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Community Music Center of Boston

 34 Warren Avenue
 Boston, MA 02116
[P] (617) 4827494
[F] (617) 4826267
Lecolion Washington
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 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 04-2437973

LAST UPDATED: 01/04/2019
Organization DBA CMCB
Community Music Center of Boston
The Music Center
Former Names South End Music School (1968)
Boston Music School Settlement (1968)
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No


Mission StatementMORE »

Our mission is to transform lives throughout Greater Boston by providing equitable access to excellent music education and arts experiences.

Mission Statement

Our mission is to transform lives throughout Greater Boston by providing equitable access to excellent music education and arts experiences.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year July 01, 2018 to June 30, 2019
Projected Income $2,852,750.00
Projected Expense $2,824,860.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Early Childhood and Summer Programs
  • Ensembles & Performing Groups / Free John Kleshinski Concert Series
  • Music Therapy
  • Private & Group Music Lessons
  • School Outreach

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Mission Statement

Our mission is to transform lives throughout Greater Boston by providing equitable access to excellent music education and arts experiences.

Background Statement


A merger of the Boston Music School Settlement and the South End Music School, Community Music Center of Boston was the first New England music school dedicated to serving immigrant children. Now in our 107th year, the Music Center is an accredited, 501(c)3 nonprofit in Boston's lively and multicultural South End. Our mission, which was revised this fiscal year, is to transform lives throughout Greater Boston by providing equitable access to excellent music education and arts experiences. With a $3 million budget, we teach approximately 6,500 students each year at our South End main campus and in nearly 40 outreach sites, including public schools and social service agencies. Core offerings include private and group music lessons; all-ages ensembles; a nationally renowned school outreach program with the Boston Public Schools; intensive, advanced music study; music therapy for individuals and groups with physical, cognitive, emotional, or social challenges; early childhood programs; summer programs; and satellite programs that bring music education to those unable to travel to our South End location.

Our objective is to provide both high-quality music education and access to a diverse student body that is in moderate to severe financial need. To serve these students, the Music Center gives back more than $300,000/year (approximately 9-10% of our operating budget) in scholarships and financial aid to in-house students. Our music therapy clientele, both children and adults, have wide-ranging cognitive, social, emotional, and physical challenges—from those on the autism spectrum to Alzheimer’s. Youth participating in our in-house and outreach programs represent the diversity of their communities, drawn primarily from the neighborhoods of the South End, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, Mattapan, and Hyde Park, as well as surrounding towns such as Everett and Randolph. 

Impact Statement

Recent milestones include:

  • The Music Center celebrated its milestone Centennial by successfully completing a major Centennial Campaign, raising over $4.5 million to support our various programs, generous scholarships for underprivileged Boston-area students, and other identified needs in 2009-2013.
  • This year, the staff and board of directors under Board President Mary Carney’s leadership have completed a new three-year strategic plan.
  • In March 2016, the Music Center received re-accreditation by our accrediting body, ACCPAS, through 2023-24.

The Music Center's current objectives, based on our recently approved three-year strategic plan, are the following:
  1.  Increase quality music education opportunities and related arts experiences designed to address current key indicator limitations and constraints.
  2.  Overall fundraising strategies will focus more intensively on individual and major giving. Align all communications to reflect and focus on the dual objectives of philanthropy and education..
  3.  Continue to develop and centralize HR systems and sustainable leadership development practices that provide employees with skills and resources to support organizational goals, and to ensure a focus on increasing equity and inclusion..
  4.  Adopt revised by-laws to enhance all aspects of board and corporation engagement. Adopt a board give and/or get policy. Recruit board and corporation members beyond our traditional focus on students and families with an emphasis on enhancing fundraising and increasing diversity of the board..
  5.  Plan community and gala celebrations for the executive director’s retirement. Conduct special fundraising initiatives coincident with executive director’s retirement and appointment of a new one. Conduct an effective and successful search for new executive director..

Needs Statement

On the occasion of David Lapin's retirement as Community Music Center of Boston's Executive Director after 36 years of service, the Board of Directors honors his legacy with a targeted fundraising drive. This effort is titled The Crescendo Campaign: A Tribute to David Lapin. It will begin in summer 2016 and conclude with a special announcement at a gala dinner in David's honor on September 16, 2017.
The Crescendo Campaign is highlighting the five areas of the Music Center's programs and operations that donors may choose from, or donors may choose to give an unrestricted gift or to other areas of the Music Center for restricted giving. 
In addition, the Music Center is requesting support for the following three major programmatic areas:
  1.  Private and group music lessons in 25+ instruments and voice, as well as composition/theory and a wide-ranging performing ensembles for all skill levels, ages and genres.
  2. School outreach, bringing hands-on music education to 5,300 students/week in public schools.

  3. Music therapy for individuals/groups with physical, cognitive, emotional or social challenges.

CEO Statement


What an inaugural year it has been for me at the Community Music Center of Boston!
We are an impressive organization. We reach some 6,000 students every year, give out more than a quarter of a million dollars in scholarship support, maintain a presence in ten different neighborhoods through 25 school and satellite locations, and count on the invaluable contributions of more than 150 board,
corporation, faculty, and staff members.
But of course, over our history we have always been more than just the numbers, and we provide a great deal more than just music instruction. We fully embrace the first word in our name — COMMUNITY — and activate it in several ways.
We are building community. Every time a young student comes into my office for an impromptu visit (and maybe a little hide and seek!), I see that we are building community, creating a lively and welcoming environment for more than 600 students who visit our South End site each week.
We are committed to bringing music into the neighborhoods through our school outreach and satellite programs, helping to strengthen the communities we serve. I recently had an opportunity to see a performance at one of our school outreach sites. There was an amazing and committed group of administrators, teachers, staff, and parents — and our teaching artist, who was uniting everyone’s collected efforts into one beautiful morning of singing and playing.
With our geographic reach and our roster of free programs and events, we are uniquely positioned to build bridges among the diverse communities of Boston. This year, we launched a Board-level Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee to develop strategies for building even stronger bridges in the future.
As I have looked back over the 108-year history of the Music Center, it has been humbling to see the impact this organization has had on Greater Boston.

Board Chair Statement

Geographic Area Served

In a specific U.S. city, cities, state(s) and/or region.
City of Boston- Citywide (please select all areas as well)
City of Boston- Allston/ Brighton
City of Boston- Back Bay
City of Boston- Beacon Hill/ West End
City of Boston- Charlestown
City of Boston- Chinatown/ Leather District
City of Boston- North Dorchester
City of Boston- South Dorchester
City of Boston- Downtown
City of Boston- East Boston
City of Boston- Fenway/ Kenmore
City of Boston- Hyde Park
City of Boston- Jamaica Plain
City of Boston- Mattapan
City of Boston- Mission Hill
City of Boston- North End
City of Boston- Roslindale
City of Boston- Roxbury
City of Boston- South Boston
City of Boston- South End/Bay Village
City of Boston- Harbor Islands
City of Boston- West Roxbury

Organization Categories

  1. Arts,Culture & Humanities - Arts Education
  2. Arts,Culture & Humanities - Performing Arts Schools
  3. Arts,Culture & Humanities - Arts Services

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)



Early Childhood and Summer Programs

Our Early Childhood Program is designed for children ages 5 months-7 years and supports the development of cognitive and social skills.  Classes provide fun and formative programming, ushering in a lifelong love for music and preparing student for private instruction. Offerings include:
  • LittleNotes 1-3 (ages 5 months-2 years)
  • Music and Movement (ages 3-5)
  • Beginning Instruments (ages 4-7) - group instruction in beginning piano, strings, or recorder


CMCB's summer offerings include SummerARTS and SummerMusic for four weeks each July-August. SummerARTS includes daily instruction in music, dance, drama and visual arts plus a culminating final performance for kids and C.I.T.s ages 4-14.
Modeled on Venezuela's El Sistema program, SummerMusic provides in-depth daily instrumental instruction in strings and winds, plus weekly performance opportunities and cultural field trips to students entering grades 5-7.
Budget  $0.00
Category  Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Music
Population Served Infants to Preschool (under age 5) Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) Children Only (5 - 14 years)
Program Short-Term Success      
Program Long-Term Success        
Program Success Monitored By      
Examples of Program Success       

Ensembles & Performing Groups / Free John Kleshinski Concert Series

To offer all students a high level of instrumental expertise, group engagement and performance opportunities, we offer a full range of ensembles:
  • Beginning Band
  • Junior Wind Ensemble
  • Junior String Ensemble
  • Intermediate/Senior String Ensemble
  • Senior Wind Ensemble
  • Chamber Orchestra
  • A Capella High School Chorus
  • Frame Drumming
  • Youth Chorus
  • Jazz Combos
  • Jam Band
  • Adult/Senior Chorus

CMCB ensembles meet once each week. Rehearsal times range; however, beginning-level rehearsals are no less than one hour and more advanced ensembles can run past two hours. All ensembles perform 3-5 times per year at CMCB and in the Greater Boston community.

CMCB's John Kleshinski Concert Series provides free, family-friendly and high-quality concerts of diverse musical instruments and genres every month from September-May. 
Budget  $0.00
Category  Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) Adults At-Risk Populations
Program Short-Term Success  --
Program Long-Term Success  --
Program Success Monitored By  --
Examples of Program Success  --

Music Therapy

Since the 1950's CMCB has used music therapy to help groups and individuals with social, cognitive, physical and/or emotional challenges achieve clinical goals and quality of life.  Our experienced professionals serve 450 students a week, on-site at CMCB and in partnership with human service agencies.  Our students are children, teens, adults and seniors experiencing:
  • Autism/PDD
  • Mental Health
  • Neurological/Medical Disorders
  • Alzheimer's and Dementia Disorders
  • Developmental/Intellectual Disabilities
  • Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
  • Social and Learning Challenges
  • Physical Disabilities
  • And more...
Benefits of music therapy include:
  • Improved interpersonal relationships
  • Development of communication
  • Enriched self-awareness and expression
  • Increased attention span and memory
Budget  $144,000.00
Category  Human Services, General/Other Services for Individuals with Disabilities
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) Elderly and/or Disabled People/Families with People of Developmental Disabilities
Program Short-Term Success  --
Program Long-Term Success         
Program Success Monitored By  --
Examples of Program Success  --

Private & Group Music Lessons

CMCB offers group and individual music instruction for students all ages and abilities, in nearly 30 instruments and in every style of music from classical and jazz to pop and world music.  We also provide performance training, ensemble and orchestra coaching, technique classes, music theory and composition.  Programming begins in early childhood and continues through one's golden years.  Our students range in age from 5-month old babies through seniors more than 80 years of age.
Budget  $0.00
Category  Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) Adults At-Risk Populations
Program Short-Term Success  --
Program Long-Term Success  Artistic mastery and/or development.  Enjoyment of music as core to emotional, physical and intellectual health/wellness.
Program Success Monitored By  Evaluations, ongoing feedback, performance measurement, annual merit-based Lapin Competition, participation in annual Performathon, auditions for/participation in outside orchestras and/or ensembles, acceptance to conservatories and/or noted institutions of higher education with strong music departments, and more.   
Examples of Program Success  Recent placement for CMCB students include the Massachusetts Music Educators Association (MMEA) Eastern District orchestra festivals, both Junior and Senior levels; the Sphinx Academy Summer Program at Oberlin Conservatory, an intensive chamber music and solo performance program designed for aspiring Black and Latino string players ages 12-17; Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra; Boston University Tanglewood Institute and the New England Conservatory Preparatory Training Orchestra.

School Outreach

The Music Center's nationally-recognized outreach, launched in the Boston Public Schools in 1978, provides hands-on music and performing arts instruction to more than 5,000 BPS students each week, ranging from Pre-K through high school.  Our instruction is aligned with city and state curriculum standards, and the Music Center 39 years of partnership expertise helps schools build the capacity to ensure their programs can be successfully administered and sustained financially over time.
Our professional teaching artists provide the following to public and private schools, for fully inclusive classrooms of students:
  • General Music Education
  • Chorus
  • Recorder
  • Dance
  • Drumming
  • Drama
  • Visual Art
  • Band
  • Music Literacy
  • Violin, Viola and Cello
  • Tin Whistle
  • Creative Writing
The Music Center's public school partnerships for 2016-2017 number 19.  We pride ourselves on our ability to work flexibly with outreach schools working with a wide range of budgetary, scheduling and performance concerns. 
Budget  $412,000.00
Category  Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Music Instruction
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) K-12 (5-19 years) At-Risk Populations
Program Short-Term Success  N/a
Program Long-Term Success 
Students demonstrate music literacy and the ability to sing and play music from diverse styles, genres, and cultures on pitched and non-pitched instruments.  BPS partners demonstrate increased ownership of program, financially and programmatically, collaborate successfully in administering, fundraising and implementing in-school programming.
Program Success Monitored By  Formative evaluations, student evaluations, visitation reports, performance reports, BPS partnership management, level of parent involvement and more.
Examples of Program Success  N/a

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Any discussion of artistic mastery for underserved populations must begin with core values of access, and the Music Center scholarships are essential to continued access. If students in financial need, students of color, students from underrepresented city neighborhoods can’t even get their foot in the door to start taking lessons, then deeper commitment to music—and its life-long benefits—is unachievable. The Music Center may first ignite a spark in the heart and mind of a student in a BPS classroom, once a week in a group setting; however, it is scholarship support that enables that child to enter the extended orbit of on-site opportunities at the Music Center. The extended recession has deeply impacted Boston families while demand for need-based aid is up, particularly for immigrant families and communities color.  Demand for both instruction and scholarship is on the rise, with an expected $330,000/year in scholarship support anticipated in the coming years.  Board President Kurt Cerulli often notes the proportional increases in both tuition revenue and scholarship expense as proof that the Music Center's mission of access is as alive and healthy as ever. 


CEO/Executive Director Mr. Lecolion Washington
CEO Term Start Sept 2017
CEO Email
CEO Experience

Lecolion Washington, Executive Director (2017). M.M. Orchestral Performance, Manhattan School of Music; B.M., University of Texas-Austin. Tenured at 33, Lecolion served as a bassoon professor for 15 years, and his CD entitled Legacy: Music for Bassoon by African-American Composers was released in 2007. Lecolion has been a staunch advocate for the relevance of music as an agent for social change, particularly as it relates to youth from underserved communities and communities of color. He was the Co-Founder/Executive Director of the PRIZM Ensemble from 2009-2017 and served as the Director of In-School Programs for the Memphis Music Initiative, where he created and oversaw a teaching artist program that reached approximately 4000 Memphis youth weekly. In 2015, he was named as one of the Memphis Business Journal’s "Top 40 Under 40”.

Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
David Lapin 1981 Aug 2017

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
William Fickes Artistic Director --
Catherine Miller Director of Marketing --
Marie Tai Administrative Director --
Lecolion Washington Executive Director --


Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --


Affiliation Year
AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals) 2017
National Association for Schools of Music 2017
Accrediting Commission for Community and Precollegiate Arts Schools (ACCPAS) 2008
National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts - Member 1937
Boston Center for the Arts --
Member of state association of nonprofits? Yes
Name of state association MassCreative

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- 2015
-- --


The Music Center has approximately yearly 40 community collaborators, including 19 outreach partnerships in the Boston Public schools and numerous non-profits and human service agencies with whom we partner for outreach and/or "satellite" instruction.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 16
Number of Part Time Staff 78
Number of Volunteers 25
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % --

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 9
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 5
Caucasian: 57
Hispanic/Latino: 7
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 1
Other (if specified): 1
Gender Female: 40
Male: 40
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 3
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Business Continuity of Operations Plan Yes
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes
State Registration Yes

Risk Management Provisions


Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Bi-Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually


Board Chair Mrs. Mary Carney
Board Chair Company Affiliation Northeastern University
Board Chair Term Sept 2014 - Sept 2018
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Ms. Mary Carney Northeastern University Voting
Ms. Kathleen Emrich Retired, Ellis Neighborhood Association Voting
Mr. Jay Fogarty Community Volunteer Voting
Mr. Christopher Goddu Community Volunteer Voting
Mr. Kurt Hakansson Hakansson Design Group, LLC Voting
Ms. Andrea Kaiser Community Volunteer Voting
Ms. Margaret Lam Community Volunteer Voting
Mr. Vincent Mayer PwC Voting
Mr. James Piatt Piatt Associates Inc., Architects Voting
Mr. Ted Pietras Gibson Sotheby International Realty Voting
Ms. Deborah Rambo Catholic Charities Voting
Ms Mercedes Ridao Community Volunteer Voting
Ms. Brenda Ross Community Volunteer Voting
Mr. John Shope Community Volunteer Voting
Mrs. Evelyn Tate Northeastern University Voting
Mr. Jeffrey Thomson Community Volunteer Voting
Mr. Martin Thomson Tenor Voting
Ms. Alicia Zipp Community Volunteer Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 2
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 1
Caucasian: 14
Hispanic/Latino: 1
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 9
Male: 9
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 95%
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes

Standing Committees

  • Audit
  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Diversity & Inclusion
  • Executive
  • Finance
  • Human Resources / Personnel
  • Nominating
  • Special Events (Golf Tournament, Walk / Run, Silent Auction, Dinner / Gala)

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

In terms of governance, the Music Center also has a 75-member Corporation (akin to a Board of Overseers).

Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Total Revenue $2,850,836 $2,902,492 $2,541,820
Total Expenses $2,851,576 $2,913,499 $2,626,090

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $41,000 $36,000 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified $41,000 $36,000 --
Individual Contributions $1,332,364 $1,006,044 $1,246,964
Indirect Public Support -- $0 --
Earned Revenue $1,364,448 $1,474,261 $1,179,274
Investment Income, Net of Losses $81,936 $386,187 $53,088
Membership Dues -- $0 --
Special Events $27,342 $0 --
Revenue In-Kind -- -- $56,250
Other $3,746 $0 $6,244

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Program Expense $2,047,966 $2,157,192 $1,991,140
Administration Expense $587,401 $548,973 $502,162
Fundraising Expense $216,209 $207,334 $132,788
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.00 1.00 0.97
Program Expense/Total Expenses 72% 74% 76%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 15% 20% 11%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Total Assets $4,080,240 $4,071,729 $4,001,422
Current Assets $576,032 $663,081 $3,411,098
Long-Term Liabilities $285,000 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $49,780 $516,562 $116,525
Total Net Assets $3,745,460 $3,555,167 $3,884,897

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value $1,027,914.00
Spending Policy Percentage
Percentage(If selected) 4.5%
Credit Line Yes
Reserve Fund Yes
How many months does reserve cover? 16.00

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 11.57 1.28 29.27

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 7% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above are per the organization's IRS Form 990s for FY17 and FY16 and per the audited financials for FY15.  Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available.


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.


The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.

1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?


2. What are your strategies for making this happen?


3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?


4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?


5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?