In November 2018, Johns Hopkins University announced a transformative gift of $1.8 billion from philanthropist, business leader, and three-term New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (Engr BS ’64, Electrical Engineering) to support undergraduate financial aid. From this remarkable commitment — the largest-ever single contribution to a U.S. college or university — Peabody has received a $50 million contribution to its endowment.
“We are thrilled at the potential impact this level of philanthropy can have for talented young musicians and dancers from across the country,” noted Peabody Dean Fred Bronstein in reaction to the news. “This gift allows us to continue building excellence in the Conservatory while improving affordability for students.”
As Dean Bronstein wrote in announcing the contribution to the Peabody community, the expressed purpose of the gift is to increase access and affordability to under- graduate education for students in the United States. While scholarships at Peabody have always been largely merit-based — as is the case with most competitive music schools — these dollars will expand Peabody’s ability to support undergraduate students with demonstrated need, beginning this fall.
Peabody’s deployment of the Bloomberg gift will necessarily differ from the approach taken at the Homewood campuses. At Peabody, the Bloomberg funding will be awarded in the form of supplemental grants targeted toward students whose families earn less than $100,000 per year. When combined with the potential for merit scholarship, the new grants will result in financial aid packages that reflect applicants’ demonstrated financial need.
In combination with Peabody’s existing, extensive merit scholarship program, which remains unchanged, the Bloomberg gift will ensure that the Conservatory continues to provide competitive financial aid packages across all income ranges, maximizing the ability to attract top students while being increasingly responsive to financial need.
“This is an enormously exciting moment, as we have the opportunity to open up new pathways to Peabody and significantly improve the affordability of a Peabody education,” Bronstein said. “I am especially grateful to university leadership — President Ron Daniels and Provost Sunil Kumar — and, of course, Michael Bloomberg, for their wonderful support of Peabody and our students.”
— Tiffany Lundquist