Ford Foundation Awards $200,000 to Musical Bridges Around the World

Submitted by rudyarispe on January 28, 2021 - 12:11pm
Photo of the Kids to Concerts celebration showing children

Musical Bridges Around the World (MBAW) recently received a $200,000 grant from The Ford Foundation to support the organization’s various music programs that benefit seniors, adult and children’s audiences alike.

MBAW is a nonprofit arts organization that transform lives through multicultural performing and visual arts by shattering barriers, creating connectivity and inspiring hope for those with the least access. Its public programs, such as the Russell Hill Rogers Musical Evenings at San Fernando Cathedral and Kids to Concerts, among others, reached more than 25,500 people last season free of charge.

“We are so grateful for the generous support of The Ford Foundation for this substantial gift that will allow Musical Bridges Around the World to continue to offer important programming to the public, especially during these trying times when many nonprofits around the nation are dealing with budget challenges,” said Anya Grokhovski, MBAW artistic director & CEO.

This special grant, which is approved for a two-year period, is part of the Foundation’s initiative to build resilience in the nonprofit sector and stabilize and strengthen key nonprofit organizations, as stated in an award letter.

Dr. Francisco Cigarroa, M.D., Chair of The Ford Foundation Board of Trustees, said he has been impressed for years by the level of MBAW’s operations and programming, including the annual International Music Festival and, most recently, the 2020 Gurwitz International Piano Competition. “With great respect and appreciation for thinking of us at Ford Foundation,” Dr. Cigarroa said.

Ford Foundation President Darren Walker added, “We are thrilled to be able to support the great work of Musical Bridges Around the World.”

MBAWs mission is to transform lives through multicultural performing and visual arts by shattering barriers, creating connectivity and inspiring hope for those with least access, Grokhovski added. MBAW serves the public and disadvantaged communities, while fostering San Antonio’s reputation as a cosmopolitan cultural center and promoting tourism.

Seven core programs reach underserved populations in San Antonio including:

  • Musical Evenings at San Fernando Cathedral: a free concert series held on select Sunday evenings in the heart of historic downtown.
  • Kids to Concerts: a community engagement program that introduces children grades K-12 in Title 1 schools annually to faraway cultures through music and dance.
  • Musical Sprouts: an original educational program measuring the impact of STEAM (STEM + Art = STEAM) curricula taught using music and art in partnership with the University of Texas at San Antonio.
  • Golden Age: provides outstanding musical performances to seniors 60+, many of whom suffer from neurological disorders, including dementia.
  • International Music Festival: an annual multi-week and multi-venue performance series featuring world-class artists in thought-provoking pairings designed to challenge mass media stereotypes that are too often the only exposure people have to foreign lands. The 2019 International Music Festival attracted attendees from all corners of San Antonio, 26 states and six countries.
  • The Gurwitz International Piano Competition: In 2017, MBAW absorbed San Antonio’s International Piano Competition. The 2020 competition was the first under MBAW’s direction with both in person attendees and live stream audiences from 48 United States and 25 nations across the globe.
  • The Art Gallery: presents new exhibits of local and international artists quarterly, and participates in city-wide art events including FotoSeptiembre and Contemporary Arts Month. About 300 to 500 attendees enjoy live art openings each year.

Grokhovski said MBAW’s mission addresses multiple needs including fulfilling a lack of high- quality performing arts offered free to the public; the need to improve learning outcomes for underprivileged youth, who are overrepresented in area schools; the need for safe, accessible and recreational activities with proven mental health and quality of life benefits for seniors; and the need to represent the full diversity of the city. For more information,

About The Ford Foundation

We are guided by a vision of social justice—a world in which all individuals, communities, and peoples work toward the protection and full expression of their human rights; are active participants in the decisions that affect them; share equitably in the knowledge, wealth, and resources of society; and are free to achieve their full potential. Across eight decades, our mission has been to reduce poverty and injustice, strengthen democratic values, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. For more information, visit