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Nine Canadian not-for-profits will benefit from a new initiative from the Polaris Music Prize and non-profit trade organization Music Canada "to support and develop the music community by eliminating barriers to access for engaged music creators, entrepreneurs and change makers," according to a press release issued today.

The Polaris Community Development Program will support 10 Canadian not-for-profit music organizations each year "to support and develop the music community by eliminating barriers to access for engaged music creators, entrepreneurs and change makers."

Nine have been confirmed to date: ArtsCan Circle, Art Starts, Honey Jam, Manifesto, Native Women in the Arts, Rise Edutainment, Singing OUT, The Remix Project, and UrbanArts. As examples, ArtsCan Circle has delivered thousands of harmonicas and gives music lessons to kids in remote Indigenous communities and Honey Jam has provided a showcase and workshops for young aspiring female artists (Nelly Furtado was discovered there).

"Our objective is to provide aspiring music professionals, who normally lack the means or access to music events, an opportunity to participate in the industry and community that Polaris attracts," Polaris Music Prize founder and executive director Steve Jordan said in a press statement. "Our hope is that by lifting these barriers we can in a small way help develop diversity in the next generation of music supporters and protectors."

The annual Polaris Music Prize -- which recognizes the album of the year, as determined by a jury pool of music journalists, broadcasters and bloggers -- takes place this Monday (Sept. 17) at Toronto’s The Carlu.  Each of the Polaris Community Development Program participants have received tickets to the gala to distribute to individuals who participate in or have benefited from their music programming.

The Polaris Community Development Program also offers additional opportunities for participants to connect with Polaris staff, jurors, board members and other industry members on the night of the gala.

"Music Canada is committed to challenging the status quo and advancing practical solutions to improve equity and representation in the Canadian music industry," Amy Terrill, executive vice-president of Music Canada and Polaris board chair, said in a statement. "Polaris Music Prize, an organization focused on artistic excellence with a history of celebrating diverse sounds and viewpoints, is the perfect host for this program."

Claire Dagenais, event and admin manager, told Billboard, "Essentially we're hoping to have a mini, informal welcome meet up for the CDP ticket recipients some of whom may have never attended an industry event, which can sometimes be a bit intimidating. So we're hoping by introducing them to some friendly industry ambassadors from our jury, our board, our HQ and Music Canada that they feel like they have people they can talk to throughout the night and make it a little less intimidating. Some ticket recipients will have been to industry events and won't feel intimidated at all."

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