by Jenny Kratz
The Mockingbird Foundation, an online charitable organization dedicated to music education for children, has named Kansas City's Swope Corridor Renaissance/Upper Room Inc. the recipient of a $5,000 grant to be used for staffing and other programing costs in its Swope Music Program. The Mockingbird Foundation was established in 1997 by avid (and generous) fans of the jam band Phish, and it was officially recognized by the band in 2004 when they handed over all of the proceeds from their Livephish downloading service to the foundation.
The Swope Corridor Renaissance/Upper Room Inc. is a program hosted out of a series of churches and community buildings on Swope Parkway (the "Swope Corridor") that works to involve area children in summer program activities such as reading, writing, and even music education. Currently the program enrolls about 2,000 children in its Summer Academic Camps. The money from the Mockingbird Foundation has been slated for staffing and administrative costs, but the funding is all focused to benefit the children (who, according to a Johns Hopkins survey, gained an entire academic year of reading during last summer's eight-week program).
Swope Corridor's grant is part of a series of national grants that the Mockingbird Foundation dished out in celebration of its 14th anniversary. Other cities that received grants include the Bay Area's Girls Rock Summer Camp, the Brooklyn Community Arts & Media High School's Beats Music Program, and Step by Step Inc.'s Rock Camp 4 Girls Appalachia in Charleston, West Virginia. The foundation has provided $650,000 in music education grants to date.