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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Musicambia Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Mission: The mission of Musicambia is to create humanizing experiences in United States prisons through regular music education. It is our vision that every incarcerated person in the US discovers their potential, and prisons become centers for humane rehabilitation. Musicambia is inspired by El Sistema. El Sistema promotes music ensembles as a perfect model of a functional society. ‘The System’ teaches the values of working independently and cooperatively through intensive music study and performances.

Results: 6 students have been released since the start of the program. We are proud to report that each one has demonstrated that the skills they acquired through Musicambia not only improved their quality of life behind bars, but also has helped them succeed on the outside. Some have even participated in Musicambia events open to the general public, aimed at supporting our program at Sing Sing. 3 former students performed at our annual Gala at the Dimenna Center on May 26, 2017. In addition to performing pieces of music with our faculty, the 3 men each spoke eloquently & movingly about their experiences in the Musicambia at Sing Sing Program. As of 2017, none of our alumni have returned to prison. To measure the success of the program in 2016, students were asked the question “what does music mean to you?” The responses were extraordinary: “Music means closing my eyes and smiling as I fall in love with life and living.” “Music is an opportunity to make people applaud me for a job well done instead of pointing at me in disappointment.” “Music helped save my life from going down the wrong path. It has opened doors to a whole new world out there, and changed my perspective on life.”

Target demographics: Incarcerated populations.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 100 students at three different prisons.

Geographic areas served: US prisons and jails. Currently at Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, New York, Putnamville Correctional Facility in Indianna and Allendale Correctional Institution in South Carolina.

Programs: The mission of Musicambia is to create humanizing experiences in United States prisons through regular music education.

Community Stories

24 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This non profit nurtures the creative spirit for those who are MOST in need. By providing an outlet of creative expression this organization is forging a spiritual and emotional connection with those who are so often overlooked and underestimated. Bravo. Keep it up.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

What an incredible organization! The graduates of their programs are well-rounded, creative, driven men (and soon there will be girls too!) that, through the help of Musicambia, have been able to find focus and purpose in their music. These are the kinds of programs we should be supporting, if we want to to bring down the rate of recidivism.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Musicambia is one of the most important and rewarding organizations I have ever had the pleasure of working with. The dedication of the staff is beyond compare and the commitment to students at any stage of their education - from program participant to alumni - is active, positive, and engaging.

This is an organization that understands that positive impact cannot be achieved with temporary engagement. As long as Musicambia continues to invest in its students, I will continue to invest in Musicambia.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am a formerly incarcerated participant of Musicambia, and currently a board member. Their honest commitment to sharing the power of music with incarcerated people has been a beacon of hope and light for me and many of my friends. Many people feel that prisoners deserve nothing but punishment, and others idealize prisoners as hapless victims of a larger system. Teaching artists with Musicambia focus on the art of music-making and connect with the best of humanity in all of us. They embody the values of diligent work, prosocial engagement, and open collaboration. Because of Musicambia, I left prison with a significantly more healthy outlook than I would have otherwise.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Musicambia continues to inspire. I am excited to see this organization grow and continue its great work.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Musicambia is changing lives of incarcerated people through music. The powerful stories that are told by the 'graduates' of Musicambia's programs in Sing Sing and other prisons are powerful testaments to the ability of the arts to impact society. The success of Musicambia shows that this organization is trailblazing the way of how to change lives for the better.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Musicambia is dedicated to changing lives of all involved with this non-profit, both the people learning musical skills and the people teaching. Through shared enterprises such as learning to compose, musical training on an instrument or playing in an ensemble, the people invested have not only an activity, hobby, or professional venture but an identity, purpose, and community that immediately connects them to others socially and professionally. This is progress meant for long term well-being and continued life-skills building.

Donor

Rating: 5

This organization fills a void that is not addressed by any other. It gives meaning, structure, education and hope to a group of people that are too often overlooked and ignored, allowing them to return to society with nothing positive having happened to them while away. I have seen the good that has been done and the transformations that have occurred. I know that any contribution that is made is very carefully spent to bring the very best results. I highly endorse Musicambia.
Howard K

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

This organization is providing a very valuable service that won't be done by anyone else if they don't do it. It is recognizing the value and humanity of people that are most often overlooked in our society. "All lives matter"

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I reached out to Musicambia because I was looking for way to support an organization using music performance and education to further social justice. I was already inspired by their mission statement going in, but after volunteering for a few events and seeing Musicambia's impact firsthand, I am still blown away by the amazing work they are accomplishing. The powerful stories of Musicambia alumni -- besides bringing the entire room to tears, without fail -- prove that this type of programming should be universal.

Volunteer

Rating: 5


Musicambia is truly a life-changing nonprofit that benefits incarcerated people before and after their release from prison by providing wonderful music education from inspiring young professionals. Inmates are taught to play instruments as well as write music; they then perform music both before and after their release from prison. Musicambia has had a positive effect on those who play and perform the music as well as those who listen to the performances. Playing and performing music gives confidence to those who are re-entering society.

Stephanie T.4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Using music to help people recover their dignity and pride and purpose is genius, and Musicambia does just that. How this organization works so incredibly effectively to restore joy and meaning to lives others have given up on amazes me. So happy to get more involved!

Board Member

Rating: 5

Musicambia does really important work and is a really exciting organization. I am honored to be a part of what they do.

Donor

Rating: 5

Musicambia aligns with my values of what art truly is and can be for all people: an experience of personal growth and integrity, tested with incremental changes over an extended period of time. The Musicambia staff/instructors are the best in the business and they participate in this project out of an amazing passion and commitment. Matching great teachers with great students, this is a well run and visionary non-profit organization.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Musicambia is just amazing! This organization pairs world class musicians with those incarcerated at Sing Sing. Learning to play an instrument and then playing with others requires a whole set of skills that will help these men as they are reintroduced to society. The musicians who meet with the prisoners are supurb role models! Hopefully Musicambia will be able to expand into other facilities and/or be a model for other programs throughout the country.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Musicamba is an excellent non profit that far exceeds expectations.

Giovanni A.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Musicambia is an incredible organization which I am proud to support. Music has incredible power to uplift the soul and bringing this to individuals who are incarcerated is such an important part of their rehabilitation. Too often one hears about how the correctional system is riddled with problems and inefficiencies leading to worse situations for those who have ended up within those confines. It's important to see the good in humans and focus on amplifying the great qualities that we all have. I'm a proud supporter of this organization and encourage others to donate to the cause.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

An excellent initiative that is going a long way to bring about change and empowerment in the lives of these incarcerated men. I wholeheartedly applaud this organisation and its efforts to show the difference that music can make in peoples lives.

Claudia F.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful organization run by individuals dedicated to creating a better society, for the incarcerated and for everyone. Their mission is to use music for rehabilition has the real potential to create social change.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Musicambia is providing an invaluable service to this stigmatized population!
Its important to support organizations like this ESPECIALLY at times like this. The organization full of passionate folks working to make positive change- giving underserved and overlooked populations the opportunity to see the world, and see themselves in a brand new light. Bravo.

Donor

Rating: 5

Creating art of any kind is a discipline as well as creation. The opportunity to practice learning an instrument for incarcerated people is a liberating experience. It lifts the heart as well as the spirit helping the prisoners to find meaning and a healing space. Bravo to both teachers and pupils