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MECU Pledges $200,000 for New Arts Every Day Initiatives

BALTIMORE–MECU has pledged $50,000 in annual funding for the next four years to support the launch of two new Arts Every Day initiatives  in Baltimore– the Arts Challenge Fund and the MECU Music Ed/Remix. The objective is to enhance arts education for students in Baltimore City Public Schools in a time when budgets for arts disciplines are declining nationwide, the credit union said.

“To further our strong commitment to Baltimore City Public Schools and to support arts education, we are proud to collaborate with Arts Every Day,” said John Hamilton, president and CEO of MECU. “We know exposing our students to art and culture helps to foster creative thinking skills leading to higher achievement and personal growth, areas that Arts Every Day’s work emphasizes, which makes them a fantastic partner.”

Arts Every Day (AED) is a non-profit that aims to make arts education and cultural experiences an integral part of classroom instruction for all preK-12 students in Baltimore City Public Schools. Founded in 2006, the organization funds more than 250 arts programs, impacts over 22,000 students and 1,200 educators, and promotes more than 500 teaching artists and arts each year.

MECU said its annual contribution will help establish the Arts Challenge Fund, designed to incentivize Baltimore City Public Schools principals to expand and sustain arts instruction. For the 2018-19 school year, the Arts Challenge Fund will match up to $1,000 of a principal’s spending on arts materials, instruments, instrument repair, and equipment. In future years, MECU and AED aim to grow the fund through added support from Baltimore-area businesses and advocates for the arts.

‘Considerable Leadership’

“MECU is demonstrating considerable leadership in establishing the Arts Challenge Fund and in approaching other corporate partners who can provide additional support,” said Julia Di Bussolo, executive director of Arts Every Day. “We hope that the Fund will serve as an incentive for expanding arts instruction across Baltimore City Public Schools.”

In addition, MECU will be the exclusive sponsor of MECU Music Ed/Remix, a new program that will enable local musicians to collaborate with Baltimore City Public Schools students on original works, record those compositions, and stage two performances over a single school year.

As Baltimore City’s largest credit union, MECU said it is committed to supporting the community by lifting up non-profit agencies in their quest to improve the quality of life for City residents. 

Increased Student Engagement

“Research has consistently shown that comprehensive arts education increases student engagement, empowerment, self-expression, creativity, and academic achievement,” the credit union said.

Baltimore City Public Schools includes 172 schools and programs serving 79,287 students, but fewer than 20% of those students are enrolled in both visual art and music, MECU noted. “Improving music, visual art, theater, dance, and media arts instruction and access will help students develop into more well-rounded individuals and prepare them for college and/or careers,” MECU added.

Public schools in Baltimore City can now apply for up to $1,000 in arts-specific matching funds for the 2018-19 school year.


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