Wednesday, March 27, 2024

UCI's Richard Matthew, professor of urban planning and public policy and director of the UCI Blum Center for Poverty Alleviation, shares details about The Drake Gives nonprofit, contributing $1.5 million to UC Irvine’s Power of Music initiative - leveraging music for social good


Richard Matthew (left), UCI professor of urban planning and public policy,
will lead the Power of Music initiative, in close collaboration with
Alec Glasser (center), founder and CEO of The Drake Gives,
and Jon Gould (right), dean of UCI’s School of Social Ecology.
Han Parker / School of Social Ecology

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The Drake Gives contributes $1.5 million to UC Irvine’s Power of Music initiative

New School of Social Ecology effort will leverage music for social good

Irvine, Calif., March 7, 2024 – A donation of $1.5 million from The Drake Gives will support a novel initiative at the University of California, Irvine’s School of Social Ecology focused on leveraging the power of music to galvanize students, other individuals and communities for social progress and well-being.

The contribution will spearhead the new Power of Music initiative, which will be led by Richard Matthew, professor of urban planning and public policy and director of the UCI Blum Center for Poverty Alleviation, in close collaboration with Alec Glasser, founder and CEO of The Drake Gives.

“With this generous support, we can develop novel pathways for research and action,” Matthew said. “Whether integrating music into psychology, health or environmental advocacy, we are poised to advance groundbreaking initiatives here on campus.”

Echoing his appreciation for Glasser’s dedication and philanthropy, Jon Gould, dean of the School of Social Ecology, pointed to the prospective impact of the Power of Music.

“Mr. Glasser’s remarkable contribution will empower students locally and globally to harness music’s potential in addressing some of the world’s most pressing issues,” he said.

Glasser underscored the initiative’s significance, calling attention to its ability to pioneer a movement toward positive change: “The Power of Music will establish diverse platforms for students and individuals to engage and advocate using the compelling medium of music. This endeavor resonates deeply with our mission to drive meaningful progress.”

Matthew emphasized the initiative’s capacity to shape innovative curricula and opportunities catering to diverse interests and disciplines.

He said the Power of Music aims to establish a vibrant hub at UCI, fostering collaboration among scholars, students and practitioners dedicated to using music for social good across myriad contexts.

It will also enable the expansion of partnerships between the Blum Center and organizations in three African countries that promote social change through music.

“Our partners are Yole!Africa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Collaborative Media Advocacy Platform in Nigeria and Kakuma Sound in a refugee camp in Kenya,” Matthew said. “They are building radio stations and recording studios, and through music, young people are mobilizing to bring people together. The technologies they’re using to build the stations and studios are helping kids acquire skills such as spatial analysis and geographic information system data science, which are really valuable for environmental sustainability, climate resilience and climate change adaptation.”

The Power of Music, Gould noted, “represents a significant step forward in harnessing music’s enduring power as a catalyst for positive change, reaffirming the UCI School of Social Ecology’s commitment to innovation and social impact.”

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities and is ranked among the nation's top 10 public universities by U.S. News & World Report. The campus has produced five Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 36,000 students and offers 224 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $7 billion annually to the local economy and $8 billion statewide. For more on UCI, visit www.uci.edu.

About The Drake Gives: The Drake Gives is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to connect and inspire underserved youth by providing them with the music education, materials and instruments they need and deserve to fuel their passions and experience the power of music. Founded in 2021 by Alec Glasser, The Drake Gives has raised more than half a million dollars to support the Save The Music Foundation,, which has funded public music education in underprivileged Orange County school districts.



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