Matt Kurtz Kindness Award Winner Announcement

Matt’s Kindness Ripples On is Happy to Announce the Kindness Award Winner for December, 2023.

2023 grant winner ronald braunstein 1

Ronald Braunstein (Boston, MA) is the founder of the ME2/Orchestra – the world’s only classical music organization created for individuals with mental illnesses and the people who support them.

Ronald graduated from the Juilliard School of Music and spent years conducting all over the world. At the age of 55 he had an epiphany: he was uniquely qualified to create a stigma-free creative space where he could be supported in his lifelong struggle with bipolar disorder and at the same time work with others struggling with mental health issues.

From the beginning, the mission of Me2/ has remained the same: to erase the stigma surrounding mental illness (including addiction) through supportive classical music rehearsals and inspiring performances. Me2/ serves as a model organization where people with and without mental illnesses work together in an environment where acceptance is an expectation, patience is encouraged and supporting each other is a priority.

Our performances include great music interspersed with compelling stories about life with mental illness. At a typical concert, we might share some works by Beethoven and Haydn, as well as brief testimonials from musicians living with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or depression. Every performance includes a Q&A when the audience can ask us anything.

2023 grant winner ronald braunstein 2

What started with just a small handful of musicians has grown to include 160+ musicians in three orchestras, chamber music groups and a Flute choir. Our vision includes an international network of Me2/ Affiliate programs that are connected via best practices, shared values and a mutual love of classical music.

Me2/ exists because we live in a world where people with mental illnesses are stigmatized and discriminated against. Our rehearsals and performances create opportunities for us to educate people about the realities of living with mental illnesses and support those who are seeking treatment. It’s a great way for musicians of all ages and ability levels to create social change.

A very heartfelt thank you Ronald for all that you do. Thank you for shining the light on mental illness and the stigma that surrounds it. Thank you for your compassion, for opening up this safe and creative space and for encouraging conversation around the topic of mental health. You make a difference in the lives of so many people. You are an inspiration to us all. We are so honored to have you as part of our MKRO family.

We’re overwhelmed with all the amazing people nominated for our Kindness Award. These kind-hearted people make our world a better place. Thank you to everyone who took the time to write about the people who inspired you and we couldn’t agree more, they are incredible and we celebrate each and every one of them.

jackie kurtz 1
Jackie Kurtz is a blogger who is on a mission to make the world better, one kindness at a time. When her son died tragically, she started a kindness website and blog as a tribute to him. In his 32 years he impacted more lives than most people do in a lifetime. Her favorite quote is, “Even if we disagree about everything, we can still be kind to each other.” – Matthew L. Jacobson You can connect with Jackie on her website or through email.

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