Settlement School receives big boost

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In Philadelphia, where the need is great and resources strained, the news is doubly good when an organization wins an outside grant. The theory is, the award of local money means another local group needing it loses out, whereas money coming from a national source is a net gain into the community.

Which is one reason Settlement Music School is so tickled to have landed a $250,000 grant from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. The one-year award from the Lansdowne, Virginia foundation comes with possible renewals in years two and three.

The money will go to support students between the ages of 8 and 18 with "all-inclusive access to individual instruction and ensembles by offering financial aid to students in need," according to a Settlement statement. "Additional services will be provided, geared to the particular challenges lower-income students face when they study music seriously, including quality instrument loans and parental support."

About 40 percent of Settlement students at six neighborhood branches receive some form of financial assistance, said executive director Helen S. Eaton. That comes to about $2 million a year in aid.

Settlement hopes the new grant will help level the playing field.

Said Eaton: "We want to get the word out that we have all this financial aid available."

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