RMF’s signature scholarship program made its first award in 1971, which resulted in about a dozen scholarship programs, all on merit, and primarily for high school seniors majoring in music in college. In the 1980s, RMF received its most transformational gift as it became the recipient of a trust from Mrs. Florence Gibbs, which continues to fund the bulk of RMF’s administrative and employee expenses. Because of this gift, RMF was able to increase the number of organizations impacted by its grant program, as well as create RMF-centered programs, including the many outreach programs treasured by the community today.
The early 2000s saw incredible growth of RMF’s Scholarship Program as then-Chair, C. Thomas Work, recognized the value and need for need-sensitive scholarship awards as making music comes with a cost. RMF’s scholarship program of 16 awards quickly doubled, and then tripled by 2015, with more than 60 programs available today to musicians of nearly all ages and music genres.
RMF’s Music Advocacy efforts were initiated in 2010 and continues today. RMF strongly supports music in the schools, by the schools, and through certified music teachers employed directly by the schools. So strongly are school music instruction and ensemble opportunities correlated with persistence in school, college admissions and life skills that their value in the public school curriculum cannot be denied. The contributory value of those experiences is maximized if music instruction is integrated into the curriculum and provided by certified school employees in school facilities. RMF works with area school districts to ensure our area school music programs remain strong and accessible.