As always, one of the best gifts you can give this holiday season is a donation to charity, but with so many options out there, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Here Angela Mastrogiacomo looks at ten outstanding charities centered in and around the music industry that could benefit from you help.
Guest post by Angela Mastrogiacomo from Soundfly's Flypaper
If you’re reading this, it probably means you’re at least thinking about donating some of your hard-earned money to a deserving charity this holiday season. Let me be the first to say: “Thank you.” There are so many incredible charities out there, both in the musical sphere and outside of it, which can make choosing difficult, but no less rewarding.
Here, we’ve outlined ten great picks, organizations with missions ranging from musical education to environmental stewardship, mental health awareness to resources sharing, and much more.
Music for Relief
Dedicated to providing aid to the survivors of devastating natural disasters, Music for Relief was founded in 2005 by the band Linkin Park, and has gone on to raise over $9 million for over 30 natural disasters across four continents, including Hurricane Katrina, and earthquakes/tsunamis in Indonesia, Haiti, and Japan.
Music for Relief also supports Energy for All through Power the World, in partnership with the UN and UN Foundation to bring sustainable, clean energy solutions to families.
Combining their passions for music and the environment, Reverb was founded in 2004 by environmentalist Lauren Sullivan and musician Adam Gardner of Guster. Their mission is simple: to spread the world about environmental concerns by partnering with large operations such as tours and festivals to reduce unnecessary waste.
They work with touring artists, festivals, venues, non-profits, brands, and fans, to reduce landfill waste, and help create a more sustainable environment. They do this through eliminating single-use plastic bottles at events, raising money for a variety of causes, and diverting compost from landfills. They’ve worked with Dave Matthews, Maroon 5, Pink, John Mayer, Ben & Jerry’s, Levitate Music and Arts Festival, the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and many more.
Focused on Los Angeles, Inner-City Arts helps over 5,000 elementary school students yearly receive high-quality immersive arts practice education at the Inner-City Arts campus. The program is also available to middle and high school students and is widely regarded as one of the nation’s most effective arts education providers.
+ Related on Flypaper: “Our 8 Favorite High School Music Programs in the US Right Now.”
Music Saves Lives
Music Saves Lives operates with the mission of educating people about life-saving activities that we can all participate in — such as donating blood, organizing blood drives, and registering for the national marrow program. These blood-donation programs help save people with blood disorders such as leukemia every day via simple acts of kindness. Imagine that multiplied by several sponsored national tours’ worth of audiences and you’ll get a sense of how important this work truly is.
Founded by Jake Luhrs of August Burns Red, and now supported by tons more bands on the circuit, HeartSupport’s mission is to let people know their stories matter, and that they aren’t alone. They provide online support for those struggling via an online forum, support wall, and even a live stream with staff and artists.
Voting is important, and yet so many never make it out to the polls. HeadCount aims to change that by getting out to concerts and getting online — where music fans already spend so much of their time — and registering voters. They’ve already registered about 500,000 voters since 2004 and accumulated over 20,000 volunteers nationwide. In addition to in-person sponsored events, they run “Participation Row” social action villages on major tours and festivals, creating an interactive experience around important causes and raising money for other organizations.
The Roots of Music
New Orleans is rich with musical history. Serving children ages 9-14 from low-income homes, The Roots of Music provides their students with round trip transportation and hot meals, all while educating them on music history and theory, as well as instrumental instruction. They operate five days a week throughout the year, and have delivered over 2,500 hours of music education, 30,400 hot meals, 1,400 bus journeys, and supplies such as 150 different instruments for students to use.
Hungry for Music
Hungry for Music is on a mission to provide eager students with musical instruments and help them learn, grow, and thrive in a more musical environment. By offering their students instruments and musical experiences, they provide children with a wealth of opportunities they might not have otherwise had. To date, they’ve delivered 11,000 instruments to children in 49 states and 25 countries.
Make Yourself Foundation
Founded by the band Incubus, the Make Yourself Foundation funds a variety of environmental causes and charities around the world. To date, they’ve raised over $2 million and awarded grant funding to over 60 nonprofit organizations, helping to promote sustainability and respond to natural disasters.
Playing for Change
A global nonprofit offering creative opportunities for at-risk youth, specifically in the developing world, Playing for Change believes that music has the power to connect us, and that through that connection we can truly change the world for the better. To date they’ve created 15 music programs in Bangladesh, Brazil, Ghana, Mali, Nepal, Rwanda, South Africa, Morocco, Mexico, Argentina, and Thailand. Each week, over 2,000 people attend the free classes in dance, instruments, music theory, and language.
Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR, where her artists have seen placement on Alternative Press, Noisey, Substream, and more, as well as the Director of Community and Events for Music Launch Co. She’s also the owner of music blog Infectious Magazine.She loves baked goods, a good book, and hanging with her dog Sawyer.