SFCM Answering the Call to Action

SFCM Black History Month IN(di)VISIBLE Concert, 2019 (photo credit: Rachel Styer)

Equity and Inclusion Means ALL of Us

Last week we released a statement to our community reaffirming our opposition to racism and injustice. We referenced a series of ambitious projects, a new path of systemic inclusion, and bold steps to build a brighter future. In all these powerful ideas, we did not plainly state an essential truth:

Black Lives Matter.

Our Black students, staff, faculty, and alumni deserve our full-throated commitment – not only to welcome diversity, but also to be vocally and actively anti-racist. SFCM, like many other arts institutions, has work to do in order to create a truly equitable space for Black talent and leadership.

We are ready to do that work. Here is where we are starting:

Immediate Actions Taken

  • Established a President’s Advisory Council on Equity and Inclusion, anchored by Black students, alumni, faculty, and community leaders. All actions and commitments below were developed in partnership with these voices.
  • Raised $1.5M to start funding the initiatives below.

Our Commitments – Beginning in 20/21

  • Co-commission 10 pieces by Black composers over the next 10 years, in partnership with a major arts organization (more info coming soon)
  • Endow 10 full-tuition scholarships for Black students, to be fully funded in five years
  • Expand mandated diversity, inclusion, and anti-racist training as part of orientation for faculty, staff, and students
  • Program works by Black composers in all ensemble programs
  • Host at least one Black artist-in-residence for masterclasses and lessons each year
  • Create music coursework foregrounding Black contributions to classical music
  • Develop humanities coursework focused on the Black Experience in America
  • Increase outreach to area public schools with at least 20% Black enrollment
  • Expand existing community partnerships with Third Baptist Church, Congregation Emanu-El, and Koret Foundation via Bridge to Arts and Music Program
  • Create a staff position dedicated to diversity and inclusion
  • Recruit more Black faculty, staff, and board members for leadership positions
  • Fund three RJAM (Roots, Jazz, and American Music) student scholarships for the next four years
  • Fund 3 full-tuition scholarships for Black industry professionals for each Center for Innovative Leadership program

We are publicly committing to these actions because we want you to hold us accountable.

SFCM’s ethos values mavericks, innovators, and champions who move the industry forward. To forge a truly inclusive path, we must first confront the structures of racial injustice that are built into our industry and our institution. When we practice active anti-racism, we strengthen our community – and when we ensure Black talent is nurtured, we strengthen our culture of excellence.

We’ve got work to do. Hold our feet to the fire.

Timothy Foo, Chairman of the Board of Trustees
David H. Stull, President

President’s Advisory Council on Equity and Inclusion

Rev. Dr. Amos C. Brown, Sr.
President, San Francisco NAACP
Pastor, Third Baptist Church

Rev. James Parrish Smith, M.Mus.
Director, Bridge to Arts and Music (B.A.M.) San Francisco Conservatory of Music
Secretary, San Francisco NAACP
Minister of Music, Third Baptist Church

Brandon Bell ‘18
DuMarkus Davis ‘18
David Dickerson ‘21
Kristopher Grant ‘20
Jason Hainsworth, Director of RJAM Program
Jasmine Johnson ’17, ’19
Michael Mohammed, Director of Musical Theatre Workshop
Marcus Jamal Paige ‘18
Chasiti Lashay Walker ‘20
Larry Joe Williams III ‘21

SFCM Senior Leadership

Aubrey Bergauer, Vice President of Strategic Communications & Executive Director, Center for Innovative Leadership
Marina Kennedy, Executive Assistant to the President
Kathleen Nicely, Vice President of Advancement
Michael Patterson, Associate Vice President of Human Resources and Administration
Kathryn Wittenmyer, Vice President of Finance
Jonas Wright, Dean & Chief Academic Officer

We would like to thank:

  • The Jay Pritzker Foundation, which has pledged $1M to launch the scholarship campaign.
  • Arthur & Charlotte Zitrin Foundation, which has pledged $140,000 to support black students in RJAM
  • Laurence and Michèle Corash, who have pledged $250,000 to support emerging black composers with 10-year commissioning commitment
  • Caitlin and James Freeman (‘92 and SFCM Trustee), and David H. Stull and Jessica Downs, who have pledged $100K to support Black artist residencies and masterclasses for the next 5 years