From higher test scores to noticeable improvements in hand eye coordination, there are a variety of benefits that come with taking music lessons. If your child is enrolled in a music program at their school, the concept of other children not having that same opportunity may seem absurd. Unfortunately, this is a sad reality that’s faced by thousands of children and parents across the country each and every year. If you’re concerned about keeping music education alive in schools, here are five music foundations you should consider donating your time, money, or resources to. As an added bonus, donations to many of these foundations are eligible for a tax write-off at the end of the year.
Founded in 2006, the NAMM Foundation supports scientific research, philanthropy, and public service programs in the hopes of advancing active participation in music. In addition to advocating for music education in schools, the NAMM Foundation also funds life-changing music making and education experiences for thousands of people, regardless of their age or skill level. From school-aged children to wounded warriors, the programs sponsored by the foundation bring education to a wide variety of music makers. What sets the NAMM Foundation apart from many other foundations is that they fund scientific research on the mental, physical, and emotional benefits of music. From there, they share the results with the media in the hopes of validating the importance of music at every stage of life.
This charitable organization was founded by Phish fans in 1996, and exists almost entirely online, allowing a higher distribution of income to be distributed directly to the deserving organizations. Since the foundation is composed entirely of volunteers – with no office, salaries, or paid staff members- the administrative costs are less than 2% of the revenue they generate. Since their inception, the Mockingbird Foundation had distributed almost one million dollars to support music education for children. The funds were distributed throughout 46 states in the form of 274 grants, with more on the way. The Mockingbird Foundation earns money in a variety of ways, including foundation projects, donation premiums, special events, and through the sale of branded merchandise.
Not only does the D’Addario Foundation award grants and donated products to communities in need, but they actually take the time to identify what the highest quality and most impactful instrument instruction are that’ll assist in the growth and development of those living in the communities. Established in 1981, the foundation was initially intended to assist with the growth of their Debuts and Premieres Series, until the Foundation shifted their focus towards not-for-profit music education in underserved areas in 2004. As music programs in schools continue to be cut, the D’Addario Foundation continues to expand its support for not-for-profit music education and instruction programs. Each year, the D’Addario Foundation supports 200 of the best private sector, not-for-profit organizations around the world.
Music Unites is the leading non-profit organization supporting music education around the world. They work with influencers and partners to transform inner-city landscapes by empowering urban youth through music. By partnering with music stars, celebrity ambassadors, and music sponsors, Music Unites is able to educate kids through music by promoting music events and projects at local schools. The organization empowers children through individual donations, donations from foundation partners, and money they receive from organization events and music education projects. In addition to their charitable work, Music Unites works with ambassadors including Swizz Beats, John Forte, Sting, and Gary Clark Jr. to organize workshops and standalone clinics.
All-Stars Project, Inc.
Established in the early 80s, the All-Stars Project, Inc. is a program that gives poor and minority students the opportunity to perform as a means to strengthen their communities. With a vision statement that includes being officially recognized as America’s leader in Afterschool Development by 2020, All-Stars Project, Inc. engages with poverty to find ways to transform the lives of youth in poor communities. The organization holds several talent shows per year, runs a leadership program for 16-21 year olds, hosts a teen theater group, and works with volunteers and educators to service local youth. The program is made possible through the generosity of more than 5,000 individuals, as well as hundreds of corporations and foundations across the country.
Note: if you’d like to donate to any of the above organizations, visit their websites for more information. For even more charities, check out part one of this series: 5 Foundations Devoted to Music Education.