Cleveland Foundation Now Accepting Applications for the A. Grace Lee Mims Vocal Scholarship 

Award up to $10,000 supports African American vocal students pursuing graduate-level study in vocal or music education

Now through March 15, we’re accepting applications for the A. Grace Lee Mims Vocal Scholarship, an award up to $10,000 that supports African American vocal students who are U.S. citizens and pursuing graduate-level study in vocal performance or music education, with an emphasis on voice. 

Candidates must be committed to preserving the art form of Negro spiritual singing, as exemplified by Roland Hayes, Paul Robeson, Marian Anderson, Leontyne Price, Jessye Norman, Kathleen Battle and others. The primary purpose of this award is to perpetuate the singing of the Negro spiritual through performance and/or teaching, so that this art form, created by African American slaves in the Diaspora, will remain alive. 

Eligibility: Candidates must be enrolled full time at a recognized and accredited institution (conservatory, college, university, etc.) for graduate-level course work toward a master’s or doctoral degree in vocal performance or music education, with an emphasis on voice, in order to perpetuate the singing of the Negro spiritual through performance and/or teaching. 

Application method: Submit a General Application and Basic Requirements through our Scholarship Gateway. Visit our How to Apply page first for application instructions and tips.

Additional/Special requirements for application: In addition to submitting the General Application and Basic Requirements, applicants must submit the following:

  • Three letters of recommendation from voice teachers or music professors attesting to the applicant’s musical talent, moral character, and dedication to the survival of the Negro spiritual
  • An audio tape or CD of a recent performance (concert or recital) and photo
  • Three music programs reflecting at least a two-year span and including the applicant’s performance of Negro spirituals
  • A personal statement describing your commitment to ensure the preservation of the Negro spiritual through your performance or teaching career
  • A detailed budget for your academic year’s educational expenses including scholarships, fellowships, grants, and loans
  • A photograph of yourself

Selection process: A panel of judges comprising persons associated with the purpose of the fund will choose scholarship finalists. 

Award process: The award amount for the academic year is a maximum of $10,000. Awards must be applied to tuition, fees, books, supplies, and equipment required for the course. Formal notification of scholarship award will be made by the Cleveland Foundation to the selected recipient(s).

Recipient requirements: (Second semester funding is contingent upon meeting the scholarship requirements as listed below.)

  1. Maintain full-time enrollment status
  2. Email a grade report to the Scholarship team for each term (min 2.0 GPA required)
  3. A thank you note to the donors and selection committee members for this fund is not required but always appreciated and may be sent via email

Renewal: The General Application must be submitted each year for consideration of this award. Students can be awarded each year for up to a maximum of 2 total years of support.

Questions? Contact Scholarship Administration via (216) 615-7164 or

The Cleveland Foundation has more than 60 different scholarship funds. Since 1987, these funds have awarded more than $54 million. Learn more about our scholarship funds and browse the full listing of available scholarships here.    

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