Ralla Klepak Foundation for Education in the Performing Arts Makes Transformative $1 Million Gift to Support Merit Music in Communities

A collage: a young child holding a violin, several cellists in a gym, and a child playing cello for a teacher

Merit was founded upon the belief that “Talent is equally distributed, but opportunity is not,” and our mission to bring that opportunity for excellence in music education to students of all backgrounds throughout Chicagoland. Thanks to the partnership of many generous individuals and institutional partners, we are able to deliver upon this mission 365 days a year.

Today, Merit is excited to highlight one such partnership and celebrate the generosity of the Ralla Klepak Foundation for Education in the Performing Arts. Ralla Klepak was an educator, attorney, and fierce advocate for disadvantaged youth and individuals with disabilities. She believed that providing education and opportunities in the performing arts would bring future generations together through a mutual appreciation and love for the performing arts. 

The Ralla Klepak Foundation for Education in the Performing Arts was founded in 2019 to support performing arts programs that bring Ralla’s vision to life. These programs will be her legacy for years to come. Since 2019, Merit has been fortunate to receive generous support from the foundation for a myriad of activities, with a particular focus on expansion and enhancement of our Merit Music in Communities (MMiC) program. On May 14 at Merit’s annual Gala, we were thrilled to announce that the Foundation has granted Merit a transformative gift of $1,000,000 to establish the Ralla Klepak Merit Music in Communities Sustainability and Innovation Fund. This fund will provide support for existing program components as well as newer sites in high-needs communities that are eager for expansion and growth.

We are truly grateful to the Ralla Klepak Foundation for its support and the privilege to honor of Ralla Klepak, a remarkable woman dedicated to “performing arts programs that support the disabled and disadvantaged.” Students in our MMiC program will reap the benefits of this generous gift and grow through music for years to come.

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