The AMG Foundation’s relationship with Ready for Reading began in 2013 when we were introduced to Betsy Dicky, the organization’s founder and Executive Director. At the time Betsy was working to bring opportunity, hope and healing through literacy and community to rural Rwinkwavu, Rwanda by building a Library Learning Center. The AMG Foundation helped to broaden that mission by suggesting the inclusion of a space to house music programming for the local residents. Since this time
The AMG Foundation has funded the building of a dedicated music room, the procurement of program supplies including instruments, the commissioning of consultant Brad MeLaugh to help get the programs up and running and today continues to fund the operations of a thriving set of programs. The music room has become home to Music for Primary Students, Music for Secondary Students, traditional dance groups and traditional Ingoma drumming. There is an on-sight Musical Director, Rwinkwavu native Nzeyimana Kana Yves, who in addition to the set schedule of classes has organized the training of mentors through music and arranges for visiting musicians. Most recently Besty was awarded the Freedom Through Literacy Award from Judith’s Reading Room, and was told that the integration of the music program and its promotion of music as its own form of literacy was one of the deciding factors in the judge’s decision. We are deeply proud to have been a part of the birth of this program and to be able to watch it as it continues to grow.
In 2012 The AMG Foundation was introduced to Anne Fitzgibbons, the founder and Executive Director of The Harmony Program, an intensive musical education program built on the El Systema method of musical education in Venezuela. The goal of the Harmony Program is to provide musical training in an orchestral setting to children from lower income families in the greater New York area.
The AMG Foundation committed to three years of support for a brand new set of students in Washington Heights, making use of the newly refurbished, beautiful United Palace of Cultural Arts. The grant made to the Harmony Program covered the cost of instruments and instrumental training of 25 area students. It was with great pride and pleasure that we watched the students flourish under their training and grow and excel as young, enthusiastic musicians.
In 2015 The AMG Foundation had the opportunity to offer $1000 sponsorships to two graduating seniors from Pierson High School in Sag Harbor, NY. The scholarship aimed to provide financial assistance to students who have shown an aptitude and passion for music and/or the arts and whose aspirations included using these gifts to give back to their communities. We were able to award two very deserving young students and are proud to have been able support the next generation of artists and musicians.
In 2015 the AMG Foundation awarded a two part $3000 grant to East Hampton High School to fund two field trips for its AP Art students. The trip to New York City to visit art museums and galleries had been threatened by budget cuts but the AMG Foundation was able to step in and cover the cost of transportation. The trips took place in the Fall and Spring semesters and after each one students were commissioned to make an original piece of art based on the experience. Those works were subsequently sold in a silent auction fundraiser to help offset the cost of next years trip.
The Children’s Museum of the Arts is a state of the art museum facility that operates with the mission of extending the benefits of the arts to all children and their communities and to secure the future of the arts by inspiring and championing the next generation of artists and art lovers. The ARTogether program is a museum based family support program that aims to help families working to overcome histories and allegations of abuse to rebuild relationships through the use of hands on activities, interactive play, and the individualized guidance of a clinically trained art therapist. Grant funds from the AMG Foundation were used from January 1, 2012 until December 31, 2012 to support the salary of Amanda Talbot, the Fine Arts Senior Managing Teaching Artist, who provided individualized guidance and support for participating families as well as to support a Cantonese speaking social worker or art therapist to engage the Chinese families referred to the program.
The Kingsbridge Heights Community Center was founded in 1947 to provide resources to the residents of the Northwest Bronx and enable them to live better lives. The Arts for Supportive Counseling program aims to provide a safe environment for youth to express themselves through dance, poetry, or literature. Grant funds from The AMG Foundation were used from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012 to support the salary of Sadie Mahoney, Director of Youth Services, as well as the resident poet and dance instructor. The program helped disadvantaged youth to be given an opportunity to channel negative feelings, explore creative skills, develop positive peer relationships, and receive counseling as a way to manifest new coping skills.
The New York Center for Children is an organization founded in 1995 to evaluate, treat and prevent child abuse. The Power of Art program aims to equip the NYCC clinical staff with new techniques to facilitate the healing of children who have experienced the trauma of child abuse. Grant funds from The AMG Foundation were used from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012 for a certified art therapist to conduct trainings and consultations with the staff, and to support Dr. Edward Greenblatt, Director of Therapeutic Services, who coordinated the training sessions. Through these sessions NYCC staff was able to use art therapy techniques to help children develop better communication skills, self esteem, and understanding of their emotions.