Settlement Music School is one of the country's oldest and largest community music schools, founded in 1908. Today, the organization has six locations and annually serves 6,000 children across Philadelphia, in addition to offering adult instruction. Although founded primarily to benefit school-aged children, Settlement developed a conservatory offering pre-professional training that, in 1924, became the Curtis Institute of Music. With Center support in 2013, the organization worked with community advocates and created classes and performances to specifically meet the needs of audiences in the surrounding neighborhoods of the school’s branches. A 2017 Advancement grant supports the development of new curricula, teaching methods, and communications strategies to enhance learning and attract and retain students.
With the oncoming retirement of its long-serving director Robert Capanna in 2009, Settlement Music School faced a challenge. Capanna had led the school for over 30 years, during a period of dramatic expansion. Already a complex organization, with six satellite branches and a diverse range of programming, Settlement needed to prepare for organizational change and to find a CEO who could lead the organization into a new era. Center grant support allowed Settlement to hire a nationally recognized consulting firm to conduct a search for a new executive director, as well as support for interim senior leadership during the search and transition process. The process made for an orderly and strategic leadership transition, throughout which Settlement maintained its high-quality programs, strengthened its capacity, and embraced the future. [fn]Management grants, through the Philadelphia Cultural Management Initiative, were awarded from 2009 through 2013.[/fn]