BMI Foundation Expands Curtis Mayfield Scholarship to Atlanta

NEW YORK, NY ― April 9, 2019 ― The BMI Foundation, in partnership with the Curtis Mayfield Foundation, has announced the expansion of the Curtis Mayfield Scholarship to Atlanta, Georgia. The $3,000 grant, awarded according to both need and musical merit, will be presented annually to an exemplary graduating senior at Tri-Cities High School, a public 4-year arts magnet school whose alumni include Cheaa Mayfield, a son of the legendary songwriter and performer. The Tri-Cities program will be in addition to the one currently in place at Chicago High School for the Arts. Preference will be given to students going on to pursue college majors in performance, composition and songwriting.   

“We are excited for the opportunity to expand our partnership with the Mayfield family,” said BMI Foundation President Deirdre Chadwick. “Their generosity and desire to see Curtis Mayfield’s legacy shine through music education in schools is admirable and deeply inspiring.”

The establishment of the scholarship marks the 40th anniversary of the Curtis Mayfield family's move from Chicago to Atlanta, and the official beginning of Mayfield’s pioneering work to make Atlanta a music industry capital.

"It's especially fitting that we present this award in Curtis' name in his adopted hometown, where his children grew up, his solo career really took flight and where he helped give birth to a thriving entertainment community that is now known the world over," said Altheida Mayfield, the widow of Curtis Mayfield.

This scholarship program honors the memory of the iconic Chicago-born songwriter, musician and producer whose prolific career and legacy includes such hits as “Superfly,” “People Get Ready,” “Move On Up,” “Do Do Wap is Strong in Here,” and “It’s All Right”, as well as the numerous soundtracks he created for film. The socially conscious soul singer’s music still continues to be a source of inspiration to music lovers and musicians worldwide.

Many of Mayfield’s songs, including “Keep On Pushing” and “We’re a Winner,” became cornerstones of the Civil Rights Movement, often sung as freedom songs during marches, freedom rides and protests. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. even named Mayfield’s “People Get Ready” as the Movement’s unofficial anthem.

Mayfield first gained recognition and acclaim as a member of The Impressions in the 1960’s before going on to have a successful decades-long solo career. He won a Grammy Legend Award in 1994 and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995. He was a two-time Grammy Hall of Fame inductee, as well as a double inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as a member of The Impressions in 1991, and then again in 1999 as a solo artist.

About the BMI Foundation

The BMI Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded in 1985 to encourage the creation, performance, and study of American music. The Foundation’s programs include competitive scholarships for songwriters and composers, operating grants for nonprofit arts presenters, and support for innovative music education initiatives in schools and communities across the country. For more information about the work of the Foundation, please visit our website at For exclusive news and content, follow @bmifoundation on Twitter and Instagram, and like “BMI Foundation” on Facebook at