September 30, 2019
Dear Friends and Family,
We are establishing the Brettney Young Memorial Fund at the Institute for Musical Arts (IMA). As Brett’s mom, I recognize the profound impact IMA had on Brett’s drive to be a creative force in the world. The fund will support the institute’s ongoing efforts to teach all aspects of music to girls and young women and will underwrite scholarships, programs and recording projects that will directly serve the creativity, healing and well-being of young women of color.
Brettney’s love of music began at an early age and was nurtured by family members, in particular Brett’s Uncle Bill who played guitar and sang. The pair made music together often, teaching themselves Beatles’ songs that they would perform for Pat, Brett’s grandma. This brought them all immense joy.
As a teenager Brett, whose pronouns were “they/their,” attended IMA’s residential summer music programs and maintained friendships with students, faculty and staff over the next decade. They resonated with IMA’s values which emphasize seeking one’s inner truth and using creativity as a tool for transformation. The love and guidance received from IMA co-founders and formidable mentors Ann Hackler and June Millington made a lasting imprint on Brettney. IMA, lovingly referred to as “the magical Queendom,” is a place in rural Western Massachusetts where girls and young women have permission to be who they are without pressure from the outside world. In short, they are encouraged to take up space in whatever way feels natural to them, a message still all too uncommon in our society.
Our goal is to raise $40,000 as an endowment for this fund. To date, we have raised $16,000, 40% of our goal. Your gift to the fund will ensure that girls and young women can continue to pursue music as a tool to build confidence and to claim the power of their voices. In the words of Ann Hackler, at IMA girls and young women learn how to “power up (a sound board), plug in (their instruments), and put their voices out there.” Your contribution will ensure that this simple yet powerful work will continue.