Whether you’ve taken music lessons yourself or have a child who is currently enrolled in their school orchestra or marching band, you likely understand the many benefits of having access to a music education. To you, the idea of children not having the opportunity may seem absurd. Unfortunately, this is a sad reality faced by thousands of children each and every year. Fortunately, there are plenty of non-profit organizations popping up across the country that are dedicated to keeping music education in schools. Here are a few foundations you should consider donating your money, time, or resources to.
Fender Music Foundation
Backed by a name you likely trust, the Fender Music Foundation is a 501(c)3 national music charity that provides instruments to music education programs across the country, including schools. Funded by people who want to strengthen the current state of music education, all donations received enable the foundation to provide instruments to classrooms, after school programs, and music therapy programs. They hand-select in-need programs they support and have been providing classrooms with the instruments they need since 2005. Plus, the Fender Music Foundation was founded by Larry Thomas, former CEO of Guitar Center and current CEO of Fender Musical Instruments Corporation- someone who understands the necessity of keeping music in schools.
Education Through Music (ETM)
Founded to promote the integration of music into the curricula of disadvantaged schools, Education Through Music hopes to enhance students’ academic performance and general development through introducing them to music. At it’s core, Education Through Music believes that every child deserves a well-rounded education that includes music, no matter their family’s financial situation. Formed in 1991, the organization takes various kinds of instruments, including saxophones and guitars, and donates them directly to children in disadvantaged areas. On top of that, they work closely with inner-city schools in New York to enhance their education. Affiliate programs have since been started in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation
Inspired by the film of the same name, the composer of the film’s score started the foundation as a way to give back to the community. Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation collects and distributes new and gently used musical instruments to schools in need, and believes that children thrive when they’re given the opportunity to learn the language of music. By putting a musical instrument directly in their hands, the foundation hopes to improve the quality of their education and lives. You can donate money through their website or by check, and you can even donate a gently used instrument directly to the foundation if you wish.
VH1 Save the Music Foundation
Perhaps the most widely known music education foundation, VH1’s Save the Music Foundation dedicates themselves to restoring instrumental education in American schools. As a result, they hope to raise awareness about the importance of music being included in a child’s complete education. Since 1997, they’ve donated $52 million in musical instruments to 1,964 public schools across the country. In doing so, they’ve directly benefited over 2 million children. By developing strategic partnerships with school districts, the VH1 Save the Music Foundation has effectively built sustainable music education programs by providing brand new instruments to public elementary and middle schools.
The goal of this foundation is to “support Louisiana’s irreplaceable music community and preserve the state’s unique musical cultures” by donating instruments and providing one-on-one workshops in schools in the area. Although Tipitina’s Foundation doesn’t solely work towards keeping music education in schools, they dedicate themselves to promoting and protecting music in multiple forms, including through promoting childhood music education, the professional development of adult musicians, and the increased profile and visibility of Louisiana’s music as a cultural, education, and economic resource.
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