Special Notice for Applicants in 2016

The Martha Lee Cain Tranby Music Enrichment Fund will be making modest grants in 2016 even though its investment returns were slightly negative in 2015 due to the sluggish performance of investments generally.  Those applying to the Fund should not expect grants of the same size as previous years, and some otherwise deserving grant applications may be declined altogether due to limited investment returns.  Each year the Fund’s trustees look at investment returns when making grants, and the trustees anticipate that in future years the Fund will be able to make larger grants.


The Martha Lee Cain Tranby Music Enrichment Fund is a nonprofit fund set up in 1991 under a trust agreement established by Martha Lee Cain Tranby, a resident of Independence, Missouri, and a longtime music teacher in the area.  The fund exists for the purpose of making modest grants to performing music organizations in the greater Kansas City, Missouri area so that these organizations may enrich the music and cultural lives of people living in this area.  The language of the governing trust document states that the Fund assets must be used for “the promotion of music education, composition, performance, or any other music endeavor by individuals, groups or institutions.”  For practical reasons and based upon past years’ experience, the Trustees of the fund have elected to direct the Fund grants specifically to music performing organizations for purposes of supporting public music performances.

A more detailed history of the Fund can be found on our History page.

The guidelines for grant applications to the Fund are as follows:

1.         The application deadline is February 15 of each calendar year.  Your application must be actually received in hard copy by the Secretary of our Selection Committee by 5:00 p.m. on February 15.  The name and address of this person appears on the application form, which can be downloaded and printed from our Application Form page.

2.         Grant applications are evaluated by a Selection Committee appointed by the Trustees of the trust which governs the Fund.  These applications are then submitted to the Trustees for approval, and those submitting approved grant applications receive their letters of approval sometime during the month of March, with actual checks for the amounts awarded being sent out shortly thereafter.

3.         The maximum grant amount is $5,000, with most grants ranging between $500 and $5,000.

4.         To submit a grant application, please download, fill out and mail in the grant application form, which can be downloaded and printed from our Application Form page.  This application form is in PDF and MS Word formats.  It cannot be completed online.  We do not accept online or e-mail submissions of the application form.  It must be delivered as set forth in the instructions on the form.

5.         Generally speaking, the Selection Committee and the Trustees observe the following guidelines in making grant decisions:

(a)        the Fund favors applications from organizations whose music performances reach a broad and diverse audience;

(b)        the Fund favors applicants whose performances are of a professional or very high nonprofessional quality, and who have a reputation for excellence;

(c)        the Fund favors applicants who have attracted support from other donors within the community;

(d)       the Fund makes grants for specific performing projects and also for general operating expenses;

(e)        the Fund does not make grants for capital campaigns or endowment campaigns;

(f)        the Fund does not make grants for the construction of buildings or acquisition of equipment or materials (other than those used in the process of music performances);

(g)        the Fund does not make grants for the primary purpose of music education (such as attendance at music camps or workshops) as opposed to public performance;

(h)        an applicant organization should have at least a three-year operation history, although exceptions will be made upon presentation of strong arguments that this requirement should be waived;

(i)         the Fund does not make grants for scholarship purposes, but may make grants to organizations which themselves make scholarship grants; and

(j)         the Fund does not make grants in an amount exceeding 25% of the organization’s annual operating budget.

The Fund requires that any projects or operations for which a grant is made be completed within one year after the making of the grant.  Each applicant must make a written report to the Fund after the project is complete, containing the final results of the project.  The Fund reserves the right to make grants for less than the amount requested.  Although the Fund primarily supports performing music organizations, the Fund may make grants to organizations primarily engaged in other arts activities (for example, dance or theater) if the purpose of the grant is to specifically promote the performing music component of these activities.

If you have questions, feel free to contact the Secretary of our Selection Committee, whose information appears on the Contact Us page.

Thank you for your interest in the Martha Lee Cain Tranby Music Enrichment Fund.

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