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2017 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

13 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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

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"

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

Emma M.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I met Nathan Schram about a year ago in an attempt to get involved with Musicambia. Although it didn't materialize I'll never forget the dedication and passion he has for this program. These musicians truly are focusing on others, nothing is done for their own benefit. They have deeply rooted compassion and are generously sharing their time, energy, and money to change lives in prison. I know very few others causes worth supporting as much as this.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Musicambia creates extraordinary outcomes for incarcerated individuals throughout the US on a shoestring budget. I am constantly amazed by the organization's capacity for growth and ability to reach new communities. The staff works extremely hard and truly values their students. Visiting a prison for a single concert is a wonderful thing but the weekly investment that this program makes in giving participants the ability to create their own art rather than just receive it is outstanding.

The subject of recidivism is central to the global conversation on incarceration. Students who participate in this program and are later released from prison seem to return to their communities invested in having a positive influence on their friends, neighbors and families. I have met many alumni at Musicambia fundraising events. These men are now pursuing jobs and advanced education - and they are all still playing music. It is truly inspiring.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Musicambia is a wonderful organization run by an incredibly dedicated staff and faculty who give so much time and energy to create a meaningful program. It is undoubtedly one of the most mission-driven organizations I know. Their priority is always the people being served. Great thought and care is put into crafting curricula that serve incarcerated students. Long-term relationships are built, community is fostered (within prisons--not an easy thing!), and communication is maintained even after students have been released.

I have volunteered with this program as a teaching artist (and I continue to be a supporter), and it was one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. There is nothing like seeing firsthand the community that can be created--literally anywhere--simply with music and caring, dedicated individuals. Musicambia has already provided that to many, and their impact is only just beginning!