Mary Ellen Northrop spent the majority of her life in Wilmington, Delaware and after she passed in 2021, she gifted $10 million as part of her estate to The Music School of Delaware. Northrop was an active music lover and she wanted to ensure children of all backgrounds would be able to learn and enjoy music.
The Music School of Delaware celebrated her thoughtful gift by honoring Northrop’s memory during a January event. The donation will be used to help fund scholarships for students.
“It is just an incredible gift that will really help connect children in Delaware to musical opportunities,” says Kate Ransom, executive director of The Music School of Delaware. “For some kids, this will be a life-changer.”
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 instrument and vocal classes as well as programming and summer camps for preschoolers and youth starting at 6 months old through high school, with additional opportunities for adults. The gift will allow the school to fund more than 80 students per year.
Board Chair John du Pont says families eligible for the Mary Ellen Northrop Endowed Fund for Music Education are those making less than $150,000 per year and who are U.S. citizens. Plus, the fund will give qualifying students two years of financial assistance.
The school has locations in Wilmington and Milford.
Learn more about the Mary Ellen Northrop Endowed Fund at musicschoolofdelaware.org.