Photo courtesy of the Rockefeller Archive Center.
The RBF Awards in Arts Education
In 1980 the Fund initiated the RBF Awards in Arts Education to recognize and reward excellence in arts education in elementary and secondary schools across the United States. Severe budget cuts to arts education in the nation’s public schools prompted the program. With the awards, the Fund aimed not only to reward outstanding schools but to use their example to encourage support for high quality arts instruction for young people nationwide. The first round of awards of $10,000 each was made to ten schools in 1982, and thereafter to five to ten schools each year through 1985. David Rockefeller, Jr., RBF chairman, was especially influential to establishing this initiative. Awardees were selected after site visits he conducted nationwide with RBF trustees and staff and an outside committee of arts education specialists.