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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Playing For Change Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Education, International, International Cultural Exchange, International Exchange

Mission: We are dedicated to creating positive social change through music education.

Results: Nine music schools and programs have been created in South Africa, Ghana, Mali, Rwanda, Nepal and Thailand. More than 700 kids attend free classes in dance, instruments, languages and musical theory, all taught by qualified local teachers. Projects also meet basic needs for some of the world’s most economically vulnerable children. This includes primary education, literacy, and the provision of humanitarian aid such as food, medicine, clothes, books and school supplies. Solar light and energy, laptop computers, and other modern technology have also been introduced in areas where previously unavailable.

Target demographics: provide music and inspiration to children

Geographic areas served: Africa, Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Ghana, Mali, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, Rwanda, South Africa, Thailand, USA

Programs: free classes in music, dance, instruments, languages and musical theory, all taught by qualified local teachers Projects also meet basic needs for some of the world’s most economically vulnerable children. This includes primary education, literacy, and humanitarian aid such as food, medicine, clothes, books and school supplies. Solar light and energy, laptop computers, and other modern technology have also been introduced in areas where previously unavailable.

Community Stories

47 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

7 Hannah30

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have helped to organise a fund-raising event annually for the last three years in the Uk for the Playing for Change organisation; primarily because I agree with their philosophy that music is a unifying force and language in a very fragmented world, and secondarily because it is good to see the fruits of this fund-raising benefitting children and young people all over the world through musical education. I know the events we have held in Cumbria (Uk) have been life-changing in a most positive way for all who have participated and attended as well as for all those who have benefitted from the money raised. I hope and trust that Playing for Change will continue to grow and help change the world for the better. Hannah Appleyard

Comments ( 1 )

shauna Thank you so much for sharing these positive words, Hannah! We are so grateful to YOU for being part of the movement and for mobilizing your local community in support of the global community. Your efforts have, indeed, been life changing for many. One Love!

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Playing for Change Foundation has an incredible mission and services communities and kids all over the world. What I find so valuable about this organization is the funding transparency and all around inclusiveness. The teachers are so passionate about their students and the team behind the scenes is truly dedicated. This is an organization that I hope will always continue to spread peace through music. After all, that is what our planet needs.

Katelyn9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Playing For Change Foundation has truly helped children all over the world through their music programs. It was an amazing experience to volunteer as an intern assisting with the donor relations and outreach team. Music and art is something I hold dear to me and I love seeing how this non profit organization positively changes the lives of many children throughout the world. Keep doing this magical work PFC, the world needs you

Yufei C.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered as an Intern in Playing For Change Foundation to assist the program director. Working with her is such a enjoyable and learning experience. She is very open-minded and got me involved in many important and meaningful projects.
I love working there because everyone share the spirit of creating positive change through music and art education and they are all very committed to what they are doing. It was such a valuable and inspiring experience.

I hope more people can see their great job and get involved!
I hope more people can see their great job and get involved!
I hope more people can see their great job and get involved!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered at the Playing For Change Foundation office last year doing donor relations and outreach. It was such a lovely experience to work at an organization that helps to bring peace, love and understanding to the world through music. Everyone was an absolute joy to work with and they are all very dedicated to bettering the lives of children around the world. Very grateful I had the opportunity to contribute to PFCF's cause.

Donor

Rating: 5

Playing For Change Foundation is doing some AMAZING work around the world. I am happy and grateful to have contributed to an organization that is bringing hope and change into the lives of children! One Love!!

Phyll R.

Donor

Rating: 5

Playing for Change live up to their name because they are making a change in so many peoples lives..myself included. It brings so much joy to my heart & soul. The music is amazing & all the artists are so loving & humble...they are like a family to me. What they do for the children is truly amazing...they are the future & all children should know what love feels like...music does that. Lifting their spirits by learning to play an instrument & dance. From the moment I watched the documentary I knew I wanted to help. Also what they have done in Nepal after the earthquake...building shelters for families & giving sewing machines to women to give them a chance to make a living. The first song I heard was Stand by me & it blew me away how Mark Johnson travelled the world & put all these amazing artists together through song. I have done a couple of events on Playing for Change Day dancing to their music & this year I was so lucky to be in Ibiza for that day it was an amazing experience! PFC I stand by you! Keep up the awesome work you do! One Love & peace all over the world ❤

Shirley V.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I was introduced to Playing for Change by my son. Music has always been a big part of our lives. I absolutely love that the foundation does everything to bring music from around the world together. That they go tbe extra mile to help build schools and bring music to the children in areas of the world that do not have the opportunities to learn and play music. Just so wonderful. So thank you Playing for Change for the joy you bring to myself and everyone else.

Ricardo5

Client Served

Rating: 5

I like very much PFCF its a great Job and a beautiful team to make true the children Dreams to study muSic

1 Valerie88

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I would like to thank God and 4 the amazing grace of incredible music! Secondly, a big thank you to the Playing For Change Foundation 4 exposing healing music to our kids and all who need a dose of healing mainly as we all get older! Music has helped with increasing my mental thoughts with writing and reading! Most importantly music has helped my life and has helped me to manage with nerve pain which is because of being born with autoimmune diseases in the 1950's. Music can cure anything we go through from missing somebody with all of the glorious memories of certain tunes to make us smile on the inside as well as the outside. I don't know what I would do without music and I would like to thank the Playing For Change Foundation for recognizing just what music can do 4 healing illness and disease minds, souls and bodies!. Music can really help solve so many of the problems of the sick world we live in and thank you so much showing this to the world by Playing For a Change in the world ! Blessings and God bless

1 Sandra122

Client Served

Rating: 5


the PFCF is such a blessing, they are doing great work with lots of love, I will be supporting them my whole life, they inspire us to be better every day, and give the opportunity for kids to have music education

1 Andr3

Donor

Rating: 5

Be happy music club had the opportunity to work together with playing for change and it was an amazing experience! We could feel that is a work done with their heart rather than anything else and this is the reason why we will keep supporting them :)

5

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have had the honor of serving as a board member for playing for change since its inception. starting as a conversation around a coffee table 7 years ago to seeing what it has become is truly remarkable. so many lives have been impacted in a positive way. The PFCF staff are some of the most passionate, dedicated, and inspiring people i've had the pleasure to work with. I know first hand just how difficult running a successful non-profit can be and it is extraordinary what has been accomplished! The future looks so bright. One Love -Joel

4

Board Member

Rating: 5

I was introduced to PFCF after travelling to Australia with friends who were involved with the organization. I had the great pleasure of seeing the Playing for Change Band at a multi-day Bluesfest while I was there and I knew at that moment that I wanted to be a part of the foundation and their mission in some manner.

The message is simple: music is a uniting force. It reaches our collective souls and binds us together.

The foundation was created to support this message through music education, believing that in putting an instrument in a child's hands you can feed their spirit, give them hope, and allow them to dream...thus creating a positive change in the world. In essence, it is recognizing that music has the power to bind future generations together in one love.

The programs that PFCF support span the globe and are changing the lives of many. It takes only to see the smiling faces of the children who participate in their programs to realize the difference they are making.

In a world where it is all to easy to lose sight of the human spirit, it is truly inspiring to be involved in such an uplifting cause. I encourage you to learn more at www.playingforchange.org
One love!

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am honored to be a member of the Advisory Board . Positive change through music is a message that I believe in. I can always feel the depth of the commitment as well as the incredible spirit of the organization. It is obvious every step of the way... And I will continue to be inspired and also hope to inspire PFC to reach even higher.

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

It is truly an honor to be involved with The Playing for Change Foundation. As a board member, I have witnessed the organization grow over the last 4 years of my involvement. It is inspiring and motivating to see the positive impact the Foundation has had on the lives and communities it serves. Music can and does create peace, love and change among people and countries all over the globe. I am grateful to be part of such an amazing movement and to have the opportunity to collaborate with such talented people!
- Brian Applestein

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

I personally have dedicated my life to this cause and the entire PFC movement. As an original board member , I have seen the foundation grow from a dream to a reality with the help of a group of very passionate people who all want to give more than they get. There are many fantastic causes so its not about one being better than the other. For PFCF its about how much joy can be spread and that is happening in abundance!

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have watched the PFCF grow for several years now. I've seen first hand how truly devoted and committed the foundation is to using every resource and dollar toward helping enrich children's lives through music programs/education. There is so much heart, passion and integrity in each and every person involved with PFCF. ONE LOVE!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Amazing work being done for amazing children. The first chance many of them have had to interact with music and their own creativity.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

The energy and innovation at Playing for Change is astounding. In nearly two decades in international development, I have never seen such dedication, excitement and compassion. The enormously moving music of PFC provides an inspirational basis for the wonderful work of their schools around the world. I am so grateful to play a role in this organization.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

It has been a beautiful thing to see this foundation grow from its first school in Gugulethu, South Africa to its current scope with 9 programs in 6 countries. From its work in education to breaking down perceived cultural / geographic barriers by connecting its students through music, Playing For Change Foundation is making a huge difference in the world.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

From the moment I arrived till the moment I reluctantly left I felt safe happy and free, isn't that the the point of a festival to feel that the world can be a happy place filled with smiles music and peace! Playing for change has the added bonus of spectacular surroundings which just adds to the good feeling of a good time for a good cause! A winner :)

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Playing For Change Foundation continues to grow every year in productive and positive ways while staying true to its core mission of supporting music education around the world. The PFC foundation is bringing hope and inspiration through the arts to places in the world with a desperate need for a creative voice and artistic expression and I am so proud to see this Foundation positively affecting so many children and their communities across the globe.

One Love, Mark Johnson

Gill R.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Cumbria UK Playing For Change event was by far the most enjoyable event of the social calendar this year. The secret and magical location, the flawless organisation of the dedicated team, the considerable creative thought that went into ensuring that all present had the time of their lives all in a good cause, is something this charity should be immensely proud of.
Everyone I spoke to said there was a feeling of homecoming about the event, like an enormous family gathering of like-minded people.
Fine artists, circus performers, bands, solo artists, DJ's, technicians and volunteers all offered their services for free to unite us all in a magical weekend of rhythm and dance. The feedback afterwards suggested that this was a life-changing event for some. To arrive at a place knowing no-one and being welcomed into a fold that only existed in your dreams, has altered the perception of those attendees who have grown accustomed to a daily diet of bad news and shown them that love really can exist without any ulterior motives. To leave the event exhausted but glowingly happy with the contact details of a host of wonderful people who are now friends for life is amazing. Thank you Playing For Change in all that you do.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Hi there
I was asked by my friend Lui Di Martino to perform at an evening that he was organising for the Playing For Change Foundation. The evening was a great success and money was raised but the best part of the event was the awareness raised about the foundation and the positive difference that they make in developing countries especially in helping them become self sufficient and educate / feed themselves. The wonderful thing about Playing For Change is that it is using music as a vehicle for spreading their message of positivity, unity and hope which is a powerful tool while the media seem intent on focusing on negative stories of war, violence and social unrest. I am hoping to work with Lui next year to make the event bigger and more inclusive, possibly involving schools to help spread a positive message to younger people.

Sfreasier

Board Member

Rating: 4

Playing for Change Foundation came into my life when Spotify asked for my help in identifying a globally-reaching music NGO to contribute to for the holidays. I leapt at the assignment, since I am a nonprofit director with eleven years of experience in the sector and know the indicators of a healthy organization. I was immediately impressed by PFCF's web presence. Upon digging a little deeper, I learned about the transformative work taking place in Africa and Asia through building music schools and programs for children and communities. Music is a powerful vehicle to improve lives and foster peace and connections. I am now a proud board member and advocate for PFCF'S mission.

Lui M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I acted the same evening that I first saw a Playing For Change video and learned of the event they held every year. There was an instant desire to hold an event in my city. And this same intuitive feeling about them, that this was an important and right cause, was also communicated by most of the people who experienced the day, either the musicians involved or the supporters who attended the event.

I found out more about them as time progressed toward the 20th September. Their nine tuition free music schools in underserved countries, and desire to create peace and cross-cultural respect and friendship through the power of music. In corresponding with them I found them genuine and passionate about what they are doing. And we all seem to share that passion. We seem to understand what they are trying to do, without really being able to put it in to words.

They have made some life long fans here!

Lui Di Martino
Playing for Change Cambridge

Jane57

Donor

Rating: 5

Years ago I heard Grandpa Elliot singing on Royal street in New Orleans and I thought I had stumbled upon an angel. The last time I saw Grandpa Elliot in New Orleans I got his CD Sugar Sweet and later the Stand by Me CD. The first time I listened to the CD and watched the dvd I cried and smiled so big! I felt a deep heart connection to all the musicians in the Stand by Me video and I feel the same heart connection to the many musicians around the world who are making such a difference not only in the world but in the communities and in the lives of so many children. PFC is a true blessing on the world.

Previous Stories

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been following Playing for Change since their first CD. I was already a big fan of Grandpa Elliot, Washboard Chaz, and Roberto Luti,from my New Orleans days .I have never felt more inspired or moved by a group of musicians.They have such heart and soul I have no doubt their music and voices will change the world. What they are doing for the children and generations to come is the greatest gift imaginable. God bless them and the Playing for Change Foundation.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The PFC website is really easy to use to set up a PFC Day fundraiser, which was great for me because I have run other fundraisers that have been a lot more admin work for me, which is harder to manage with high school.
For the second year, I ran my own PFC Day fundraiser at the restaurant where I play on Saturdays.
I am in high school, and restaurant customers were very curious why I was doing it, and they
were pretty interested to hear about PFC. A lot looked it up on their phones.

Grace E.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience volunteering with Playing for Change has been life changing. I have always believed that music is the universal language that we can use to connect with people from any culture, race or religion. I know that music is a means to peace, which is so needed in our world today. However, before working with Playing for Change I did not understand the depth of meaning music can hold in the heart of a child who would not have access to it without the help of this organization. I got to experience their music schools in Nepal and mostly worked with the children in Tintale and Katari. These children are bright with smiles bursting at the sight of a harmonium. Playing for Change is doing a beautiful thing by helping to preserve a cultures music while simultaneously providing such pure hearted joy to children. They work in areas where music means so much to the people yet they do not have access to instruments or the money to purchase them. Playing for Change is keeping music alive in these places and helping the heart of their cultures beat powerfully.

Client Served

Rating: 5

You want peace in the world? you want cultural ties that bind! you have to have music! what an effort both on site and in the editing room! each snippet of their musical compilations makes the world a bit smaller, borders less defined, bridges shorter! And then too we are free to enjoy the musical gifts, joy and pleasure of each of the taped participants. I get to see all this right here in my own home space and to have my spirit lifted to a hopeful plain.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Este projeto é lindo!! Muda a vida de muitos através da arte.
Espero que muitas pessoas ao redor do mundo conheça.
Vida longa ao projeto!!!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I found out about Playing For Change Foundation through our public television station and through some good friends and neighbors. I believe in their mission to achieve world peace and harmony through music and education. I am a preschool teacher in Los Angeles, CA. and work with many diverse children and families. Playing for Change is making a real positive difference in the lives of many children and their communities throughout the world. Through music education they have actively lifted up whole communities and built worldwide relationships that benefit many. They stand behind their mission statement and their goals. I can't think of an organization that deserves more support. They do great important work to improve the quality of life on our planet and they bring our world together through harmony of spirit, love, peace, creativity and dedication to higher values for humanity. This nonprofit brings joy, improved community health and education to a wide variety of people worldwide and I hope it continues to expand its scope and borders to reach more people around the world.

1 DanaBorontis

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Actually, I found out about them quite randomly, when a friend of mine sent me one of their songs when I was in a bad mood. It instantly changed my feelings. I searched more information about them online, and I believe a lot in the work they are doing. Although I am a little bit far away (all the way in Romania, europe), I would love to make an event Playing for Change! Love their work!

1 Quita F.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Playing. For change foundation is an organisation that puts "their money where their mounths" are in terms of implementing their vision. The children of this world is our greatest asset and we should nurture and harvest their talents. We as an organisation in South Africa support them in their endeavours and also promote them for their good work because they deserve it. Alpha Fransman (SAFY) - South Africa