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Legacy Gifts

Harlem School of the Arts

Harlem School of the Arts | Winter Blaze

The Herb Alpert Foundation has been the largest supporter of the Harlem School of the Arts (HSA) in its history contributing $7 million towards the organization since 2010 and saving the school from closing its doors permanently in 2010.

The gift included the establishment of an endowment to provide financial aid and access to the arts to families in need. In recognition of the Herb Alpert Foundation’s transformative gift, generosity, and its steadfast commitment to the organization’s mission, the HSA home was named The Herb Alpert Center.

Mr. Alpert became aware of the school and its problems from reading a newspaper article in 2010 about its closing, he said. “When my wife and I visited the school, the kids looked happy; it just felt like a great place.”


“I believe that the best chance we have of creating happier and more responsible kids is through the arts. They get in touch with their humanity.” — Herb Alpert

Founded in 1964 by internationally acclaimed African-American opera soprano Dorothy Maynor as a sanctuary for students who could not afford instruments, HSA has worked for over half a century to ensure that every child has access to arts education. By welcoming all children regardless of experience, awarding financial aid and scholarships to those in need, and providing access to highly respected teaching artists, HSA creates a unique learning environment in which children of diverse racial, social, and economic backgrounds can come together to study the arts.

Thanks to the Herb Alpert Foundation’s leadership gift in 2010 and its on-going generosity, the Harlem School of the Arts is thriving. It currently serves over 2,500 children ages 2-18 each year through arts instruction in music, dance, theater and art & design; private music lessons; partnerships with 10-12 public, charter and private schools; and summer programs. HSA also offers a competitive and very rigorous pre-professional scholarship program for students ages 10 to 18 who wish to pursue careers in the arts. Many of these students receive admission into specialized art high school and colleges and have gone on to perform on Broadway, off-Broadway, television, film, major concert or dance halls, or achieved success in other non-arts careers—all claiming their success to their arts training at HSA. In addition, HSA now offers over 25 public programs for adults and families every year including concerts, dance performances, plays, artist talks and much more.