Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives

Over the course of the last year, Berklee has answered the call not only to oppose racism in all forms, but also has committed to becoming a more antiracist institution. This means challenging established systems, breaking down barriers to equitable education access, and supporting Black, indigenous, and person of color (BIPOC) community members so they can thrive at Berklee. In the past academic year, we increased investment in staffing for the Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (CDEI), resulting in new resources like the Black Lives Matter learning capsule (now available to the public) and a community-wide, multi-day conference on social justice issues.  

Reflecting our commitment to this work, the following initiatives are a key fundraising priority. This work is ongoing, and we invite you to join us in our commitment to antiracism and social justice by making a gift to one of the meaningful initiatives below.

Danroy 'DJ' Henry Social Change Scholarship

Please join us in our call for racial justice by contributing to the Danroy “DJ” Henry Social Change Scholarship at Berklee. The scholarship was created in honor of Henry, whose life was cut short in 2010 at the age of 20 years old. The scholarship recently reached endowment level, and the first recipient will be chosen in fall 2021. Read more about Henry and how you can support this worthy cause.


Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice

The jazz industry remains predominantly male due to a biased system, imposing a significant toll on those who aspire to work in it. In understanding the importance of balance and equity, the goal of the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice is to do corrective work and modify the way jazz is perceived and presented so the future of jazz looks different from its past, without rendering invisible many of the art form's creative contributors. Led by founder and artistic director Terri Lyne Carrington and managing director Aja Burrell Wood, the institute focuses on equity in the jazz field and the role that jazz plays in the larger struggle for gender justice. Learn more, and discover how you can support this important work.

Black Scholars Initiative

The Black Scholars Initiative (BSI), which began in fall 2017, is a program for entering Berklee College of Music and Boston Conservatory at Berklee students. The overall goal of BSI is to foster a strong sense of Black and African American community, support, belonging, and cultural understanding on campus. It was designed to focus and reflect on African traditions and history within music, dance, and theater.

Songs for Social Change Contest and Concert

Originally established by a gift from the Luongo family, with subsequent funding from Kevin Block-Schwenk, associate professor in the Liberal Arts Department, the Songs for Social Change Contest encourages Berklee students to write songs expressing their convictions about the social issues of concern to them. Times and issues change, but our need for thoughtful, artful, and passionate expression is more critical than ever. Listen to some of the top songs in the Songs for Social Change 2021 playlist, and read about the inspiration behind their incredible songs.


Bill Pierce MLK Scholarship

The Bill Pierce MLK Scholarship was created in 2008 by members of the Association of Faculty and Staff of African Descent (AFSAD). The fund is the result of the combined efforts and contributions of faculty, staff, alumni, board members, and friends of Berklee. The scholarship is awarded to currently enrolled Berklee students working to benefit communities of African descent on and off campus. 


Berklee City Music® Program 

Berklee City Music is a nonprofit education outreach program that leverages the power of contemporary music to empower youth from underserved communities to develop musically, academically, socially, and emotionally. Participating students receive valuable guidance and support from positive mentors—including dedicated instructors—and are exposed to experiences that can be a positive influence in their lives, all at little cost to their families.

Feeling inspired? Contact Davis Wimberly at dwimberly@berklee.edu to learn more about the opportunities above and the variety of ways that you can support these important efforts.