The Latin Recording Academy announced today, as part of the 15th anniversary celebration of the Latin GRAMMY Awards, the launch of the Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation, which will be overseen by Vice President Manolo Diaz.
The purpose of the Foundation is to further international awareness and appreciation of the significant contributions of Latin music and its creators through scholarships, fellowships, grants, and educational programs. The Foundation's primary charitable focus will be to provide scholarships, as well as offer fellowships and grants for the research and preservation of Latin music.
"As we celebrate a milestone awards season for the Latin GRAMMYs, it is with great pride that we also celebrate the launch of the Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation under the expert guidance of seasoned professional Manolo Diaz," said Gabriel Abaroa Jr., President/CEO of The Latin Recording Academy. "The Foundation, the first for our organization, will be entrusted to not only preserve and recognize the impact of Latin music, but to assist and inspire the next generation of aspiring artists and music industry impresarios with the tools necessary to accomplish their goals by offering education programs and financial assistance. We are excited to present this new opportunity to the international Latin music community and look forward to great success and results."
"I am both humbled and enthusiastic to be a part of the Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation and look forward, in its inauguration, to truly demonstrating the capability of its outreach and success," said Diaz. "Providing educational programs and assistance to the next era of Latin music creators so they can reach their potential, as well as aligning ourselves with organizations and institutions who are working to ensure that musical legacies within the Latin communities are historically preserved for the enjoyment of future generations, is not only personally rewarding, but an important cultural initiative that I am proud to lead."
The Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation's primary focus and goals are to provide three levels of funding. First, through its Scholarship Fund, the Foundation will provide internationally available scholarships to Latin music creators with financial needs between ages 18–24 for the advancement, development and interpretation of Latin music. Scholarship awards will be divided into three categories: the Prodigy Scholarship for exceptionally gifted musicians; the Gifted Scholarship for highly talented musicians who demonstrate perseverance and determination in the field of music; and the Tuition Assistance award to aid aspiring musicians in meeting financial obligations for the continuation and advancement of their education.
Second, through its Music Research and Preservation Fund, the Foundation will provide fellowships and grants to educational, cultural and nonprofit organizations and institutions worldwide as well as independent scholars, for the research and preservation of Latin music. The fund will be launched this year and will award $130,000 in funding through 2018.
Third, the Music Education Programs and Activities Fund will present annual global music education programs, tributes, activities and events. Previously managed by The Latin Recording Academy Membership department, the Latin GRAMMY in the Schools initiative, along with the donation of music instruments to schools with high-level needs, will now fall under the auspices of the Foundation. The Latin GRAMMY in the Schools program was created in 2000 and has visited numerous schools throughout the United States, Mexico and South America. This year additional events will take place in Puerto Rico (April 24) and Argentina (May 15).
The Foundation office will be located in Miami and will include two full-time staff members who will report to Diaz and assist in the support and execution of its various initiatives and programs. A veteran of the Latin music industry, Diaz's impressive résumé and long-standing career as a music executive in Latin America and Europe includes roles as president/CEO of Mad Music Consulting, EMI Music Spain and Portugal, PolyGram Entertainment Latin America, Universal Music International, and Sony Music Spain and Portugal, along with positions as vice-president for Sony Music European Region and CBS Records Latin America. He was also the chairman of the board for Centro Cultural Niemeyer, Spain, and IFPI, Latin America. In 2002 he was elected as the first Chair of the Board of Trustees of The Latin Recording Academy.
The Foundation will also count on the expertise of three founding directors: Luis Cobos, Foundation Chair and Chair Emeritus of the Board of The Latin Recording Academy, Neil Portnow, Vice Chairperson and President/CEO of The Recording Academy and Raul Vazquez, Treasurer/Secretary and current Trustee and member of the Governance and Nominating Committee of The Latin Recording Academy. Each founding director will serve in a volunteer capacity for a term of up to three years and work in conjunction with Diaz to ensure the operation and mission of the Foundation are met.