After World War II it was clear that the momentum of serious music study had been halted by pressing wartime concerns.
To remedy this, The Musical Merit Foundation of Greater San Diego was incorporated in 1946 with sixty-two charter members. The corporation was an outgrowth of a group known as the Musical Merit Society, headed by Harvey Louis Jr. Mrs. Ralph Hastings was Founding President.
By 1996, the Foundation had awarded more than $250,000 to over 260 winners. $25,000 has been awarded each year since 1996.
In the spring of 2009, a generous bequest from George Trovillo and William Graham nearly tripled Musical Merit's endowment, allowing an increase in awards starting with the 2009 auditions. Trovillo and Graham were long-time Musical Merit members and extensively involved for several decades in preparing vocalists for the auditions. As a result of their gift, starting in 2010 the Musical Merit Foundation is able to extend scholarship monies among qualified finalists who do not place in the top awards.
Through the generosity of one of the members of The Musical Merit Foundation, a scholarship has been established at the Aspen School of Music in Colorado. The first place winner of the final auditions is entitled to attend the nine-week summer session with full tuition, room and board included.
This scholarship is presented in addition to the monetary award and further audition is not required by Aspen School of Music.