About RMF

RMF history

Established nearly 100 years ago by a team of local music enthusiasts who recognized the importance of ensuring our community’s cultural health, RMF has been supporting music education, preservation, and local music presenters since its inception.

The Reading Musical Foundation (RMF) was founded in 1926 when financial crisis threatened the existence of the 13-year-old Reading Symphony Orchestra and the Reading Choral Society that had been providing choral music events for nearly 51 years. Incorporated in 1927, the foundation was established through the efforts of Mr. Jerre H. Barr and fourteen other interested men and women from Reading. Its mission was to provide adequate community support for the major musical organizations in Reading. At that time, it was also proposed that the group work to establish a series of free public band concerts and assist in furthering musical education and appreciation in the schools. Working mainly from their living rooms, this group of professionals and area businesspersons raised $30,000 to form the core of the RMF endowment.

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.

RMF today

RMF believes that every child who wishes to be a musician should have the opportunity to do so. In addition to building a lifelong appreciation of the arts, music teaches necessary skills that build creativity, discipline, self-perseverance, self-expression and teamwork. We also believe live music performance makes our community stronger by connecting individuals and making Greater Reading attractive to those in our region and beyond.

Our annual efforts to support music education and appreciation include:

  • Investing more than $200,000 each year in scholarships for Berks County student musicians, with awards responding to financial need outweighing audition-based awards.
  • Support area music education and appreciation programs with more than $300,000 in program grants to two dozen local music organizations.
  • Advocating for Berks County’s strong music network, from strengthening the capacity of school music programs to economic development found in the arts as well as community access to concerts and ensembles.
  • Ensuring quality instruments are available to students, regardless of their ability to afford them, through Operation Replay, RMF’s instrument recycling program sponsored by Zeswitz Music.

Staff & board of trustees

  • Keri Shultz, President Email Keri

  • Mike Buterbaugh, Education Advisor Email Mike

  • Loretta Campbell, Bookkeeper
  • Taylor Clarkin, Communications Associate


  • Bruce P. Bengtson
  • Donald C. Bristol
  • John T. Connelly
  • Bruce L. Dietrich
  • Robert R. Kreitz, Esq.
  • Eric Moyer
  • Dr. Thomas B. Souders
  • C. Thomas Work, Esq.
  • Peter N. Zacharias


  • Michael D. Anderson
  • Martha Aynardi, Ph.D., Vice Chair of Finance
  • Virginia Dodge
  • Lewis D. Freeman, III
  • Kent Gutzler
  • Tim Haynes, Assistant Treasurer
  • Sandra B. Kern, D.Ed, Secretary
  • David L. Kline, Assistant Secretary
  • Stephanie Kocher
  • Paul G. Oxholm, Chair
  • Fran Post
  • Timothy J. Simmons, CPA, Treasurer
  • Srividya Sridhar, Vice Chair of Programs
  • Rick Tomlinson

  • Jamie Thompson
  • Kim Webster