The Best Buy Foundation has awarded the Housing Authority of the City of Austin’s (HACA) nonprofit subsidiary Austin Pathways a $6,000 Community Grant to support the Digital Opportunities for Music Education program at a public housing property that serves 576 residents in southwest Austin.
The funds will be used to purchase music equipment in the audio recording room at HACA’s Henry Flores Education and Training Center, a state-of-the-art facility that opened at Meadowbrook Apartments in November 2014. Grounded in Music – a local nonprofit organization whose mission is to leverage the power of music to transform lives by creating self-confidence, opportunity and hope – will provide in-kind services to mentor youth and develop their musical talents.
“We are excited and honored to receive this Best Buy Foundation grant,” said HACA President and CEO Michael Gerber. “This award will help transform an empty room into a vibrant media and music lab for our youth, teaching and inspiring the next generation of artists right here in the live music capital of the world.”
The program will consist of three core components, including spring and summer sessions. During each session, Grounded in Music instructors will provide professional guidance and training in computer-based music production — as well as instrument training in electric drums, guitars and keyboards — to youth for two hours a day, three days a week. All instructors will be professional musicians handpicked to guide economically disadvantaged students.
Students will also be tasked with planning and implementing a performance at the conclusion of the fall and spring sessions to showcase their newly developed musical skills and talents to the community. The events will be held at an outdoor amphitheater at Meadowbrook.
“Grounded in Music is thrilled to aid in the creation of the new production studio facility at the Meadowbrook Henry Flores Education and Training Center,” said Grounded in Music Executive Director Michael Longoria. “Music has slowly been put aside in schools systems which has created a hole for artistic creation, exploration and education. Music has many benefits which help individuals build strong character, including better memorization, increased coordination, sense of achievement, development of creative thinking, teamwork and hope.”
The Best Buy Foundation donation is made possible through the contributions of Best Buy Co., Inc. retail store operations and special event fundraising. The foundation’s primary goal is to provide underserved teens with technology programs to help develop 21st century skills and bridge the digital divide.
Austin Pathways and HACA are also committed to funding and sustaining effective digital inclusion programming. The agency’s digital inclusion initiative, Unlocking the Connection, includes a consortium of community partners that will connect more than 4,300 public housing residents with free basic broadband Internet, digital literacy training and refurbished personal computers.