The NAMM Foundation Grantee Spotlight: Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation
Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation is one of 23 music-making programs that received grants from The NAMM Foundation in 2022. Since 1994, NAMM and The NAMM Foundation, through the generous support of NAMM members and donors, have provided $208,893,559 to music-making organizations.
The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation (MHOF) derives its inspiration from the 1995 film Mr. Holland’s Opus. The nonprofit has changed “the lives of hundreds of thousands of kids by giving them access to learn and play music in school – keeping music education alive and strong across the country.”
The foundation was established in 1996 due to the monumental impact of the acclaimed film that tells the story of a dedicated music teacher and his influence on generations of students. Michael Kamen, who scored the film, started the foundation as a “commitment to the future of music education.” Unfortunately, Kamen did not live long enough to see his dream’s full and lasting impact, but his legacy deepens “each time a child has the opportunity to play music” through the foundation’s work.
The Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation
The nonprofit serves students by donating high-quality musical instruments to “deserving, underfunded music programs, and provides an array of support services to school districts.” In addition, increasing instrument inventory gives music teachers the tools they need to deliver top-tier music education.
With funding provided through a grant from The NAMM Foundation, MHOF donates instruments to schools across the nation. With a focus on low-income communities, the applications to receive instruments are invite-only. MHOF aims to aid economically disadvantaged students in gaining access to their school’s music program to eliminate instrument and mouthpiece sharing, which leads to added instruction and practice time; replace aging instruments resulting in enhanced student engagement, learning, and progression; increase community engagement; and increase music students’ academic achievement, school attendance, and graduation rates while concurrently lowering suspension rates.
To qualify for an invitation to the application process, schools must serve a minimum of 65% economically disadvantaged students; have an established instrumental music program offered during the regular school day; have an instrumental music teacher that has completed at least two consecutive years teaching at the school in which is applying; possess an existing instrument inventory; and keep a dedicated instrumental music room with adequate and secure storage for instruments.
Many have presented research showing how learning music positively shapes young minds and lives and should be included in their education. MHOF sees the daily joys and triumphs, challenges, and solutions all affected by music in a powerful way. Children thrive, create, and participate more in life when music is part of their education. It belongs there.
According to MHOF President and CEO Felice Mancini, “MHOF would love to help all music programs in need. We first look at regions of interest to our donors and invite schools within these regions to apply. Then, if we have a surplus of funds, we have an open call to all schools across the country and help as many as possible.” Mancini suggests that schools looking for funding from MHOF continually check the MHOF website or social media sites for announcements regarding these opportunities.
Mancini continued, commenting on the success of the organization’s funding. She said, “When a school applies for instruments for their program, we deeply investigate their needs and program and what an infusion of new instruments will bring to their students. A single donation of instruments can solve a myriad of issues and needs and always benefits the kids and the program.”
MHOF first became a NAMM Foundation grantee in 2000. Since then, The NAMM Foundation grant has enabled more children to play quality instruments, enhancing their experience and increasing the teacher’s ability to deliver a quality learning experience.
According to Mancini, “NAMM members understand more than most how important it is to maintain a healthy, quality, and growing instrument inventory in a school music program. The future of the industry, as well as the future of generations of kids, is at stake. Many nonprofits need NAMM members to step up now and then to support local efforts, and MHOF has benefited greatly from this kind of support.”
To learn more about The Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation, please visit https://mhopus.org/.
Donations to The NAMM Foundation and support its mission to advance active participation in music-making across the lifespan. To learn more, please visit https://www.nammfoundation.org/donate, and to review the entire list of the 2022 grantees, please visit https://www.nammfoundation.org/articles/2022-09-12/namm-foundation-announces-482500-grants-23-music-making-programs.