Delaware School of Music receives $10 million gift from donor

Photo courtesy of Delaware School of Music

A former Wilmington resident is making a transformational $10 million gift to the Music School of Delaware from her estate.

Mary Ellen Northrop spent most of her life in Wilmington, Delaware and after her death in 2021, she donated $10 million as part of her estate to the Music School of Delaware. Northrop was an active music lover, and she wanted to make sure children from all walks of life could learn and enjoy music.

Photo courtesy of Delaware School of Music

The Delaware School of Music celebrated his thoughtful gift by honoring Northrop’s memory at an event in January. The donation will be used to finance scholarships for the students.

“It’s just an amazing gift that will really help Delaware kids connect to musical opportunities,” said Kate Ransom, executive director of the Music School of Delaware. “For some children, it will be life changing.”

The gift was also unexpected, while Northrop was a music lover who had lived in Wilmington for part of her life, she was not an active patron or donor to the school.

The school offers instrumental and vocal lessons as well as programs and summer camps for preschoolers and youth from 6 months through high school, with additional opportunities for adults. The donation will allow the school to finance more than 80 students per year.

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Photo courtesy of Delaware School of Music

Board Chairman John du Pont said families eligible for the Mary Ellen Northrop Endowment Fund for Music Education are those who earn less than $150,000 a year and are US citizens. In addition, the fund will provide eligible students with two years of financial aid.

The school has locations in Wilmington and Milford.

Learn more about the Mary Ellen Northrop Endowment Fund at musicschoolofdelaware.org.

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