Philanthropy is a viable funding source for music therapy programs. Based on their experience in successfully funding and expanding a pediatric hospital-based music therapy program through philanthropy, Dr. Annie Heiderscheit and Jana Koppula are particularly aware of the importance of understanding the complex aspects of donor relationships in order to build and maintain a philanthropically funded program. Their conversation in this AMTA-Pro podcast includes examples of building successful donor relationships, gathering and presenting data to donors, and addressing donor expectations. The experience and expertise of these two MT colleagues is helpful to music therapists who are considering pursuing philanthropy as a source for funding music therapy services in any clinical setting.

Funding Music Therapy Through Philanthropy
AMTA-Pro Podcast July, 2016
Annie Heiderscheit, PhD, LFMT, MT-BC
Jana Skrien Koppula, MT-BC

Dr. Annie Heiderscheit

Annie Heiderscheit, PhD, LMFT, MT-BC

Jana Koppula

Jana Skrien Koppula, MT-BC











Dr. Heiderscheit and Jana Koppula speak from their experiences in building a pediatric hospital-based Music Therapy program through philanthropy at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital.

•  Overview of the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital
–  State of the art 227,000 square foot facility opened in April 2011
–  Private rooms 65% larger than national average
–  Minnesota’s first green children’s hospital with innovative eco-friendly design
–  Houses MN only children’s dialysis center
–  Only 24/7 pediatric emergency department
–  6,700 inpatient stays each year
–  10,000 ED visits each year
–  152 patients, daily average
–  50 specialty areas
–  Provide care to children from 80 of the 87 counties in MN
–  Train 2/3 of MN pediatricians
–  Over 500,00 patients and guests visit the hospital each year
–  Treating patients and families from all around the world

•  Units receiving Music Therapy services
–  Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVIVU) and a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).
–  Transplant Unit providing inpatient care for post transplant & surgical, oncology, renal, and general medical patients.
–  Journey Clinic, an outpatient infusion clinic providing services and procedures for patients receiving chemotherapy treatments, blood transfusions, oncology-related treatments, and BMT patients.

Understanding Philanthropy

1. Equity Theory

2. Donor Relationships

• Donor expectations (McDonald,Scaife,&Smyllie,2011)
–  effective communication
–  expressions of gratitude
–  regular updates
–  tax deductions
–  public recognition

• Potential causes of donor issues (Hall,2005)
–  not taking advice from experts (legal, etc.)
–  over-seeking personal rewards for donations
–  taking control of everything
–  making threats/demands
–  misunderstandings over complex gifs

“We want to establish reasonable expectations for communication and reporting. It is important to outline when they will hear from us and what that communication will involve.” (Lander, 1998, p. 23)

“So much depends on the character, aspirations, and horizons of the donor.” (Schervish, 2007, p. 374)

3. Philanthropic Giving

•  Philanthropy is a social relationship. (Schervish, 2007)
–  supply side driven
– donor decides to meet the needs of the beneficiary

• Donors are giving to causes with which they have personal connection (McGee, 2006)

• Philanthropy has moved from donor-centered (up to mid/late 1990s) to donor-controlled. (Ostrander, 2007)
–  donors increasingly using contracts (Blum, 2002)
–  concerns that too much control is ceded to donors
– spending decisions will be based too heavily on what donors want instead of what is best for beneficiaries (Blum, 2002)

• Comparing Donor Controlled & Donor Centered
– Donor actively and intentionally determines where to give philanthropic gifts
– Donor a receptor of appeals by a charity, foundation, or the like
– Recipient groups often excluded from decisions about where the money
– Emphasizes a heightened form of donor-recipient interaction and engagement
– Philanthropic agendas may have more to do with personal considerations rather than social or political commitments
–  Emphasis often on “making a difference”

•  Grants vs Philanthropy
–  Grants require an application.
–  Grants are usually given from a specific party (foundation or government body).
–  Grant proposals must align with mission or vision of the organization.
–  Money can only be used for purposes as stated in grant proposal.
–  Philanthropic giving does not require an application process.
–  Philanthropic support can come from anyone.
–  The amount or extent of gift is determined by donor.
–  Money can be used for purposes determined between donor and recipient.

4. Seven faces of philanthropic philosophy (Prince & File, 1994)
–  Communitarian: Doing good makes sense
–  Devout: Doing good is God’s will
–  Investor: Doing good is good business
–  Socialite: Doing good is fun
–  Altruist: Doing good feels right
–  Re-payer: Doing good in return
–  Dynast: Doing good is family tradition

5. Insights and Recommendations based on experiences of the speakers
–  Each donor relationship is different.
–  It is critical to establish clear expectations at the start of a relationship to ensure you are not unexpectedly required to provide data, outcomes, or information.
–  Do your best to keep the focus on the clinical realities to establish realistic expectations.
–  Be aware of the funding available and how/whether it will be renewed/replenished

About the AMTA-Pro speakers

Annie Heiderscheit, Ph.D., MT-BC, FAMI, LMFT, has over 25 years of clinical experience as a board certified music therapist in a variety of healthcare environments from major medical centers to clinic settings. She has over 15 years of experience teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in music therapy, music and healing, creative arts and healing, as well as healing imagery. She maintains a clinical practice at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, as well as a music therapy private practice. She conducts research utilizing music therapy and music interventions with clients with eating disorders, adults receiving mechanical ventilation, as well as hospitalized and critically ill children. Dr. Heiderscheit also directs the Master of Music Therapy program at Augsburg College. She is widely published regarding her clinical work and research. In fall 2015, her book entitled, Creative Arts Therapies in Eating Disorder Treatment was published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Jana Skrien Koppula, MT-BC, is currently pursuing her Masters of Music Therapy at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, MN.  She has been board certified for over 10 years, and has worked with a variety of populations including hospice, oncology, Parkinson’s disease, eating disorders, dementia, and most recently, hospital based pediatrics.  Her most recent work was piloting a music therapy program in an outpatient infusion clinic at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital.  She recently moved to Los Angeles, CA, and is pursuing clinical work in various sites in the area.


Blum, D. E. (2002). Ties that bind. Chronicle of Philanthropy, 14(11).

Hall, H. (2005). Dealing with demanding donors. Chronicle of Philanthropy, 17(12), 36-39.

Lander, S. C. (1998). What is a good gift decision? Negotiating the gift. Trusts & Estates, 137(7), 23.

McDonald, K., Scaife, W., & Smyllie, S. (2011). Give and take in major gift relationships. Australian Journal of Social Issues, 46(2), 163-182.

McGee, S. (2006). Personal passions. Barron’s, 86(48), 27-28,31.

Ostrander, S. A. (2007).  The growth of donor control:  revisiting the social relations of philanthropy. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 36(2), 356-372.

Prince, R. A., 1958, & File, K. (1994). The seven faces of philanthropy: A new approach to cultivating major donors (1st ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Schervish, P. G. (2007). Is today’s philanthropy failing beneficiaries? Always a risk, but not for the most part. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 36(2), 373-379.