School budgets often do not include funds to support music education and marching band programs. Band boosters, usually run by parents, work diligently to provide resources and support for a school's marching band. Grants help band boosters provide equipment, uniforms and other resources for a marching band, making up for what a school budget lacks.
Underfunded music programs are eligible to apply for a grant through the Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation. Two different programs are offered for schools. The Melody Program provides grants to Title 1 schools or schools where at least 40 percent of students qualify for free and reduced lunch. Music programs must have been established for at least three years before receiving a grant, and funds are used to repair instruments or purchase new instruments. Through the Michael Kamen Solo Award, students in grades 8 through 12 who have played an instrument for at least five years but are unable to obtain an appropriate instrument of their own are eligible to apply for a grant. Instruments covered by the grant may retail up to $20,000. The amount of each grant and number of grants awarded varies each year.
The Fender Music Foundation offers multiple grants to support music education programs. Music in Schools Today grants support music education programs in the San Francisco Bay Area by providing percussion equipment. Guitars in the Classroom allows school music programs to receive guitars to use as part of in-class or after-school music programs. The foundation also occasionally provides microphone and PA equipment and signed memorabilia that may be auctioned off to raise funds. Equipment grants range from $500 to $5,000.
The Music Matters Grant program, sponsored by the Muzak Heart & Soul Foundation offers grants between $1,000 and $12,000 for music education programs. Public schools that receive Title 1 funding or where at least 70 percent of students receive free or reduced lunch are eligible to apply. The program's needs must be clearly articulated in the grant proposal. Through the Music is Revolution Mini-Grant program, schools are eligible to receive grants up to $500 to purchase sheet music and fund other music education activities.
Band boosters are able to hold their own fundraisers to earn money to provide grants to band members. Candy and T-shirt sales, car washes, spaghetti dinners, and band concerts may be used to raise funds for the band boosters' grant program. Grants may be provided to purchase equipment for students or help students attend out-of-state competitions. Some grant funds may be used to provide small college scholarships for outstanding band members.