The Foundation has its beginnings with the founding of the Music and Arts Institute of San Francisco with Ross McKee as its founder. The Institute was incorporated in 1939 in San Francisco, CA and moved to its Pacific Heights’ campus and building in 1947. Upon Ross McKee’s death, the Institute closed and the property was sold in 1989. From the sale of the property, The Ross McKee Foundation for the Musical Arts was incorporated in 1989 and operated as a private nonprofit foundation.
Ross McKee was born in 1915 and raised in Everett, WA. He studied piano and graduated from the Manning School of Music. His teachers included Ernst von Dhonanyi, Alexander Tcherpnin, Paul Pierre McNeely, John Crogan Manning, Wager Swayne, and Rosalyn Tureck. He began teaching piano in San Francisco in 1931 and performed locally as well as throughout the United States.
Originally part of the music department of Golden Gate College, the Music and Arts Institute was incorporated in 1939 and after World War II Mr. McKee moved his school to the former Japanese Consulate on Alta Plaza. The Institute offered bachelor and master degrees in music. At age 72, Ross McKee died in 1987 and created a legacy of support for talented young people in music.