Young Alumni Fund

The Young Alumni Fund (“YAF”) is a new annual grant program dedicated to supporting young alumni of Curtis. These grants—ranging from $1,000 to $10,000—are part of Curtis’s ongoing efforts to strengthen support for alumni in the years that follow graduation and help young alumni who may be experiencing obstacles of any kind in the pursuit of their musical careers.

Learn more about the inaugural YAF grantees and their projects.


Once awarded, grantees receive advice and support from mentors within the Curtis community. If you are interested in mentoring grantees or providing support to grantees, please write to If you are interested in making a tax-deductible donation to YAF, please follow this link.

To apply for a grant, please read the instructions and FAQs below, then visit the online grant administration platform.

Applications for the next cycle of grants will be available here in Spring 2022.  

General Instructions and FAQs

Who can I contact if I have specific questions?

Please write to with questions. A Curtis staff member will respond in a timely manner.

How long will the 2021 YAF application window be open?

Curtis will accept applications for YAF until July 15, 2021 at 11:59 p.m PST. Applicants will be notified of funding decisions by August 15, 2021.

(Relevant dates for 2022 applications will be updated here soon.)

How much funding is available and in what amounts will YAF grants be awarded?

This year there is $35,000 in total funding available. These grants—ranging from $1,000 to $10,000—will be made in proposed amounts of $10,000, $5,000, or  $1,000. The YAF review panel has the discretion to distribute the funding in different amounts depending on the submissions received.

Are there specific areas that YAF supports?

While applicants may submit proposals for any project or need, the following are suggested areas of focus:

  • Launching a new venture (for-profit or not-for-profit)
  • Professional development (in an area inside or outside of music)
  • Audience development—engaging audiences around classical music in an innovative way
  • Marketing and promotional support to amplify an existing project or performance
  • Community engagement in your local community
  • Seeking management or professional representation
  • Teaching an online course or seminar
  • Commissioning or championing works by underrepresented composers (e.g., performing, recording)
  • Audition or competition preparation (for an individual or ensemble)
  • Advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion in classical music
  • Thought leadership or scholarship
  • Funding towards the purchase of an instrument or equipment
  • A project that combines music and technology

How was the Young Alumni Fund planned and designed?

Planning for the Young Alumni Fund began with a workshop led by design thinking consultant Ramy Nassar at 1000 Days Out and co-facilitated by management consultant Kristan Cybriwsky (Flute ’90) and Shea Scruggs (Oboe ’04) in his capacity as Director of Institutional Research and Musician Experience/Chief of Enrollment Officer at Curtis. The workshop included twelve alumni from a broad range of class years. The objective was to understand the challenges and needs of young alumni while incorporating a diverse range of alumni perspectives into planning. Review workshop materials online:

Workshop slides
Group discussion notes
Workshop report

Eligibility, Selection, and Notification

Who is eligible to apply?

All alumni who graduated from Curtis in 2011 or later and residing anywhere in the world are eligible to apply.

The following alumni are excluded from eligibility: (a) current part- or full-time employees of the Curtis Institute of Music, including current faculty, (b) any graduate of a Curtis program who is currently enrolled in another Curtis program, and (c) any alumni serving on the review panel.

How do I apply?

Alumni can apply by visiting which is Curtis’s page on a third-party website called Good Grants (formerly called Award Force). If you’ve used Good Grants or Award Force before and have an existing account, you will need to enter your login credentials. If this is your first time using Good Grants, you will need to create a new account. If you have any technical issues on Good Grants, such as questions related to password retrieval, confirming receipt of applications, or revising submitted applications, please contact

What information do I need to provide on the application?

Applicants will be asked to provide the following information:

  1. Personal information to verify alumni status (name, name while at Curtis, date of birth)
  2. Name of co-applicant(s), if applicable
  3. Contact information and preferences (mailing address, e-mail, phone)
  4. Optional demographic information for internal reporting
  5. Country of citizenship
  6. Statement (500 words or less) that answers the following questions:
    • What are the goals of your project or activity?
    • How will the grant help you realize your project or activity?
    • Why are you qualified to lead this project or activity?
  7. Request for funding at the proposed levels of $10,000 (ten thousand US dollars), $5,000 (five thousand US dollars) or $1,000 (one thousand US dollars). The review panel has the discretion to distribute funding in different amounts depending on the submissions received. If you have any questions, please contact
  8. Details
    • Timeline: Please outline concisely the key milestones of your project or activity.
    • Impact (150 words or less): How might you measure or demonstrate the impact?
    • Key partners (150 words or less): If applicable, who will help you or collaborate with you?
    • Mentor (150 words or less): How might a mentor assist you in the success of this project or activity and who might that mentor be?
    • Budget: Please provide an expense budget and any other sources of funding for your project or activity. Download budget template.
  9. Disclosure of relationships (if any) with any officers or trustees of the Curtis Institute of Music. Disclosure is required by the IRS and the presence of relationships does not disqualify applicants from receiving grants.

How will the selection process work?

The review of applications will take place as follows:

  • Determination of eligibility: A member of the Institutional Research department of Curtis will verify your alumni status and review that you have completed all of the steps in the application.
  • Review of applications: All eligible proposals will be reviewed by a diverse panel of reviewers drawn primarily from the Curtis alumni community. The names of the review panel will not be made public and the names of the applicants will not be disclosed to the review panel.

What are the evaluation criteria?

The panel will evaluate the proposals on the following basis:

  • overall strength of the proposal,
  • expressed impact that the funding will have on the project’s success, and the
  • perceived potential for the applicant to meet the milestones of the project.

How will I be notified of the panel’s decision?

All applicants will be notified by e-mail by August 15, 2021 as to the determination of the panel.

If I am not selected, may I reapply?

Curtis alumni who do not receive funding through YAF may reapply in the next grant cycle in the 2021–22 academic year.

If I am not selected, may I still be matched with a mentor for advice and support?

Yes. Please write to to express interest and coordinate.

Is the application only online via Good Grants?

Yes. A digital application allows the review panel and supporting administration at Curtis to review applications in a timely manner.

Can I apply on behalf of someone else with their consent?

Yes. We are aware that some individuals with worthy projects may not have regular internet or computer access. If you wish to submit an application on behalf of another person with their consent, you will need to create a Good Grants account for them and be sure to fill out the application with their information.

Who has access to data provided to Good Grants?

As an applicant, your data will be viewed by staff in the Institutional Research team of Curtis so that it can be anonymized and provided to the review panel. Individual applicant data (including name) will not be shared, duplicated, or distributed publicly. Additionally, aggregated applicant data will be collected, summarized, and shared in reports to funders and/or the public, without disclosing any personal information. No information provided in the personal statement in Good Grants will be co-mingled with or imported to Curtis Institute of Music databases.

Why does the application ask for optional demographic data?

Demographic data is an essential part of Curtis’s commitment to equity and inclusion. This information is being collected for reporting purposes and does not affect eligibility or selection.

What security measures are in place for the information I am providing in Good Grants?

Good Grants operates with industry-standard security certificates and features for data collection and storage. More information is available here.


If I am awarded a grant, will my name be made public?

Curtis will ask grantees for their permission to reveal the names of the grant recipients and their projects.

If I receive a grant, will there be reporting requirements?

Yes. As per IRS guidelines, all grantees will be required to report back to Curtis on how the funds were used within sixty (60) days of receiving the funds. Curtis will provide instructions to all relevant recipients about how to submit the report to Curtis.

What will you require to issue my grant?

If the review panel chooses to award a grant, you will be asked through Good Grants to electronically sign a grant agreement and confirm details for the electronic transfer of the award funds to your bank account. Because grant funds are taxable, you will be asked through Good Grants to provide a signed W9, including a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) before the grant is distributed. Curtis may be required to withhold 30% of award amounts for non-U.S. citizens without a federal tax ID number. View Good Grants’ privacy policy here.


Can I support this initiative? If so, are donations tax-deductible?

Yes, you can support YAF with a monetary donation here. All donations are fully tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.