Give Back: 10 Music-Centric Non-Profits You Should Know About
If there's one thing we know about music, it's that it has immense power. Music has the ability to unite, to give voice to feelings or emotions that exist only in the abstract. At Victrola, music is our greatest passion. It can serve as a comforting presence when you're feeling down, or a way to get the party started. Perhaps most importantly, music has been a motivator for change. To celebrate World Day of Music, we decided to take a look at 10 music-centric non-profit organizations focused on everything from music education and performing arts to social justice and human rights.
First up is an organization close to home, Denver's own Youth on Record. Youth on Record's mission is simple and vital; to use music and creativity to empower young people who have been disenfranchised by a system that is stacked against them. In 2022 alone, Youth on Record served over 1,700 students, helping them to embrace their creativity through a three pillar system of academic success, economic opportunity, and community activation, tailoring their program to each individual student in order to help them become their best selves.
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS was founded as two separate organizations that merged in the early 1990s in order to fight for a common goal; raising funds for those struggling with HIV/AIDS and other health issues. Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS has become particularly well-known for their creative fundraisers, leveraging the incredible talent of the actors who support it to produce events like Broadway Backwards, which celebrates the history of the LGBTQ+ community through musical theater. BC/EFA is unique among non-profits, required to raise every penny of their budget during each fiscal year, making it all the more imperative to support their cause.
Girls Rock Camp Alliance is a social justice minded organization with a mission to "amplify voices that have otherwise been told to be silent." GRCA fully embraces the historical role of music in dismantling class hierarchies and oppressive elements in our society, encouraging students to be loud and politically active. GRCA works to challenge societal norms and uplift those who have been beaten down with a focus on authenticity and equity.
Celebrating its 25th year of making a difference, the Save the Music Foundation works to promote the power of music education at the public school level. Save the Music partners with school districts, bestowing grants for instruments, programs, and even recording equipment. The belief of Save the Music is that music saves. Investing in childhood music education enhances critical thinking skills, promotes the safety of students, and encourages kids to be well-rounded individuals.
More than just a theater, the Apollo has positioned itself as the leading Black arts organization in the United States. Through its education programs, legendary amateur nights, and dedication to its Harlem surroundings, the Apollo has been instrumental in the creation and proliferation of major American forms of music like jazz, R&B, and soul. The Apollo Theater's education wing works to support students and teachers alike, teaching the history of African-American music and culture in the United States, and helping to launch the next generation of stars.
Sweet Relief gives back to those who have dedicated their lives to music. A career in the arts is more than an occupation. It's a lifestyle, a calling, and not necessarily a lucrative one. Sweet Relief works to provide assistance to career musicians and those in the music industry, covering expenses for medical care as well as mental health services. Music is meant to be inclusive, so Sweet Relief helps to ensure there is no financial barrier to following your dreams.
The Jazz Foundation of America works tirelessly to preserve and promote some of the most original and unique forms of music in the United States. The JFA has programs in place to teach jazz and blues in schools, honoring the history of musical genres that paved the way for virtually every popular form of music today, while also providing nursing homes and assisted-living facilities with jazz and blues performances. In addition to their education efforts, the JFA has an emergency fund, supplying medical care, disaster relief, and financial assistance for those who need it.
Music therapy is something that has gained in popularity in recent years, and for good reason. Music therapy has been shown to help manage pain, benefit mental health, and curb illnesses such as anxiety and depression. The Children's Music Fund provides fully-funded music therapy sessions to children whose lives have been affected by illness. Music can be an outlet for those suffering through life-altering illnesses, and it is CMF's mission to help sick kids through their ordeals.
Through partnerships with artists, venues, and brands, Reverb aims to promote sustainable listening through awareness and direct action. Reverb works with major tours to arrange more sustainable food and beverage options, eco-friendly travel, as well as establishing a presence at concerts and festival to speak directly to fans. Reverb's footprint on the music industry has been tremendous, partnering with artists like Dave Matthews Band, Jack Johnson, and Maroon 5.
Music Saves Lives was founded to educate people about the need for life-saving activities such as donating blood and bone marrow using music as the means for spreading the word. MSL works to encourage young people to donate blood, as well as take direct action by organizing blood drives in an effort to provide resources to those who need it most. Founded in 2005, MSL has only grown, with blood drives all over the United States.