Support for the Foundation comes primarily from BMI- affiliated songwriters, composers, and publishers, BMI employees, and members of the public with a special interest in music. Many donors have chosen to contribute to the Foundation in the spirit of "giving back" to the field of music, which they feel has been generous to them. Because all members of the Foundation's staff and the distinguished members of the Advisory Panel serve without compensation, over 91% of all donations and investment income is available for charitable grants. Contributions to the Foundation are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law.
Throughout the year, the Foundation works to administer various scholarship competitions, awards, fellowships and commissions. The final selections for these programs are entrusted to panels made up of some of the world's most distinguished artists and musicians, all of whom volunteer their time and knowledge. The focus of these programs is on American music; however, there are several opportunities open to international students.
The Foundation also awards grants on an annual basis to nonprofit music and arts organizations around the country. The Foundation's Advisory Panel reviews and makes recommendations for these awards, which range from the support of classical music groups specializing in contemporary works, to musical theatre programs for inner-city youth, to programs designed to preserve and continue such indigenous American music as jazz and blues.