy. Funds from this grant will be used to provide 17 weeks of music therapy to 20 seniors with dementia and cognitive disorders. 

  • Middle Tennessee State University Foundation – Middle Tennessee State University Foundation had received a grant to support the 'Music Row Murfreesboro' program - launched in the spring 2016 with ACM LL grant money. This enhanced curriculum is within MTSU's Commercial Songwriting concentration.  Each semester, invited industry professionals came to campus to lecture and interact with students in a weekly three-hour class. Fund from this grant will go to continuing the program, covering travel stipends, studio times, music supplies, and Songspace memberships for each of the students.

  • Music for Seniors – Music for Seniors connects area musicians with older adults through live and interactive programs designed to engage, entertain and educate seniors, by 1) delivering programs to groups in recreational and care settings, 2) offering public daytime concerts at accessible venues, and 3) teaching group classes in instrument and vocal performance. Funds will be used to provide Music-Making Kits to utilize during outreach, reaching 435 individuals with dementia.

  • Music Mends Minds – Music Mends Minds is a non-profit organization founded to serve seniors and patients afflicted with PTSD, cognitive decline, and neurodegenerative disease, by building musical support groups. It currently consists of a network of seven bands of musicians who are affected by these conditions. Funds from this grant will be used to create five new bands in five additional communities in Southern California, and to hire a part-time music therapist to work with them, reaching at least 525 additional patients, caregivers, community volunteers, and/or community members.

  • Musicians On Call – Musicians On Call brings live and recorded music to the bedsides of patients across the country. The Bedside Performance Program enlists local volunteer musician to give in-room performances to patients who are unable to leave their hospital beds, serving over 600,000 individuals to date. Funds will be used to support the development of in two new expansion markets, Boston and Dallas, growing the program infrastructure to reach thousands more patients.

  • Nashville Songwriters Foundation, Inc. – The Nashville Songwriters Foundation owns the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, launched The Songwriters TV show on Nashville Public Television, and operates an after-school songwriting program for middle school students called Express Yourself. Funds will be used to expand the Express Yourself program to two additional schools and will finance the stipend for a weekly Song Coach, refreshments, and teaching supplies.

  • Operation Song Inc. – Operation Song will use funds from this grant for a 10-week songwriting program open to veterans and active duty military who suffer from service related issues and injuries. Two professional songwriters, along with a qualified therapist, will lead a weekly 2-hour group of 4-6 participants, to share their stories with their peers and have their experiences and emotions validated, culminating in a professionally co-written and recorded song, and a performance for family and friends.

  • Peggy R. McConnell Arts Center of Worthington – The Peggy R. McConnell Arts Center of Worthington is a contemporary, multidisciplinary facility presenting and promoting the performing, visual and digital arts. Through their television program, Songs at the Center, which is nationally distributed by American Public Television, the half hour TV series features songwriters performing in an in-the-round format. Grant funds will be used to produce two shows that focus on 'Music and Healing'.

  • Porter's Call – Porter’s Call serves recording artists and their families by providing them with counsel, support, and encouragement to deal with issues off-stage. The staff currently sees 30 plus artists and/or spouses per week, often referred by record companies. Funds will be used toward counseling hours, so they can continue to offer counseling free of charge to artists and expand available hours.

  • Rocketown of Middle Tennessee – Rocketown of Middle Tennessee offers out-of-school enrichment and youth development programs, youth arts initiatives, intramural sports and sporting events, youth ministry and outreach programs, and attraction based activities and services. Funds from this grant will be used to expand key partnerships with audio departments at public high schools to provide skill development within the field of audio production.

  • St. Anna's Episcopal Church – Anna's Place NOLA's mission is to promote healing and wholeness of body, mind and spirit in the Treme/7th Ward and Greater New Orleans community by offering academic, cultural and arts enrichment, holistic healthcare and healthy lifestyle education.  Funds will go to oversee the coordination of activities between the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and the Loyola Music Therapy Department, as well as teach clarinet, vocal music and Project Learning.  It will also purchase instruments and repair costs for existing instruments.

  • Tennessee Alliance for Kids – Tennessee Alliance for Kids serves as a liaison between the faith-based community and the State of Tennessee with the goal of meeting the immediate needs of children and youth currently in foster care and those aging out of the system. Funds from this grant will be used to start a marching band to motivate students in the Metro School area to help them discover musical talents and to possibly provide them opportunities for college scholarships.

  • The Quest Center for Art & Community Development – The Quest Center is a non-profit music education and resource center with year-round instrument instruction and music education programs serving children grades 4-12, including those with special needs.  No child is turned away for financial reasons.  Funds will go direct to operating costs year-round.
  • Vanderbilt Kennedy Center – The grant will support the organization’s existing mission to facilitate discoveries and best practices that make positive differences in the lives of persons with developmental disabilities and their families through innovative research, services, and training for over 50 years.

For information on guidelines and applications for grants, or to support ACM Lifting Lives’ causes, please visit

About ACM Lifting Lives®

ACM Lifting Lives® is the philanthropic arm of the Academy of Country Music dedicated to improving lives through the power of music. Through partnerships with artists and strong ties in the music industry, ACM Lifting Lives develops and funds music-related therapy and education programs, and serves members of the community who face unexpected hardships through its Diane Holcomb Emergency Relief Fund. Through generous donations and the support of artists and fans, ACM Lifting Lives is able to fund everything from disaster relief and helping communities in need, to music education in schools and music camps for those with disabilities, to supporting programs that use music therapy as a means to help our veterans and wounded warriors, while providing grants to help them ease back into life. For more information, please visit


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Academy of Country Music

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