It’s the season for giving. And as a music fan, what better way to express your love of music than to ensure music lives on and continues to grow and evolve through future generations? Therefore, Sound Citizen presents to you a list of 10 music charities, both to support existing musicians and to give the chance for aspiring musicians of all ages to share in our love for music. Do your part, be a sound citizen and make a contribution. In no particular order …
- VH1 Save the Music Foundation: Perhaps the most widely known, this non-for-profit is “dedicated to restoring instrumental music education in American public schools, and raising awareness about the importance of music as part of each child’s complete education.” Since 1997, VH1 has provided more than $43 million worth of musical instruments to over 1,600 public schools in America. You can contribute through donations, attending fundraiser events and more.
- Guitar Center Music Foundation: Tax benefits come with a donation here. You can donate on the website, participate in fundraiser auctions and buy gear from which proceeds benefit the foundation. Guitar Center’s foundation looks to provide opportunities for music education through programs for all ages. They are also partnered with former President Jimmy Carter’s Carter Center, focused on human rights issues.
- Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation: Inspired by the film, Mr. Holland’s Opus, the film’s composer started this foundation to collect and donate new and used instruments to schools. You can donate money through the website and by check, or donate a gently used instrument.
- National Endowment for the Arts: The federal government’s arts program collects donations online, but you can also mail a check. In addition, you can specify how your donation is used via a particular discipline (arts education, literature, music, musical theatre, etc.) or by national initiative (Poetry Out Loud, NEA Jazz Masters and more.)
- Tipitina’s Foundation: The goal of Tipitina’s Foundation is to “support Louisiana’s irreplaceable music community and preserve the state’s unique musical cultures.” The birthplace of Jazz, the New Orleans unequaled music scene must be saved. To date, Tipitina’s has donated more than $1.2 million worth of musical instruments to 20 area schools. Sound Citizen is a New Orleans native, and I can tell you there’s nothing more important there than the music. The food is a close second.
- The ASCAP foundation: “Children Will Listen” was established “to bring the musical theatre experience to young students nationwide.” It was started in honor of Stephen Sondheim, ASCAP member and the composer behind such greats as West Side Story and Gypsy! In addition to providing funding and equipment for schools, the program runs several summer camps.
- Sound Art: This organization provides music instruction and resources to the children of Los Angeles. You can donate on the website through PayPal, and there is a “wish list” where current items in need are listed for hopeful donations.
- Sphinx Organization: Sphinx seeks to encourage classical music in underserved communities and among minorities. They also strive to “… promote the creation, performance, and preservation of works by Black & Latino composers.” Sphinx was started by Aaron P. Dworkin, “… to help overcome the cultural stereotype of classical music, and to encourage the participation of Blacks and Latinos in the field.”
- MIMA: Modern Improvisonational Music Association. This organization is focused on world-wide music creation. This is truly a global effort and is supported by an array of countries. Visit their website and watch the video – it’s inspiring.
- DownloadUplift.com: The brainchild of Music For Charities (MFC), you can listen to, then download music from a varitey of indie artists. Each time you purchase a download, proceeds go to any number of charities of your choosing – everything from the Susan G. Komen Foundation to the Best Friends Animal Society.
UPDATE: I found another very worthy cause. Pandora – teamed with Global Giving, Pandora looks to spread the music love through three projects. Music Transforming Lives for Brazilian Youth aims to keep kids away from dangerous jobs with drug dealers. Little Kids Rock focuses on supplying public school teachers with supplies, curricula and training for music education. Pandora also teams with the aforementioned Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation.
There you have it, 10 great ways to make the world more musical and to ensure future generations experience the same joys we do every day. Go ahead … make someone’s day.