Live Nation and officials from the Philadelphia School District are set to announce Friday the donation of $23,000 to benefit a burgeoning music program at Strawberry Mansion High School, and future ticket sales will similarly enrich other public schools.
The seed was planted in late 2015, when Geoff Gordon, regional president of Live Nation Philadelphia, served on Mayor Jim Kenney’s inauguration planning committee with Donna Frisby Greenwood, CEO of the Fund for the School District of Philadelphia, the district’s charitable foundation.
“It was very vague at first — 'Oh, let’s work together.’ Geoff said he wanted to do something to support the schools,” said Frisby Greenwood.
As the venue got closer to opening, details firmed up.
“I had the idea of giving 25 cents per ticket from the Met to Philadelphia schools,” starting with the Dylan concert that marked the grand reopening of the 100-year-old opera house on Dec. 3, Gordon said.
The money would be used to support programs in the area surrounding the Met, which sits on North Broad Street.
Mansion was chosen because it is piloting a program called DASH — Destined to Achieve Successful Heights — in partnership with the Grammy Music Education Coalition. Mansion is developing a music business curriculum that is an anchor as it seeks to reinvent itself, attracting new students in the fall.
The school, which rapper Meek Mill attended for a time, currently has 158 students in grades 10 through 12. Ninth-grade admissions resume in September.
Future donations will support purchasing modern band equipment at other schools, said Frisby Greenwood, adding that the company’s ongoing support could help attract other businesses to consider giving back in similar ways.
“Oftentimes, people think that they can’t do anything to help the district, and we have Live Nation saying, ‘We have a music venue that’s right down the street, something new, bringing back a grand old place. Here is a real way we can help the schools,’ " said Frisby Greenwood.
Live Nation, district and city officials will be on hand Friday for the official announcementin the music room at Strawberry Mansion.