National Museum of African American Music
618 Church Street, Suite 130
Nashville TN 37219-1816
Mission Statement

The National Museum of African American Music's mission is to educate the world, preserve the legacy, and celebrate the central role African Americans play in creating the American soundtrack.

CEO/Executive Director Mr. H. Beecher Hicks III
Board Chair Mr. Kevin Lavender
Board Chair Company Affiliation Fifth Third Bank
History & Background
Year of Incorporation 2002
Former Names
African American History Foundation of Nashville Inc
Organization's type of tax exempt status 501-C3
Financial Summary
Graph: Expense Breakdown Graph - All Years
Projected Expenses $610,859.00
Projected Annual Revenue $678,912.00 (2018)

The National Museum of African American Music's mission is to educate the world, preserve the legacy, and celebrate the central role African Americans play in creating the American soundtrack.

Background In 2000, various persons from the public and private sectors convened at the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce under the direction of Cal Turner to discuss the feasibility of establishing an African American museum in Nashville. Important visionaries at this time were Dr. T. B. Boyd and Francis Guess. By 2003, a major focus group was conducted with the community with meetings held under the leadership of Lord Cultural Resources.This yielded a Master Museum plan. In 2006 the Board secured $10M from the City of Nashville to construct the Museum building.  In February 2009, the Museum Board hired its first full time Executive Director and by 2010, the name was changed to the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) to reflect the focus of music.  In 2013, H. Beecher Hicks, III, a previous member of the Board was hired as President/CEO of the Museum and by 2014, the Museum consisted of four full time staff and a new location had been secured with the City's new development plans at Nashville's previous convention center on Broadway. In 2015 at a press conference, Mayor Karl Dean announced the City's redevelopment efforts of which NMAAM is a part. Groundbreaking on this site took place on April 17,  2017 with a scheduled opening date in late 2019.

National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) is a global destination for music lovers of all generations to be engaged, educated, and inspired surrounding the origins of American music.

NMAAM will celebrate the more than 50 music genres and subgenres created, influenced, or inspired by African Americans. The stories told by NMAAM are of remarkable, resilient and artistic people who have and continue to create music from Spirituals to Hip-Hop, Classical to Country.
NMAAM is revolutionary in programming and will install technological innovations like touch tables, virtual reality, apps, mixing and recording programs inside the museum. Technology enables NMAAM to provide a cost effective, sustainable, interactive, nimble format for bringing exhibitions to life. Once open to the public, NMAAM anticipates reaching 200,000+ visitors annually at the museum, bringing 200,000 new visitors to our city from around the globe to experience the soundtrack of America.
Nashville anxiously anticipates the completion of this new gem in the Music City crown. While we await the grand opening of the Museum, NMAAM is delivering education and community outreach programming to Middle Tennessee. These programs include adult and youth focused events and activities that expose residents and visitors to the inspiration and influence of African American on American music of the past and today.

In 2017, NMAAM experienced the following accomplishments:
- Broke ground on our permanent site in downtown Nashville
- Completed plans for the new building.
- Launched educators program for Middle Tennessee educators called Rivers of Rhythm Music and Culture Curriculum.
- Expanded youth and adult education and outreach music programs.
- Engaged more than 13,000 people in programming since the 2014 launch.
In 2018, NMAAM aims to achieve the following: 
- Develop a better understanding of the expectations of prospective museum visitors through audience research and name/branding of the Museum.
- Implement membership/annual fund campaigns which encourage smaller donations.
- Create broad community awareness of the project both locally and nationally. 
Needs NMAAM values community partnerships to reach new audiences with programming and exhibitions. We seek to expand our partnerships to continue to diversify our audiences for the Museum and our programs. Fundraising and Development will be an ongoing need to build and sustain the Museum and our programs. We seek to raise another $20 million for our capital campaign and to secure operating funds toward our annual budget of approximately $1.5 million to develop and implement public programs and educational opportunities throughout the year. We seek sponsorship partners for our individual programs and events throughout the year. These range between $2,500 and $100,000.  
Other ways to donate, support, or volunteer

NMAAM welcomes support from individuals, companies, foundations, and anyone who is interested in making an "investment" in this special project and programs. Currently, we seek major capital campaign donors to help fulfill our goal to build the Museum site in downtown Nashville. We also seek annual support for our operations and programs that are already impacting our community. Sponsorship opportunities are available for our programs and events. Fundraising and development will be an ongoing need to build and sustain the Museum and our programs. Please inquire with our office about these special opportunities.

You may visit our website to make a gift online. Checks and money orders may be mailed to our office.

Donations of products, goods or services are helpful. We welcome volunteers to plan and implement our programs and events throughout the year. Please call our office to learn more about how you can help with these donations of time, talent, services, and goods.

Service Categories
Primary Organization Category Arts,Culture & Humanities / Museums
Secondary Organization Category Education / Research Institutes & Public Policy Analysis
Tertiary Organization Category Arts,Culture & Humanities / Music
Areas of Service
Areas Served
The Museum will be nationally focused, but will also reach out to regional, state, and local entities/people.
Board Chair Statement Although NMAAM's Museum site will not be complete and open until late 2019, the organization has already begun making a significant impact on our city and communities as we operate as a "Museum Without Walls," delivering programming and events to people around Middle Tennessee. NMAAM is connecting audiences of all ages with artists and music that has been influenced and/or created by African Americans. Children are learning about home-made instruments, music and rhythm used by African American during the Civil War and Civil Rights era that has impacted some 50 different American music genres. 

There is no cultural institution in Tennessee that focuses on the major contributions of African Americans to the American soundtrack. NMAAM is our chance to create a welcoming museum that aims to bridge cultural and generational divides and differences by bringing communities together around music that creates an environment of inclusiveness. 
CEO Statement
Scheduled to open to the public in late 2019, NMAAM will offer a rhythmic entertainment and educational experience like no other. NMAAM will be a multi-sensory celebration of the more than 50 music genres and subgenres created, influenced or inspired by African Americans. NMAAM will make use of the latest technology to bring musical heroes of the past to the present, and transport visitors from all walks of life into the musical future. It will be the one place that celebrates the full richness African Americans have had on America’s music. The music that unfolds in this place is the soundtrack of the American story.
The Museum will have a meaningful impact – culturally, educationally and economically; regionally and around the country. NMAAM will provide approximately $10 million in annual economic impact to Middle Tennessee, deliver interactive music education programs around the country, welcome multi-cultural visitors from around the world, and employ a business model designed for sustainability.

The From Nothing to Something (FN2S) program is a series of one-hour programs consisting of one of six different musical presentations: Spoons, Harmonica, Cigar Box Guitars, Banjo, Lyrics and Washtub Bass. Programs on each instrument, led by artists, explore the musical history, techniques and other interesting stories/facts behind the instrument and lyrics.

FN2S is designed to educate young people about how a group of people, from different cultures, created instruments from memories and limited resources as well as used lyrics and song to tell stories and pass along traditions. Replicas of instruments were literally made out of nothing (household items or natural materials), and were used to create something wonderful – music!

Participants will learn how these hand made instruments and song lyrics influenced the development of different musical genres like Blues, Jazz, Country, Rock & Roll, Hip-Hop and more which created America’s music and culture. Participants will also learn how to write lyrics of their own modern-day experiences.

Budget $42,300
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Music Appreciation
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years), Adults,
Short Term Success Community partners like schools will enroll their students in this program and bring it to their schools. We hope to grow from 450 students in our first years to 1,500+ in future years.
Long term Success

By linking the traditional with non-traditional, NMAAM's From Nothing to Something provides hands-on music education by providing analytical thinking, decision-making and critical thinking skills for students through the musical instruments. FN2S is designed to enhance awareness, preservation, and sharing of musical traditions through the instruments that were used. NMAAM tracks participants experiences and levels of awareness before and after the program to track success toward these outcomes/goals.

Program Success Monitored By Our Education coordinator administers surveys and asks for feedback in other ways from educators, students and the participating instructor/artists to gauge success.
Examples of Program Success NMAAM aims to raise awareness of and to build appreciation among children and adults the impact of African Americans on American music and culture.  We also know that we are building a future museum-going audience. We hope to see these children and adults participating in our programs visit our museum.

Increasingly Nashville is attracting diverse professionals from different parts of the country who are seeking to formally network- and informally learn about opportunities and trends in the artistic music industry. Sips & Stanzas is a unique experience where diverse, professionals meet, listen and have interactive conversations with outstanding music leaders representing business, performance, media and other industry aspects all part of Nashville’s music scene.

As Nashville continues to grow and diversify its Music City brand, Sips & Stanzas is the event for professionals to socialize, engage and impact the growing awareness of Nashville, as well as learn about the latest NMAAM updates. Our objective is to integrate music/artists and provide an outlet for discussions about topics that impact the mission of NMAAM.

Sip & Stanzas is a once a month, or as-scheduled, event at rotating venues. Examples of venues are recording studios, live music venues, hotels, in Nashville, Davidson County. Discussions with music leaders last approximately 30-40 minutes with time included for pre-set and audience questions. The evening concludes with attendees who are encouraged to stay for further discussion/networking.

Budget $2,500 per
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Musical Performances
Population Served Adults, ,
Short Term Success NMAAM seeks to build diverse audiences for each Sips & Stanzas and to partner with a variety of entertainment venues and sites to expand our audience for the museum. We have succeeded so far in developing a following for these events and in securing partnerships with unique music venues to attract new and returning audiences for each Sips & Stanzas.
Long term Success

The purpose is to organically grow this into a young professionals group that is involved in conversations around and regarding NMAAM, its future exhibits, origins of music, and cultural experiences.

Program Success Monitored By We ask for audience and artist feedback with each performance and use the information we gather to improve and add onto each future experience.
Examples of Program Success Performance artists and audiences alike have commented that this program is valuable in their learning about NMAAM, African American culture and music as well as the influence on more than 50 genres of American music.
With its start in 2017, Fine-Tuning Master Series is tailored for adult audiences. The Fine-Tuning consists of seasonal instructional and theory lessons for adult musicians to learn from professionals who have excelled in particular instruments and/or genres of music. Artists including Keb Mo, a famous blues musician who calls Nashville home, Cedric Carl Dent, a baritone vocalist, music arranger, and co-producer of the 10-time GRAMMY Award-winning vocal group, TAKE 6, and Patrick Denard Douthit, better known as 9th Wonder, a hip-hop record producer, record executive, DJ, lecturer, and rapper will be participating in this series.
The program takes place quarterly, offering a series of four masters-level classes. The lessons will consist of a combination of instructional, contextual and theory-based curriculum that will each last between 90 and 120 minutes. The class sizes will remain relatively small with 20-25 maximum students to offer the best value to the students. This program will be offered free of charge with special outreach to adult students from Nashville's urban, low-income communities.
Lesson tracks will focus on particular instruments and/or genres of music. Students will improve their playing skills, build confidence in making and performing music, and gain an understanding and appreciation of the roots of the music and its influence on American music and culture. The information will be taught through lectures, viewing and listening to music performances, interactive music lessons, and through individual and group performances.
Budget $33,500
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Music Instruction
Population Served Adults, ,
Short Term Success Students will exhibit greater skill and knowledge of the genre and instruments they tackle with the instructors. 
Long term Success NMAAM aims to fully enroll adult students from across Nashville in the fall and spring. This program will be promoted through social media and the various music networks NMAAM has established to date.
Program Success Monitored By Enrollment and student and instructor feedback will allow NMAAM to know the direction the program should take in future offerings.
Examples of Program Success Enrollment in future programs and satisfied students and instructors will let NMAAM know that we are successful.
Description NMAAM engages high school students at their schools with famous artists who work along side these students to plan and execute a performance based the featured artists' work of art. The result is a live performance by the students with interaction by the guest artist to the full school. Students learn the history of the music they are studying, the culture and meaning represented in the lyrics, and the instrumentation used to perform. They also learn how to produce a program and performance from start to finish.
Population Served , ,
Description This monthly concert at local performance venues around Nashville supports the work of emerging African American artists. Performances last about 1-2 hours and audiences are encouraged to interact with the artists, asking questions about their work and background, and learning more about the art form they represent. Past programs have included spoken word poets, R&B artists, and other talented performers who expose audiences of all backgrounds to new music and experiences.
Population Served , ,
Description Rivers of Rhythm Music and Culture Curriculum, which educates teachers about the impact and influence of African Americans on American music and culture, and provides the tools they need to integrate these lessons in Middle Tennessee school curricula. NMAAM aims to impact multiple generations through lessons that span America's history and engage young audiences in unique learning experiences through music and music-making that tie into school district priorities.
Budget 50000
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Music Instruction
Population Served Adults, ,
CEO Comments
This is a sample of the major programs that NMAAM is producing in a given year. Other programs include traveling art exhibitions and an annual Legends Luncheon fundraiser and recognition event for featured African American musicians and individuals who have influenced the music industry. 
NMAAM has multiple opportunities to leverage support and to build a museum-going audience through these events. We are working hard to ensure that we are reaching a wide array of audiences via media, social networks, the music industry and partnerships with other organizations to promote these events and programs. 
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Kevin Lavender
Company Affiliation Fifth Third Bank
Term Sept 2013 to Nov 2018
Board Members
Dr. T. B. Boyd IIIPresident, R. H. Boyd Publishing CorporationExofficio
Ms. Catherine Brewton VP, Writer-Publisher Relations, BMIVoting
Honorable Karl Dean Former MayorVoting
Dr. Robert Fisher President, Belmont UniversityVoting
Mr. H. Beecher Hicks IIICEO/President NMAAMExofficio
Mr. Harvey Hoskins Hoskins & CompanyVoting
Ms. Connie Kinnard Miami Convention and Visitors CorpVoting
Ms. Stacey Garrett Koju Bone McAlester NortonVoting
Mr. Kevin Lavender Fifth Third BankVoting
Mr. Jerry Maynard President, The Maynard GroupVoting
Mr. Jim Ed Norman CEO, The Curb GroupVoting
Dr. Lucius T. Outlaw Vanderbilt UniversityExofficio
Mr. Ben R. Rechter Retired, Community LeaderVoting
Mr. Christopher "Butch" Spyridon President, Nashville Convention and Visitors CorpVoting
Ms. Marie Sueing Director of Multi-Cultural Company Relations, Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp.Voting
Mr. Phil Thornton SVP and General Manager, RCA InspirationalVoting
Ms. Anasa Troutman CEO, Eloveate LLCVoting
Honorable AC Wharton The AC Wharton GroupVoting
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 11
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 5
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 12
Female 4
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 3
Board Meeting Attendance % 85%
Does the organization have written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Does the organization have a written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage of Board Members making Monetary Contributions 100%
Does the Board include Client Representation? Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 4
Standing Committees
Capital Campaign
Advisory Board / Advisory Council
CEO Comments NMAAM aims to build a board and advisory boards that represent Nashville's diversity in industry, music, race, background, and socio-economic status, among other factors. These groups are our outreach to the greater community as we work to raise money for a permanent site and to build audiences for our programs and the exhibitions we host now and will in our Museum upon grand opening.          
Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Mr. H. Beecher Hicks III
Term Start Mar 2013

H. Beecher Hicks, III’s professional experiences have included work in both the private and public sectors where he has focused on building enterprises as a consultant, banker, investor and operating executive.

Henry is NMAAM’s president and CEO, with responsibility for directing the development, curatorial and educational work of the emerging cultural institution.

Henry is also a partner with Red Clay Capital Holdings, LLC, a private equity firm with offices in Nashville, TN and Atlanta, GA that is focused on making control investments in the southeastern United States. Previously he was an operating principal with Onyx Capital Ventures. In this role he was an executive in each of their portfolio companies, in the injection molding and contract manufacturing businesses, where was led efforts to achieve top-line growth of more than 25% and was the primary liaison with large corporate customers.

Previously, Mr. Hicks was a Principal with Katalyst, LLC a management consulting, investment banking and private equity firm focused on emerging technology companies located in Philadelphia, PA. He also worked formerly as Vice President of the Bank of America Catalyst Equity Fund in Charlotte, NC; a small business investment company (“SBIC”) focused on investing in disadvantaged businesses. With Bank of America, Mr. Hicks also served as a Vice President in the Mergers and Acquisitions Group of Banc of America Securities, as an Associate with Bank of America Capital Partners and was Assistant to the Chairman of Bank of America.

Full Time Staff 11
Part Time Staff 0
Volunteers 25
Contractors 3
Retention Rate 85%
Plans & Policies
Does the organization have a documented Fundraising Plan? Yes
Does the organization have an approved Strategic Plan? Yes
Number of years Strategic Plan Considers 2
When was Strategic Plan adopted? Mar 2015
In case of a change in leadership, is a Management Succession plan in place? Under Development
Does the organization have a Policies and Procedures Plan? Under Development
Does the organization have a Nondiscrimination Policy? Yes
American Association of Museums - Member2009
Association of African American Museums - Member2009
Center for Nonprofit Management Excellence Network2012
Senior Staff
Title Museum Director In Residence
Title Director of Development/Chief of Staff
Title Director of Marketing and Communications
Title Programs Manager
CEO Comments NMAAM's staff continues to grow and fill out as we move closer in time to our grand opening in late 2019. We are pleased with the experience of the people who serve NMAAM and value their contributions to our work as we form the permanent Museum, our "Museum Without Walls" programming, and future experiences together. 
Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year Start July 01 2017
Fiscal Year End June 30 2018
Projected Revenue $678,912.00
Projected Expenses $610,859.00
Endowment Spending Policy Income Only
Detailed Financials
Revenue and ExpensesHelpFinancial data for prior years is entered by foundation staff based on the documents submitted by nonprofit organizations.Foundation staff members enter this information to assure consistency in the presentation of financial data across all organizations.
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Revenue$1,582,303$1,827,996$402,038
Total Expenses$1,596,365$1,161,735$731,875
Revenue Less Expenses($14,062)$666,261($329,837)
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$709,083$527,276$99,382
Administration Expense$278,746$233,393$196,007
Fundraising Expense$608,536$401,066$436,486
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.991.570.55
Program Expense/Total Expenses44%45%14%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue38%22%126%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$1,539,568$1,326,112$1,914,296
Current Assets$895,412$1,087,488$337,017
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$257,312$78,133$48,300
Total Net Assets$1,282,256$1,247,979$1,865,996
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities3.4813.926.98
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201620152014
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountGovernment Grants $887,442Contributions, Gifts and Grants $1,343,011Contributions, Gifts and Grants $347,182
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, Gifts and Grants $662,410Government Grants $484,824Revenue In-Kind $54,856
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountFundraising Events $32,451Other Revenue $161 --
Capital Campaign
Is the organization currently conducting a Capital Campaign for an endowment or the purchase of a major asset? Yes
Campaign Purpose Rhapsody-n-Rhythm is the campaign to build and sustain the National Museum of African American Music, a 21st century museum dedicated to the numerous contributions African Americans have made in music around the world. The campaign will fund the Museum’s program and exhibition design, fabrication and installation of exhibits, a multi-faceted educational program, artifact acquisition, museum management and multi-year operations of the facility in addition to providing the foundation for a robust endowment.
Capital Campaign Goal $48,000,000.00
Campaign Start and End Dates Jan 2011 to Dec 2019
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount $28,000,000.00 as of Mar 2018
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit
TN Charitable Solicitations Registration Yes - Expires Dec 2017
Organizational Budgets and Other Documents
Operating Budget2018
Operating Budget2017
Operating Budget2016
Operating Budget2015
Operating Budget2014 Financial Comments
**This organization's name changed from African American History Foundation of Nashville Inc to National Museum of African American Music in 2012. 
Financial figures taken from the Form 990.
Form 990 was prepared by Hoskins & Company PC.
Comment provided by Kathryn Bennett 6/7/17.
Nonprofit National Museum of African American Music
Address 618 Church Street, Suite 130
Nashville, TN 37219 1816
Primary Phone (615) 301-8724
Contact Email
CEO/Executive Director Mr. H. Beecher Hicks III
Board Chair Mr. Kevin Lavender
Board Chair Company Affiliation Fifth Third Bank
Year of Incorporation 2002
Former Names
African American History Foundation of Nashville Inc

Related Information

Cultural and Ethnic Diversity

The United States stands out among nations as a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities. Demographers predict that by 2050, no single majority group will exist in the United States. Diversity is a key part of Middle Tennessee’s past, present and future. Nashville, especially, is a model of the American "melting pot," with an active Native American population, thriving Hispanic community and growing Middle Eastern and Asian presence. Different cultures, religions, ideas and customs come together harmoniously in Music City.