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Review for Education Through Music, Inc., New York, NY, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

Working with Education Through Music, Inc. (ETM), so far, has been pure delight. In seeking a non-profit to commit my efforts to, I was looking not just for one with a cause that was meaningful to me and a good track record of service, but a number of additional features that I look for in any group that will bear my name and reputation. I wanted:

(i) a diligent, functional and collegial board that believes in the mission, supports and works seamlessly with the executive staff and is willing to address issues head on, but with creativity and a positive attitude;
(ii) staff members who wake up thrilled to be doing what they are doing, are passionate about their work and who respect their colleagues and the board;
(iii) inspired and nurtured in-the-field staff, who therefore inspire their “consumers”, people who work well as a team and are willing to teach and learn from each other;
(iv) office and field staff who know what they are doing, are well trained and respected in the relevant areas and are committed to excellence;
(v) transparency, accountability and discipline across the board;
plenty of benevolent supervision, monitoring, evaluation, honest and constructive feedback; in sum, quality control;
(vi) longevity of partnerships, success in staff retention;
(vii) thrilled consumers of the service;
(viii) metrics - scientific and anecdotal - of a high quality organization;
a “je ne sais quoi”, “The Buzz” - that sense we all get when we enter an environment - whether it is a community of worship or a company or a sports team, whatever it may be - and we can tell that something exciting, well done, zen is going on here.

I have seen all this at ETM. The Board takes its duties seriously, pays attention to the issues and works well with the executive staff. The highly qualified, very smart administrative and program staff members seem to join and stay on and on - they believe in the mission, see their successes in the communities they serve and enjoy working together. The music teachers are gifted musicians who teach with vim and rigor; they undergo continuing teacher training provided by ETM, are supported and regularly evaluated by ETM and also provide feedback to ETM. The principals and children are energized by the program. ETM has earned a number of awards and quality designations for its work and has managed to grow even in a time of shrinking public budgets and shallow corporate and personal pockets.

ETM is doing something very right and very well. Come see for yourselves. And donate!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

(i) visiting a partner school, talking to the principal, sitting in on music classes; (ii) heard a student choir performance; (iii) participated in teacher training sessions; (iv) read various reports and third party evaluations of the organization; (v) talked extensively with administrative, program staff and music teachers; (vi) participated in board and committee activities.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Extend fundraising outreach, particularly with individuals and corporations.

Role:  Board Member & Board and Committee Duties.