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Music for Health Funding

GRSMA is fortunate to have violinist Diane McElfish Helle among our ranks! Her work in founding and leading the GRS’s Music for Health initiative as its Program Administrator has been exemplary. Thanks to Diane’s tireless efforts, Music for Health has secured funding from the organization Women Who Care, Kent County, whose motto is “When Women Support Each Other, Incredible Things Happen.” They certainly do!


Membership in Women Who Care, Kent County is open to all women residing in west Michigan.  For their quarterly gatherings, members submit the names of local 501(c)3 organizations seeking funding for specific projects. Three names are drawn in advance, and the members whose submissions were chosen each give a five-minute presentation on what their organization does and what specific projects would be supported, followed immediately by 5 minutes of answering questions. After the final presentation, all the members vote and a single recipient is chosen. Then each member writes a $100 check directly to that non-profit organization.


Diane joined Women Who Care two years ago, and she has been repeatedly submitting Music for Health for consideration. After hearing her presentation on March 1, 2023, the group voted to put its quarterly funding to Music for Health. Members were impressed that all of the GRS Music for Health work is backed by clinical neuro-scientific research and that the projects put forth included both expanding live sessions with patients and new access to the recorded Meditations that have been available only to inpatients and their families at five Grand Rapids hospitals. Checks totaling $12,150 were presented to the Grand Rapids Symphony on March 22 with some additional matching funds expected. 


“We are so grateful for this generous donation from Women Who Care that will enable us to realize both of the projects we proposed,” Diane said. “We will soon be able to offer our Meditations to anyone who wants to access them through the major streaming services. And we now have funding to help us pursue live music therapy support programs with new healthcare partners or re-start programs which were interrupted by Covid. This funding could not come at a better time!” 


A violinist with the GRS since 1980, Diane McElfish Helle has served on countless GRSMA committees. Our GRSMA newsletter has featured her several times, including an article from December 2017 about the Music for Health program and a Music Profile in our January 2020 issue Thank you Diane for your dedicated work to our organizations!

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GRS VP of Development Michael Naess and Diane McElfish Helle receive the check from Women Who Care representatives. (Photo Credit: Jamie Geysbeek Photography)

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