With counties looking to
cut costs, alternative ways to find revenue are always encouraged. In Allegheny
County, Pa. the alternative comes in the form of a concert.
Since 2000, the Allegheny County Music Festival Fund
(ACMFF) has raised more than $559,000, of which nearly $392,000 has been used
to date to enhance and improve the lives of more than 2,300 children. It has
provided youths receiving services through the county’s Department of Human
Services and the juvenile court with life-enriching opportunities otherwise
unavailable through traditional government funding.
The fund has supported
such experiences including:
a week of “live-in” summer camp for at-risk
youths to allow them to engage in healthy activities outside their neighborhood
Click here for more information on the Music Festival Fund
Some other counties with Music Festivals funding programs and services:
Rabun County, Ga. Music Festival (funds student scholarships)
Whatcom County, Wash. Bellingham Festival (funds county music programs)
lessons in dance, karate and music, and other
positive outlets for self-expression for a child who is living in a homeless
shelter with his or her mother to escape domestic violence
the opportunity for a child receiving mental
health services to spend quality time with his or her family at the Pittsburgh
Zoo and PPG Aquarium, one of the four Carnegie Museums or the National Aviary,
the opportunity for a young man or woman,
transitioning into adulthood, to attend a college tour.
The festival has
included a variety of musical acts from David Crosby and Don McLean to Los
Lobos and Rusted Root, composed of Allegheny County natives.
ACMFF was founded by
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Max Baer and Department of Human Services
Director Marc Cherna.
“This is a great program
worthy of being shared and adopted by others throughout the country,” Baer
said. “This program helps fund services where government funding can come up
Funding primarily comes
from the proceeds of two annual events, the Allegheny County Music Festival at
Hartwood Acres Park (suggested donation of $20 per car) and Candidates’ Comedy
Night at the Pittsburgh Improv (tables of 8 range from $500–$750). The
fund is also supplemented through philanthropic contributions and other benefit
The distribution of
ACMFF funds is overseen by an independent Advisory Committee chaired by Cherna.
The committee consists of professionals from the public and private sectors in
child welfare, juvenile justice, human services and the courts. Each member is
knowledgeable and passionate about children’s issues.
Requests are submitted by a social services professional
working with a child. This professional may work for DHS, a DHS-contracted
provider of services for children and families, or the juvenile justice system.
Each request is reviewed individually on its merits by the advisory committee
and is granted in full, in part or denied. Factors, such as family composition,
income and the number of children living in the household are considered.
“Without this fund, many
children would lose out on opportunities,” Cherna said. “Seeing the results it
has had on 2,300 children is its success.”