Announcing our Kindness Award Winner for December 2023

Kindness Award Winner Ronald Braunstein

Ronald Braunstein, (Boston, MA), founder of the ME2/Orchestra, is 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.

Kindness Award Winner Ronald Braunstein

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.

Is there someone who inspires you with their kindness?  Nominate them for the Matt Kurtz Kindness Award of $250.

Do you have an act-of-kindness project you want to do but need help funding it?  Submit your idea for the Matt Kurtz Kindness Grant of $500 and let us help you spread kindness.

11 thoughts on “Announcing our Kindness Award Winner for December 2023”

  1. Impressive! Always amazing to see how people are making our world better! Ron is definitely someone who is having a positive impact!!

  2. Big shout out to Ron for adding his beautiful music to reach out to people and help remove the stigma of mental illness…

  3. What a wonderful idea not only to help them and educate the world not to judge others but to also make lovely music that everyone enjoys! Loved this and wishing you, Ron & Brian love, peace & happiness during your joyous eight day festival 🙂 Love, Bev & Fred

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