MILWAUKEE (March 26, 2015) - Music is a natural and important part of a young child's development, helping to fine tune language skills and promote intellectual and emotional bonding with peers. With increasing budget cuts, however, schools continue to cut back on essential art programming needed to provide a well-rounded and holistic education. Summerfest Foundation, Inc. recognizes the positive effect music education has on the quality of all children's lives and that's why the Music Education Grants program was developed to support in-school, after-school and summer education progrms in instrumental music. Over the next year, the program will provide $30,000 in grants to music educators.

The goal of the Music Education Grants program is to enhance opportunities for students who may have no exposure to instrumental music or those who may require advanced instruction which is currently unavailable to them. From now until May 1, 2015, Summerfest Foundation, Inc. is accepting applications for Music Educations Grants, up to $5,000, through Qualifying applicants must be non-profit organizations with IRS 501 (c)(3) status or K-12 schools located in Southeastern Wisconsin. Individuals and commercial organizations are not eligible.

"Music education programs are critical in helping youth develop discipline and creativity and unfortunately, many quality programs in our area are in need of funding," stated Don Smiley, President of Summerfest Foundation, Inc. "This new Music Education Grants program will help dedicated educators further their efforts in teaching music students and demonstrates our commitment to youth, educators and music in Southeastern Wisconsin."

Funding for proposed activities will occur between June 1, 2015 and May 31, 2016. Grant applications and guidelines are available at Although online applications are preferred, submissions may also be made by mail, hand delivery or private carrier.

Summerfest Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)(3) charitable corporation, was formed in June 2011 to support the initiatives of Milwaukee World Festival, Inc., which include charitable and educational purposes, and providing a showcase for the performing arts. Each year, Summerfest Foundation, Inc. produces various events and programs designed to raise awareness and funding, as well as other benefits for its mission and other charitable partners. Events have included the Summerfest Rock 'n Sole Run and Big Gig Dress Rehearsal, which both select charitable partners to share in the proceeds for each event. Other programs have included music education initiatives, such as Summerfest's Big Band Camp, which provides a FREE day-long, hands-on educational experience and music clinics, as well as the newly developed Music Education Grants program, which helps provide funds for music educators and music programs.