The Denyce Graves Foundation Awarded Ford Foundation Funding to Enrich Musical Education for the Next Generation of Young Artists

NEW YORK, April 4, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The Denyce Graves Foundation (DGF) received an unrestricted award of $250,000 from the Ford Foundation to support its mission to shape a more equitable and representative account of American history and offer a brighter future for today’s underrepresented singers. 

"A diverse arts landscape improves the health and cultural vitality of our nation.  The Denyce Graves Foundation’s mission will build bridges, across communities, disciplines, and geographies by using the arts to advance justice, equality, and opportunity," said Ford Foundation president Darren Walker. "Ford Foundation is delighted to support this remarkable artist and her inspired vision."

DGF’s Board Chairman, Virginia McGehee Friend, noted that "this award illuminates the work and research The Denyce Graves Foundation team has done in preparing its programs and in developing a scalable mission that will attract funders such as Ford Foundation.  This award suggests we are on the right track to shape the lives of young artists in the classical music industry."

The Denyce Graves Foundation, which just marked its one-year anniversary, is initiating one of its three signature programs, Shared Voices, this fall.  Shared Voices is designed to create channels of communication between Historically Black Colleges and University Departments of Music and America’s top conservatories and schools of music to enrich the music programs at both institutions.  A cohort of universities and conservatories has already been invited to participate in a pilot experience and the feedback has been enthusiastic.  

DGF Founder and Artistic Director, Denyce Graves, said "Our team just convened its first session of the Shared Voices consortia which include universities, conservatories, and foundation collaborators in preparation to launch the program in the fall semester. This award cannot be timelier, nor can we be more thrilled to see this initiative launched with the generosity of Ford Foundation." 

The Denyce Graves Foundation (DGF) is a nonprofit organization focused on the intersection of social justice, American history, and the arts. Headed by Emmy and Grammy award-winning mezzo-soprano, Denyce Graves, the Foundation seeks to expand our understanding of American history by bringing the stories of our nation’s hidden musical figures to light. By sharing the contributions of the many outstanding musicians of color whose stories have been intentionally extracted from the American narrative, DGF is reclaiming an essential part of our cultural heritage. These trailblazers will be celebrated through community engagement programs on many levels, as well as via social and traditional media, while the Foundation serves as an informational resource and clearinghouse for both scholars and the public.

The Denyce Graves Foundation is a sponsored organization of the New York Foundation for the Arts. 


Melinda N. Gainer (757) 615-2831

SOURCE The Denyce Graves Foundation