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The Lewis Prize for Music Accelerator Awards

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The Lewis Prize for Music Accelerator Awards


Are you an organization that empowers youth through music in after-school and out-of-school settings?

The Lewis Prize for Music is now accepting 2023 Accelerator Awards applications. Accelerator Awards are open to Creative Youth Development (CYD) music organizations seeking to influence youth-serving systems so all young people have access to learning, creating, and performing experiences that reflect their culture and identity.

Multi-year awards of $500,000 each will be awarded in January 2023. By applying for the Accelerator Awards, organizations are also eligible for funding ranging from $15,000 to $50,000.

Applications are open from March 25-June 3, 2022, at 5 pm PST.


The mission of The Lewis Prize is to partner with leaders who create positive change by investing in young people through music. Our vision is for every young person, regardless of who they are or where they live, to have the opportunity to access music programs from a young age. We believe this can only be achieved through equitable systems change. Read our definition here to learn more about our understanding of systems change.

We recognize that systems change happens through a dynamic intersection of catalysts, including philanthropy. We invest in and partner with creative youth development leaders to fill gaps where systems fail and imagine new systems for young people to thrive and lead the way for future generations. We also understand that to be an effective partner in disrupting inequitable systems; we must do so from the inside out, as actors in systems ourselves. This is why the Lewis Prize strives to center racial equity in our internal practices and our funding and external relationship so that we reflect the values and change that we seek.

Eligibility & Criteria

Creative Youth Development (CYD) organizations that are working toward systemic change are eligible to apply.

Additional requirements are:

  • The youth in the organization:
    • Must primarily be in the age range of 6-21 years old.
    • Must learn, create, and/or perform music for at least 50% of their overall program participation time.

The program/work:

  • Has been underway and/or in operation beginning in or before 2017.
  • Is an independent 501(c)(3) or has a partnership with a fiscal sponsor.
  • Is in the United States or US territories, and the young people it serves reside in the US or US territories.
  • Operates independently of schools/school music programs and operates outside of school hours.
  • Provides consistent, ongoing participation opportunities for youth that sequentially build skills and relationships over time, ideally multi-year. (One-time classes, short-term workshops, and/or summer camps are not eligible.)
  • At least 40% of the Board of Directors and/or management staff reside in or represent the community served.

Leaders* of the Organization:

  • Are the author(s) of this Round 1 application.
  • Have been in their role of leader at the organization beginning in or before 2020.
  • Reside in the local community where the work/program is located.

*We define “leader” as someone who reports to and is solely supervised by the Board of Directors. For organizations that have more than one person reporting directly to the Board of Directors, the Leader Eligibility Requirements may be interchangeable between those leaders. Please contact TLPM for further clarification.

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Join us for interactive webinars to learn more about The Lewis Prize’s priorities, application, and process. Hear the first-hand experiences of past readers and awardees.

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