Soundscapes, Inc.
11009 Warwick Boulevard
Suite 215
Newport News VA 23601-3291
Mission Statement
Soundscapes is a free, nonprofit intervention and educational development organization teaching transformative life skills to community disadvantaged youth, using intensive music study and frequent ensemble performance.
  
Its model has developed since 2009 in Newport News, Virginia, at Carver Elementary, a Title 1 under performing school with  a student poverty and minority demographic of more than 80%. It offers four levels of training to 400 children, ages 6-14 in after school and summer classes that provide between 128 and 384 hours of instruction each year. In FY 2016 Soundscapes expanded its services to five under performing public schools in Newport News and hopes to add more schools in FY 2018, beginning in July, 2017.
Soundscapes participates in a rapidly-growing global movement with both social and musical goals. It believes that intensive group classical music study and ensemble performance can, over time, change the lives of needy children and make them productive contributors to society.
 
The programs and equipment are free. Classes, called nucleos, support children for multiple years and are held in the depressed neighborhoods. They serve as safe and nurturing alternate model societies where professional artist faculty, assisted by behavioral specialists, interns, and volunteer mentors, work to engage children, inspire them to succeed, and then, through the demands of frequent performance, challenge them to excel. Orchestral music requires concentration, mental flexibility, and teamwork: the same skills essential for successful  future employment.
 
 
Web and Social Media
Multi-Media Comments See www.soundscapes.org for selection of videos. Efforts to change these uploads were unsuccessful. In fact, editing any fields was made difficult by the program refusing to accept changes in content.
Leadership
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Anne Wythe Henry
Board Chair Mr. Robert R. Hatten
Board Chair Company Affiliation Patten, Wornom, Hatten and Diamonstein, attorneys
Contact Information
Address 11009 Warwick Boulevard
Suite 215
Newport News, VA 236013291
Telephone 757 273-6178
Fax 888 466-1352
E-mail ahenry@soundscapeshr.org
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 2010
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expense Bar Graph - All Years
Expense Breakdown Bar Chart - All Years
 
 
Projected Revenue $535,000.00
Projected Expenses $535,001.00
Additional Documents
ssmou2016View
Soundscapes MOU with Newport News Schools2015View
We are sending our development plan under separate cover.
Statements
Mission
Soundscapes is a free, nonprofit intervention and educational development organization teaching transformative life skills to community disadvantaged youth, using intensive music study and frequent ensemble performance.
  
Its model has developed since 2009 in Newport News, Virginia, at Carver Elementary, a Title 1 under performing school with  a student poverty and minority demographic of more than 80%. It offers four levels of training to 400 children, ages 6-14 in after school and summer classes that provide between 128 and 384 hours of instruction each year. In FY 2016 Soundscapes expanded its services to five under performing public schools in Newport News and hopes to add more schools in FY 2018, beginning in July, 2017.
Soundscapes participates in a rapidly-growing global movement with both social and musical goals. It believes that intensive group classical music study and ensemble performance can, over time, change the lives of needy children and make them productive contributors to society.
 
The programs and equipment are free. Classes, called nucleos, support children for multiple years and are held in the depressed neighborhoods. They serve as safe and nurturing alternate model societies where professional artist faculty, assisted by behavioral specialists, interns, and volunteer mentors, work to engage children, inspire them to succeed, and then, through the demands of frequent performance, challenge them to excel. Orchestral music requires concentration, mental flexibility, and teamwork: the same skills essential for successful  future employment.
 
 
Impact
Fiscal year 2016
  1. Expand elementary  and middle school model to serve grades 1-6.  DONE
  2. Launch custom dual behavioral-academic assessment rubric to track student progress. DONE
  3. Increase public support. Soundscapes received GOS from the Virginia Commission for the Arts, and was awarded an allocation of $33,000 from the city of Newport News. For the first time, NNPS provided $40,500 in grant funds to support Soundscapes' expansion into three additional schools. DONE
  4. Increase Level 1 students to 50; add weekly FUNdamentals program for 2nd and 3rd graders to prepare them for admission when vacancies occur during school year. DONE
  5. Update 3-year strategic plan. Completed in September, 2016. 
 
FY2017
  1. Find partner to help fund middle school. DONE.
  2. Refine data collection areas with NNPS. ONGOING
  3. Obtain agreement with NNPS to jointly submit applications for state and federal cash grants. AGREED by NNPS for FY 2018. 
  4. Refine 45-unit assessment rubric. DONE.
  5. Expand Board to 17 and complete filling slots for Advisory Groups on Programs, Finances and Development. IN PROCESS 
Needs
  1. Obtain/increase cash support from public sector.  DONE
  2. Build capacity with area corporations/ individuals through NAP credits and special events. NAP Certification reapproved. Inaugurated charity golf tournament. Estabishing Corporate Council
  3. Improve outreach and marketing. Marketing brand complete FY2016. Mid level personnel added FY 2016. Marketing staff increased FY 2017.
  4. Expand board to 17. In Process.
  5. Adopt updated strategic plan. DONE
Background
Soundscapes was co-founded in 2009 by Hampton native and architect Anne W. Henry and professional music educator Reynaldo Ramirez, who had worked previously as Director of Education for the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. It was incorporated in February 2010 and received its IRS Certificate of Exemption in April 2013. 
 
It retains a leadership role within the rapidly-expanding El Sistema USA movement and has two senior staff serving on the national El Sistema USA board. One leading national music educator has ranked Soundscapes as the No#1 program among mid-sized cities in the nation.
 
The goal of the program is to create good citizens who will succeed in life and in the workplace. We seek to change the life trajectory of disadvantaged children by providing positive learning environments, strong mentors, and encouraging the development of  self-motivated, self confident, non-violent behaviors. Instruction is arranged to create a scaffold to carry children towards high school graduation and entry into the workforce.
 
Benefits of the approach are the development of strong executive functions, the brain's cortical "air traffic control" that supervises many of the skills needed for success in the 21st century workplace. Music training also spurs learning in multiple academic subjects.
 
The programs begin in 1st grade, and in FY 2017 will continue through grade 8, with classes arranged according to four levels of Readiness: Level 1, Musical Basics; Level 2, Instrument Mastery; Level 3, Ensemble Performance; Level 4, Middle School Academy Orchestral and Civic Leadership.  In FY 2017 Soundscapes is partnering with the 50-year old Peninsula Youth Orchestra to place its middle school academy students, tuition free, in that program, and to provide additional professional teachers to PYO to strengthen its faculty. PYO classes take place at nearby Crittenden Middle School, allowing Soundscapes academic students to receive leadership training by mentoring Carver students.
 
A volunteer board of 12 community leaders meets 11 times per year to manage policy for the organization. 
CEO Statement
One of the greatest challenges facing Soundscapes is the common popular belief among public school leaders and many potential donors that music provides few inherent benefits to the learning process. Their current focus is on test results and STEM, with heavy reliance on SOL test preparation and analysis of scores.
 
Scientific studies are now showing clearly that intensive music training has intrinsic benefits that create dramatic improvements in both academics and pro-social behavior.Well-trained young musicians score higher on academic and life skills tests and intensive music training can mitigate the deprivation in early brain development among children raised in poverty. Of critical importance is the positive result that music has on strengthening a child's ability to control the aggressive tendencies that are integral to living in poverty. Uncontrolled aggression leads to violence; it is useless to wait until adolescence to train youth to overcome the negative influences that surround them from an early age.
 
Because music is joyful, it opens up young minds to other forms of learning, encouraging creativity, curiosity, teamwork,and other skills that are essential to success in the workplace. Music performance requires that students apply what they learn; for example, reading music applies the use of fractions and performing in an orchestra demands keen observation, quick memory recall and flexible thinking.
 
Soundscapes does not try to replace public school education, but uses music to enhance an at-risk child's ability to have a positive outlook about learning and the drive to succeed. 
 
Soundscapes uses SOL results, but it maintains its focus on the whole child. Its assessments are taken twice each year to measure improvements, to track attendance and disciplinary actions, and to gauge leadership skills. The learning gap among at-risk children tends to increase through the years. Soundscapes works to make the gap steady or close. It also wants to see if academic scores improve more among Soundscapes students who remain in the program for multiple years.
Board Chair Statement

I am Bobby Hatten, Board Director of Soundscapes since 2009 and its current Chairman. I am managing partner of the Peninsula law firm, Patten, Wornom, Hatten & Diamonstein (PWHD), and have long been active in community affairs, serve on numerous local boards and have twice chaired the annual Peninsula United Way.

I am proud of my city and try to make it better through volunteer leadership positions and financial support of worthwhile non-profits. My participation with Soundscapes has enriched my life greatly.

One of every four children in Newport News lives in poverty. Most of them are African Americans whose stressful, often chaotic, lives may lead them to drop out and give up on school, careers, and their communities. Newport News is fortunate to be the home of the Achievable Dream Academy, but this fine institution can only handle a fraction of the need. The high-tech employment market in Hampton Roads demands self-confident go-getters who understand the importance of teamwork and can accomplish goals on time and within budget.

Soundscapes uses intensive music study and frequent performance to give at-risk kids the skills to overcome their environments and become productive students and future community leaders. The program gives kids hope; it gives them drive; it teaches them self-motivation; it helps them perform better in school; and it will make them the future leaders of our city. They learn to control aggressive behavior before it can evolve into violence, and it is violence that is the Number #1 health risk in the United States, at least according to the Centers for Disease Control.


Soundscapes participates in a national and international movement to effect social change through intensive music instruction. It is based on a paradigm that is now under development on every continent except Antarctica.


Our program is not cheap, but $1,350 per child is a lot cheaper than the $54,000 per year that Newport News taxpayers are contributing towards juvenile detention for one delinquent. The costs of adult education, drug treatment, and teenage pregnancy only add to the tax bill.

Soundscapes is free to its students, who improve over several years. First, we see better school attendance and a decline in disciplinary actions. This is followed by prosocial behavior, then higher test scores in multiple subjects. Our fifth graders are winning the top awards in their class and have a strong presence on the honor roll. Dramatic evidence of self-motivation is showing up before these children reach middle school; we have fourth graders who want to start their own combo bands and are asking our teaching artist faculty how to cut a record and sell it.

After seven years, the Newport News School Division recognized that our kind of arts instruction and intervention is working, and we are now an integral part of a new public school initiative for youth development city-wide. Our role will expand fourfold in FY 2017, and with direct cash support from the school system.

We are constantly refining our model, and welcome visits from other community leaders who may want to create a program like ours. Come see us or visit www.soundscapes.org.

 
 
Areas of Service
Areas Served
Area
Hampton Roads
Soundscapes serves the most under producing Title 1 elementary schools in Newport News, which have a majority minority population, average income nearly 50% below the state average, lower graduation rates, and college attainment, and the city's highest unemployment, crime, drug and teen pregnancy rates.We focus on serving Newport News, which is tied with Richmond with seven unaccredited schools in the district.
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Robert R. Hatten
Company Affiliation Patten, Wornom, Hatten and Diamonstein, attorneys
Term Sept 2011 to Sept 2016
Email rrhatten@pwhd.com
Board of Directors
Board Members
NameAffiliation
Mr Joseph Barto III Founder and President, Training Modernization Group
The Hon. Bert Bateman Newport News City Council; Vice President, TowneBank.
Ms. Claire Miller Bellecci Pres and CEO, Mellen Creative
Mr. Whiting Chisman Investments
The Hon. Alan Diamonstein Sr. Partner, Patten Wornom, Hatten, Diamonstein
Mr. William M. Grace President and CEO, Grace Industries
Mr. Robert R. Hatten Sr. Partner, Patten Wornom Hatten Diamonstein, LLC
Ms. Anne Wythe Henry Founder and Executive Director
Mr. John Holt Retired Maritime executive
Dr. Wayne Lett Retired Superintendent, Newport News Schools
Mr. Donald Ragland CFO, New Horizons Regional Education Centers
Mr. Reynaldo Ramirez Founder and Program Director, Soundscapes
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 10
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 10
Female 2
Governance
Board Term Lengths 4
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 75
Written Board Selection Criteria? Under Development
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 0
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 11
Standing Committees
Communications / Promotion / Publicity / Public Relations
Advisory Board / Advisory Council
Board Governance
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Executive
Finance
Other Boards
The tables below contain information about other groups that advise this nonprofit on operations and projects.
Comments
Soundscapes was founded during the worst economic recession since the Great Depression.  Efforts to secure public cash support were stymied by budget cuts in the city and in the school district.  Recruitment of additional board members was slowed by the heavy reliance on private funding and the need to achieve more financial sustainability.  Although Soundscapes has and continues to operate in the black each year, it has been a struggle. 
 
 The newly approved updated strategic plan does not call for active expansion into new geographic areas; rather, Soundscapes will continue to refine its model as it expands into high school and will encourage other communities to observe its protocols for possible adoption in additional areas. Board recruitment is a constant task, since board members are directly responsible for raising funds, and Newport News has a high poverty rate, few locally owned businesses and fewer charitable foundations.
 
Executive Director
Executive Director Ms. Anne Wythe Henry
Experience
A native of Hampton, Virginia, Anne W. Henry holds degrees from Harvard, The Institute of Fine Arts at NYU, and Princeton University. She worked with public television station WGBH in Boston, co-authored a book on historic preservation with well-known "This Old House" host Bob Vila, and later served as a senior editor for Microsoft's web site before returning to the Peninsula to co-found Soundscapes. She is a LEEDS-AP certified architectural manager and worked at Rancorn Wildman in Newport News before increasing her involvement at Soundscapes. She received the 2016 Humanitarian Award from the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities VCIC).
Co-CEO
Co-CEO Mr. Reynaldo Ramirez
Term Start Sept 2009
Email rramirez@soundscapeshr.org
Experience
Rey Ramirez has reached more than 100,000 children during his career as a musician and music educator. He holds a degree in Music from the well-known program at North Texas University and received a M.A. in Music Education from the University of Las Vegas. A practicing musician on the French Horn, he continues to perform and give lessons.  He has played with the symphony orchestras in Las Vegas and Abilene, among others, and worked as the Director of Education for the Virginia Symphony Orchestra before moving into the same position with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. While in Baltimore, Ramirez worked with the El Sistema program there, ORCHkids, which gave him valuable experience with the global paradigm. He resigned from the BSO in 2009 to return to Hampton Roads to co-found Soundscapes. Ramirez serves as treasurer on the executive committee of the board of the newly organized professional alliance of El Sistema USA. El Sistema founder Dr. Jose Abreu invited him to teach in Venezuela in July 2013, and he is featured  as a "Game Changer" in a major interview being aired internationally by a Chinese, English language television company.
Ramirez was among 20 national music educators invited to attend a round table discussion at the Kennedy Center on music programs for disabled children.
 
He serves as Program and Artistic Director but is a direct report to the Board of Directors.
 
 
 
Senior Staff
NameTitle
Mr. Joe Hamm Program and Media Coordinator
Ms. Anne Wythe Henry Executive Director
Ms. Conover Hunt Communications DirecctorE
Mr. Reynaldo Ramirez Program/Artistic Director
Staff
Full Time Staff 3
Part Time Staff 9
Volunteers 20
Contractors 4
Retention Rate 75
Plans
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 3
Date Strategic Plan Adopted Sept 2016
Management Succession Plan? Under Development
Organization Policy and Procedures Under Development
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
Collaborations
Soundscapes collaborates with the Newport News Public Schools in operating its programs. Both agencies sign an MOU annually, which details the goods and services to be provided. In FY 2017 Soundscapes will partner with Peninsula Youth Orchestra in the operation of its middle school academy.
Awards
Awards
Award/RecognitionOrganizationYear
One of three charities named in first All City Marathon.City of Newport News2015
Anne W. Henry,Virginiaa Center for Inclusive Communities2016
Programs
Description
Classes are arranged according to 4 Levels of Readiness, advancing in complexity from basic Level 1 Music to Level 4 Academy and Civic Leadership. In addition, Soundscapes has a fast-track FUNdamentals program for wait-listed 2rd and 3th graders to ease their transition into regular Level 2 classes as vacancies occur. Soundscapes partners with Newport News Schools in SPARK, a summer program for 2,000 of the city's neediest children and expanded into three additional schools, with funding, in July 2016.
 
The SPARK elementary classes for 180 children in grades 3-5 are a streamlined music education and behavior modification program using bucket band and recorder.
 
Instruction advances according to mastery of life skills, the foundation for successful participation in ensemble performances. Concerts increase from 6 for Level 1 to as many as 30 for Level 3 and 4. 5th graders who complete 5 continuous years in Soundscapes have more than 1,400 hours of intensive music training and performance.
 
Population Served Children Only (5 - 14 years)
Budget $350,000.00
Short Term Success Short term: increase students served; expand public support; expand corporate involvement; implement and refine dual assessment rubric.
Long Term Success
Over the long term, 100% of students will graduate from high school; academic test scores will help reduce the learning gap; graduates will have skills needed for employment. There will be few instances of criminal involvement, truancy, drugs, and behavioral problems.
CEO/ED/Board Comments
As a start up organization, Soundscapes has grown annually from one program serving 40 first grade children to one serving all levels in elementary school and grades 6-8 in middle school.
 
Children from severely socio-economically disadvantaged homes have a great deal of stress in their daily lives and Soundscapes has had to massage its programs to accommodate behavioral and learning disabilities that vary widely. On average, 22% of its students are classified as disabled with special educational programs in place.
 
The program curriculum was rearranged in FY 2012 into three levels of "Readiness," which allow faculty to advance each student to a higher level according to their command of the key elements involved. Level 1 Music Readiness requires children to absorb the basic prosocial life skills essential to future success in orchestral performance. It also teaches the language of music, trains audio capacities and instills the rudiments of instrumentation and group performance. Level 2, Instrument Readiness, trains each child in a pre-selected free instrument and allows him or her to begin ensemble training. Children who change their instrument track remain in Level 2 until they master their new instrument. Level 2 also completes lessons in reading music, which requires competence in the use of fractions.  Level 3 accommodates several grades and demands that its students attain a certain level of mastery in ensemble performance.  By Level 3, positive life skills are well internalized and externalized and the students have confidence in their music.  Soundscapes's middle school academy concentrates on increasing instrument and orchestral competencies and training leaders by having students instruct children on lower levels of readiness. Because public schools offer band, orchestra and chorus in middle and high school, all middle school students are required to enroll in at least one public school music program, in addition to their ongoing commitment to Soundscapes.
 
 
 
 
Fiscal Year
Projected Revenue $535,000.00
Projected Expenses $535,001.00
Endowment Value $0.00
Spending Policy N/A
Form 990s
IRS Letter of Exemption
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201520142013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$91,605--$84,500
Government Contributions$47,728$41,800$10,600
Federal------
State$9,010----
Local$6,504--$10,600
Unspecified$32,214$41,800--
Individual Contributions$248,006$355,321$180,794
--$0--
$950$2,584$700
Investment Income, Net of Losses$2$627$85
Membership Dues--$0--
Special Events--$0$9,021
Revenue In-Kind$10,531$1,703$30,108
Other$595$0--
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$264,542$240,293$214,771
Administration Expense$94,926$76,268$62,627
Fundraising Expense$33,453$18,821$34,411
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.021.201.01
Program Expense/Total Expenses67%72%69%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue9%5%12%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$107,121$97,712$45,251
Current Assets$62,877$60,466$13,557
Long-Term Liabilities$589$0--
Current Liabilities$16,835$14,511$28,703
Total Net Assets$89,697$83,201$16,548
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities3.734.170.47
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets1%0%0%
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No
State Charitable Solicitaions Permit
Solicitations Permit
Solicitations Permit 11/2016View
Comments
Foundation Comments
  • Form 990 and audit prepared by BlackHeath Company, PLC.
  • Financial information provided by audit, with supplemental information from the Form 990