Bonnie Greene

Founder and Executive Director
Madison Music Makers
Purpose Prize Fellow 2009

Greene established Music Makers to help bridge the gap between low-income and more affluent children by offering free or low-cost music instruction at community centers in lower-income neighborhoods.

Greene established Madison Music Makers to help bridge the gap between low-income and more affluent children by offering free or low-cost music instruction at community centers in lower-income neighborhoods.

Having been involved in string music – both as a teacher and a performer – for much of her life, Greene saw a need in her community that had to be met. Low-income children were not receiving the same opportunities to learn music as their more affluent peers, and she wanted to help. Greene knew that participating in the arts, including music, increases academic performance and life success of students. Such activities can teach students to work more cooperatively with their peers and provide a sense of accomplishment. A “moral imperative” to provide music education, as Greene describes it, has been her underlying passion. Music Makers, a nonprofit Greene established in 2007, has enrolled 60 low-income students of various ethnic backgrounds in three community centers. Greene, 73, says she hopes Music Makers and other organizations can “remove the financial barriers to participation in music, so that all children – rich or poor – can share in the often life-changing benefits of music study and performance.”