Musician Changemaker Accelerator Academy: 2nd Artist Cohort

Musician Changemaker Accelerator Academy: 2nd Artist Cohort

Musician Changemaker Accelerator Academy: 2nd Artist Cohort (23-24)
Social change incubator helping musicians make a transformational impact in their communities

WILDER, VT, August 30th, 2023— Following the success of the 1st Musician Changemaker Accelerator Academy (MCA), national nonprofit Music to Life has launched its 2nd Academy with a new set of 10 socially conscious artists across genres and geographies. The MCA is a 7-month online incubator that partners with artists from around the country looking to take their music off the stage and into communities to make lasting social change. These musicians are connected to business training, mentorship and other resources that support their work, culminating in the development of a music-driven community change program, such as an environmental sustainability project presenting live music in gardens or a songwriting program delivered within prisons to address mental health crises.

The only leadership program of its kind for musicians, the MCA is a highly effective combination of entrepreneurship & social design instruction, 1:1 coaching, and strategic community engagement activities through which musicians build a theoretical and practical roadmap for making their concept a fundable reality. The MCA was developed from best-practice accelerator models in the tech, non-profit, and music industries and has been positively assessed by Americans for the Arts consultant, Barbara Schaffer Bacon, and the Tuck Consulting Group (at Dartmouth College’s Business School). 

“Our work around the country empowers musicians to put their creative ideas for community healing into practice,” says Liz Stookey Sunde, Co-Founder & Executive Director of Music to Life. “Our goal is to help musicians go beyond an issue-themed song or benefit concert to become proactive facilitators and co-creators of change— while also sustaining themselves financially and spiritually.”

The 2nd MCA artist cohort represents 10 states from California, to Idaho, to Florida. With 80% artists of color and a wide range of genres, like folk, hip-hop, and everything in between, the strength of the MCA lies in the diversity of lived experiences among its participants who join together in a supportive learning community. This cohort’s concepts for music-driven change address issues of youth mental health, anti-racism, workers rights and environmental justice and preservation.

The most valuable part of the MCA Academy? “Deepening my skills on the business side of things--becoming a more effective businessperson, grant writer, and strategist.” says Carla Gover, a member of the 1st MCA cohort. “I learned during the pandemic that my career, my ability to earn income, and my effectiveness as a social change artist NEED me to become a more skilled businessperson.”

The MCA is valued at over $7,500 per artist. Each artist receives a participation stipend, acquisition funding to engage with a nonprofit collaborator and matching grant funding. The MCA is made possible by the generosity of The Mellon Foundation, Hipgnosis Songs Fund and Music to Life’s individual contributors.

To learn more about the individual artists of the 2023-24 cohort, visit their artist pages down below. 


2023 MCA Cohort

Sariyah Idan
Andreína Maldonado
Nathan Sutter
Sydney + Brayden Guerrette
Dr. Keith Anderson
Z Saj
Eric Dozier
Elexa Dawson
Myles Bullen