CMA Foundation Award Winners

music education       country music


The Country Music Association (CMA) Foundation understands the need to create advocacy resources at the state level. Guided by the generosity of the country music community, the CMA Foundation focuses on improving and sustaining music education programs everywhere while supporting worthwhile causes important to the Country Music Association. Since its inception, the CMA Foundation has given more than $20 million to organizations enhancing the lives of students through the power of music.

CMA has collaborated with NAfME to administer the State Music Education Association Advocacy Grants. The goals of these grants are to support the work of our federated music education associatons (MEAs) by augmenting existing advocacy initiatives and creating new advocacy opportunities. 

In 2022, three state MEAs were awarded grants to aid their advocacy efforts:

Kansas | Louisiana | New Jersey

Kansas Music Educators Association

Kansas Music Educators Association will develop a grassroots campaign for the “full” inclusion of music education in the Kansas curriculum with a primary goal of educating the public on the importance of music in a child’s education.

Louisiana Music Educators Association

To address the lack of funding for music as part of a well-rounded education, especially in rural areas, Louisiana Music Educators Association will hold its first Hill Day with state legislators and strengthen relationships with state organizations representing principals, superintendents, and school boards.

New Jersey Music Educators Association

New Jersey Music Educators Association will be creating a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access survey to better understand community needs in providing all students with access to a viable, sequential, and enduring arts program in their public schools.

In 2021, three state MEAs were awarded grants to aid their advocacy efforts:

Georgia | Louisiana | Virginia

Georgia Music Educators Association 

Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA) seeks funding to develop a Georgia Music Advocacy Corps (GMAC) that will consist of members from the fourteen geographical districts of the state. GMAC will work with district leaders to stay abreast of advocacy issues and champion change at the state and local level. Funds will also go to strengthening GMEA’s relationship with Georgia’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

Louisiana Music Educators Association 

Louisiana Music Educators Association (LMEA) seeks funding to assist in a targeted campaign to bring awareness to existing music education programs in the state. LMEA will use funds to build strong relationships with the Louisiana Association of Principals and Association of Superintendents and other educational decision-makers in Louisiana.

Virginia Music Educators Association

Virginia Music Educators Association (VMEA) is seeking funds to elevate the connection between VMEA members and Virginia legislators. Utilizing a newly created digital platform and VMEA All-State events, VMEA seeks to cultivate strong relationships with legislators to enact their legislative agenda.

In 2020, three state MEAs were awarded grants to aid their advocacy efforts:

North Dakota | North Carolina | Kansas

North Dakota Music Educators Association

The NDMEA will apply grant funds toward forming its own statewide Advocacy Leadership Force, modeled after the NAfME ALF. This group of members will be dedicated to specific advocacy tasks by being strategically located throughout the state in both rural and urban schools. The initial makeup of NDMEA ALF will equally represent each of the 6 legislative regions in the state of North Dakota. This group of music educators will be mobilized to quickly respond to state and local advocacy needs, such as coordinating letter writing to legislators and other local stakeholders at the local, state, and national levels.

North Carolina Music Educators Association

The NCMEA will apply funding towards supporting advocacy training across their membership and bringing the training to the members where they are, not making the training one size fits all. The vastness of North Carolina’s geography poses an obstacle to our educators in the neediest communities being able to attend state-level training. Reducing obstacles in advocacy training and scaffolding a support framework is critical to engaging and maintaining knowledgeable advocates for the future of our profession. NCMEA will improve their efforts by providing music educators with resources such as articles, training, and webinars on topics relating to working in and supporting diverse populations, as well as inclusive practices in music education and social-emotional learning (SEL) as they relate to music education.

Kansas Music Educators Association

KMEA will utilize the funds to expand their Music Advocacy Day at the State Capitol in Topeka. This grant will help provide support to expand the area of the Capitol used to invite KMEA Leadership to create a booth to provide information to Kansas legislators, and will help expand the budget to make these resources accessible to all legislators. They also plan to utilize funding to bring a recording artist to their Advocacy Day, as well as design and purchase promotional materials for the event.

In 2019, five state MEAs were awarded grants to aid their advocacy efforts:

Wisconsin | Nebraska | Nevada | Kansas | West Virginia 

Wisconsin Music Educators Association

The WMEA plans to use the grant funds to establish an active Wisconsin diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) committee that can work with teachers to provide opportunities and create conditions to examine the diversity of membership, the systemic barriers to inclusion, and equity in access to opportunities for students across rural, suburban, and urban settings in the state. This committee will provide teachers with access to better materials and mentorship opportunities that support them both in the classroom and in conversations with their colleagues and school leaders.

Nebraska Music Education Association

The NMEA plans to use this funding to create its first Hill Day event in March of 2020 to coincide with the existing Capitol Concert Series. For this inaugural Hill Day, they envision training sessions and utilizing primarily Collegiate Membership at universities and colleges within the state. NMEA will also utilize this funding to create and record professional development workshops that can be placed on the NMEA website for teachers to access for local in-service days and training.

Nevada Music Educators Association

The Nevada MEA plans to use this funding to begin a new advocacy campaign, which will consist of creating guiding and educational advocacy documents, establishing a mentor program, and expanding their Hill Day program. NVMEA would also like to send collegiate members to the NAfME Collegiate Advocacy Summit and bring a 250-voice All-State Choir to the Nevada Assembly to perform for members of the Nevada legislature for Hill Day.

Kansas Music Educators Association

KMEA will use grant funding to develop a new digitally enhanced advocacy website, expanding on the “Advo Angle” campaign to create a comprehensive advocacy resource for members. The new website will include an advocacy teaching video series, quotes and testimonies, and other educational and presentation resources for members to use as advocates for music education.

West Virginia Music Educators Association

The WVMEA will apply grant funds toward forming its own statewide Advocacy Leadership Force, modeled after the NAfME ALF. WVMEA leadership will select eight applicants from different geographic regions of the state, who would then be trained on state advocacy and act at the state’s standing grassroots advocacy network. WV ALF representatives will delve deeper into current state education policy, communicate with other advocacy professionals, and act as “boots on the ground” for WVMEA advocacy initiatives.


In 2018, 10 state MEAs were awarded grants to aid their advocacy efforts:

California | Delaware | Florida | Massachusetts | Michigan | Minnesota | Missouri | North Carolina | Washington | West Virginia

California Music Educators Association

The CMEA application contemplates using the grant funds to establish a Parent Advocacy Seminar at the California All-State Music Education Conference and to expand its “JAM! Just Add Music” program. The Parent Advocacy Seminar is aimed at teaching advocacy skills to parents. “JAM! Just Add Music” is intended to help generalist classroom teachers implement music lessons in their classes, and to teach them how to advocate for music education. 

Delaware Music Educators Association

The DMEA plans on using the grant funds to develop surveys, collect and analyze the survey data, and develop marketing and advocacy materials for distribution to the Delaware families. Data will center around inequities in music education from school district to school district. The funds will also be used to bring ensembles to the “March for the Arts” event at the state capitol. This was only application dedicating the majority of time and funds toward data and analysis. 

Florida Music Education Association, Inc.

FMEA plans to use the grant funds to produce videos that will, among other things, promote its advocacy agenda and its Collegiate Education Day at the Capitol. The videos will also enable members to “click-through” to contact legislators directly. The videos will serve to advocate executive branch and legislative officials at the state level. Major social media platforms will also be used to spread their message. 

Massachusetts Music Educators Association

MMEA intends to use the grant funds to develop marketing and informational materials that will be posted social media and used in meetings with federal, state and local legislators. Materials will be used to support the organization’s engagement with public officials. 

Michigan Music Education Association

MMEA wishes to use the grant funds to develop videos that will be used for many purposes, including website and other social media posts, sharing with legislators and policy makers during advocacy days, and inclusion in advocacy materials. Videos will be distributed in-person to legislators as well as to advocates through social media.

Minnesota Music Educators Association

MMEA will use the funds to address the disparity of access to music education for minority students. They intend to pilot a program focusing on aural musicianship at two secondary schools that primarily serve disadvantaged and low-income students. The funds will support and advisory group that will create learning units which include composition, arranging and covering music in another genre, and drumming in culturally responsive music genres.

Missouri Music Educators Association

MMEA intends to use the grant funds to retain consultants who can assist with advocacy development. Their plan is to develop the following: advocacy goals, a support network of music education advocates, advocacy materials to advance its legislative agenda, and a training program for Advocacy Day at the state capitol.

North Carolina Music Educators Association

NCMEA will use the grant funds for its 2018 Advocacy Summit and the 2019 Concerts at the Capitol and Hill Day. The former will focus on teaching members how to advocate on the local, state and national level. The latter will involve members and other music advocates meeting with state legislators regarding the importance of music education.   

Washington Music Educators Association

WMEA wishes to use the grant funds to sponsor its Collegiate Hill Day activities, including advocacy training for participants. Hill day will include collegiate members, board members and WMEA staff members meeting with state legislators and Department of Education staff. 

West Virginia Music Educators Association

WVMEA contemplates using the grant funds to cover the costs of a Hill Day in Charleston during which its board members will meet with legislators. As a part of this effort, WVMEA staff will communicate with legislators in advance of the meetings and will follow-up with those legislators interested in music initiatives.