Legendary guitar maker Fender has launched of the Fender Play Foundation, a new charity designed to provide resources and music education opportunities to young people. Avril Lavigne, Chris Stapleton, Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco, Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy, Ashley McBryde and Green Day bassist Mike Dirnt have signed on as inaugural artist ambassadors.
Artist ambassadors will help inspire young people via foundation initiatives including surprise instrument drops and meet and greets, donating signed gear and memorabilia for auction, appearing at galas and helping guide the foundation’s overall direction. In exchange, Fender will support artist ambassador charities that align with the foundation’s mission as well as charities “near and dear” to artists, including the Boys & Girls Club-affiliated non-profit Notes for Notes.
“Leo Fender believed that all artists are angels and his job was to give them wings to fly,” said Fender CEO Andy Mooney in a statement. “We view the Fender Play Foundation as an important vehicle to equip, educate and inspire the next generation of artists. Every child deserves access to music education opportunities and tools that give them ‘wings to fly.’ As an avid player, I can attest to the many benefits that come with playing an instrument and how the power of music can enrich your life.”
“When I was a kid, I picked up a guitar and found a whole new world at my fingertips,” shared Chris Stapleton. “I’m proud to partner with the Fender Play Foundation to help kids from all walks of life find a whole new world of their own.”
“Fender has been so supportive of The Avril Lavigne Foundation since its inception, so I was honored when they asked me to be part of the launch of their own charitable efforts,” said Avril Lavigne. “Providing instruments to schools, camps and others who don’t have access to music on a daily basis is both necessary and inspiring, and I’m looking forward to working alongside my fellow Artist Advisors to deliver what is sure to be a lifetime of exciting memories!”
“I’m excited to team up with the Fender Play Foundation to support the next generation of shredders,” added Brendon Urie. “Growing up in Vegas my music mentors and education were such a huge influence on my life, I hope through partnering with Fender, that I can help do the same for young musicians!”
Over the next three years, the Fender Play Foundation plans to raise $3 million for educational institutions and organizations via equipment donations, personalized instruction and artist experiences, with FMIC’s initial $1 million donation to be used to expand further fundraising efforts. Initial support will be provided to music education programs in Los Angeles, Nashville and Scottsdale, Arizona, where Fender has offices, with plans to expand to more cities next year. Educational institutions and organizations will also have the opportunity to apply for grants.