Our Mission and Vision:
Grassroots and nation-wide support of instrument-based music education available for all children in the United States, beginning at the earliest age possible, offered in schools or as after-school programs for a significant length of time (minimum two years and four hours per week), so all children experience the measurable social, biological, economic, and academic benefits of music education.
The Spirit of Harmony Foundation engages in Music Education advocacy by:
- Providing children’s music programs with information, ideas, and resources to help them address their needs.
- Providing music education advocates with referrals and connections within their own communities so they are able to support local music programs in meaningful and impactful ways.
Highlights of our First Decade:
Formation and Organization
- June 2013 – Youth Orchestra of the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans. During the celebration of Todd’s 65th Birthday, a fan fundraiser, followed by a site visit, inspired the formation of the Foundation.
- October 2013 – Articles of Incorporation filed.
- January 2014 – Announced formation of SOHF at NAMM Show, webcast internationally.
- April 2014 – Northwestern University. Todd attends a lecture and demonstration by Dr. Nina Kraus to explain music education’s neurological impact on a child’s brain. Neurological Science forms the basis and guiding principle of the Foundation’s work, and the idea arises for the Advocacy Tool Kit “making the case” for Music Education with this and other empirical evidence.
- June 2014 – IRS 501(c)(3) status granted.
Music Education Advocacy
Mortar Not Bricks: One of the unique attributes of SOHF is that it is an advocacy organization and not a direct service provider or grant-making organization. Because SOHF functions purely in an advocacy role for all children’s music programs, we are not in competition with other organizations for grant money, “turf,” or resources. Programs and organizations need not treat us as benefactors, so they are able to be entirely honest about their challenges and hopes, strengths and weaknesses. This clears the way for SOHF to identify areas of synergy between organizations and create introductions that benefit the populations they serve. This particular attribute of SOHF works remarkably well in the non-profit playing field and the altitude at which we are able to operate is one of our greatest strengths. For example, as this document is being written, efforts are being made by SOHF to coordinate multiple resources to help restore the music programs in the three schools in Lahaina that lost everything in the Maui fire.
- Information tables at Todd’s national tours in 2018, 2019, 2021, and 2022. Hundreds of volunteers staff the tables and promote the SOHF mission to concertgoers.
- Whenever possible, tables showcase local music programs in each city.
- Ongoing work with volunteers to help them connect with local music programs and volunteer and/or support programs in a wide variety of ways, from attending children’s performances to volunteering as instructors and everything in between.
- Information tables during “Celebrating David Bowie” 2022 national tour, expanding the Foundation’s advocacy outreach beyond Todd’s fan base.
Capacity Building for Music Programs
- SOHF offers support for music programs around the country through its connections with potential funding sources and resources, one-on-one consulting and ongoing brainstorming sessions, fundamental non-profit advice, and systemic network building.
- At least 3-4 times each week, the Foundation is contacted by music programs for assistance and provides them with ideas, contacts, and connections to resources.
- SOHF conservatively estimates that at least 30,000 children have benefitted from our support, resources, and instrument and material donations in the first ten years of operation.
Instrument Drives and Placements
- The primary and most universal need of music programs is musical instruments, and one of the best methods of engaging supporters is getting them involved in donating instruments, whether a one-off donation of something they own or participating in a larger-scale instrument drive. We strive to make as many matches as possible with instrument donors and instrument recipients. Since instrument drives require pick-up/drop off sites, evaluation, repair/reconditioning, and redistribution, we have developed a continually updated database of organizations in every state.
- The Foundation has a longstanding and close working relationship with Hungry for Music, in addition to other organizations that accept used instruments, refurbish them, and distribute them to music programs.
- SOHF supporters organize local instrument drives, utilizing guidelines, tips, and support provided by the Spirit of Harmony.
- Music programs contact the Foundation about acquisition of instruments and are provided with links and resources.
- Individuals who wish to donate instruments, gear, and educational materials contact the Foundation to find a local organization that needs their donation, and SOHF works with them to facilitate the donation. SOHF is one of very few organizations in the country that will assist donors in finding a new home for pianos and organs, which are notoriously difficult to place.
- Current active partnerships include music manufacturers, instrument repair, businesses and corporations, school systems, academic institutions, service clubs, professional associations, governmental departments, a wide variety of nonprofits, community leaders, music groups and artist fan bases, etc.
- SOHF staff are personally involved with Advisory Boards and Evaluation Committees locally and nationally.
- Especially strategic partnerships/collaborations include NAMM, NAfME, US Department of Education, White House Partnerships Office, Music Will (formerly Little Kids Rock), Keep Music Alive, Music For All, Record Store Day, D’Addario Foundation, Celebrating David Bowie, Live Nation, Arts ARE Education, Art of Music Experience, University of Notre Dame, various Todd and other musicians’ fan groups, and Todd’s own management team.
- An especially noteworthy partnership is with Marshall. Thanks to Todd and our friends at Records Store Day, Marshall sent SOHF 150 premium headsets in September 2023 for distribution to music programs. They appreciate being able to make corporate donations of merchandise to us, so we are able to vet the recipients and make sure they are put to good use. We hope this partnership continues to develop and flourish.
Toolkit and Website Resources
- The Foundation offers an Advocacy Toolkit which provides relevant facts and article links to support its focus on the moral imperative of music education, with details about the social, academic, neurological, and economic benefits of music education.
- The Toolkit offers assessment tools for reinvigorating and/or starting a music program.
- In early 2020, the Foundation created a resource page for music programs during the pandemic, which continues to be refreshed and relevant guidance for online and remote music education.
- Active social media presence, especially on Facebook, with numerous posts each day celebrating music and music education and providing relevant information. Curated and robust engagement from over 9,000 group members on Facebook and nearly 11,000 “fan page” followers.
- SOHF involvement in fan events, Toddstocks, parties, etc.
- During the pandemic lock-down, SOHF coordinated a national participation component of Todd’s virtual Clearly Human tour, as well as several virtual get-togethers.
- 3D Instrument Printing Project. Recognizing that the expense of musical instruments is often an impediment to music education, SOHF is working to test the concept of a pilot program for 3D Instrument Printing with at least one children’s music program with a school or university that has a 3D Printing/engineering program that wants to participate.
- SoundArts (Electronic Music Education). Introducing SoundArts as a viable and valuable method of promoting music education, particularly among youth who may not be particularly interested in learning how to play an instrument and/or schools that do not have the resources for a traditional music program. Launched a new webpage and resource guide to encourage participation in this program.
Little Rock, Arkansas, 2015 – Symposium on the Moral Imperative of Music Education, hosted by the Clinton School of Public Service of the University of Arkansas.
- Featured speakers on the Social, Academic, Neurological, Economic benefits of Music Education: Kevin Ellman, Dr. Margaret Martin, Dr. Nina Kraus, Dr. George Ford, Carl Mouton, and Mary Leuhrsen.
- Local and national media coverage
- Concert the night before the Symposium and concert the night after the Symposium.
University of Notre Dame, 2016 – At the invitation of the Notre Dame Department of Film, Television, and Theatre and the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, Todd Rundgren did a 12-day Artist in Residence, with the theme “Play Like a Champion Today” which included:
- First Time (Fighting Irish) Fan documentary and Spirit of Harmony documentary.
- Classes and lectures for Notre Dame students
- Community outreach, including instrument drives and a Q&A with local school children.
- Largest indoor Pep Rally in Notre Dame history
- Concert collaborating with Notre Dame Students
- The Spirit of Harmony partnered with the South Bend Center for the Homeless to create a community service event where SOHF supporters distributed ukuleles and arranged for ongoing lessons for the children in the Center.
- Local and national media coverage
- In cooperation with Creative Concepts in Music, presented two on-site classroom workshops for second graders to demonstrate integrating music into elementary school curriculum.
- Conducted an Engage Now + Kennedy Center Partners in Education Workshop for local elementary school teachers at DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. Presentation by the Spirit of Harmony Foundation and Creative Concepts in Music.
New York City, 2017 – “Night of Harmony” Board of Directors initiated fundraising concert at the Cutting Room.
- Three members of the SOHF Board of Directors, Todd Rundgren, Kevin Ellman, and John Siegler performed, along with Jesse Gress, Kasim Sulton, and Greg Hawkes.
- Special guests, ETHEL and Bettye LaVette
- Local and national media coverage
Big Weekend 2018 in South Bend, Indiana and Chicago
- A second Todd Artist in Residence and Play Like a Champion Today concert at the University of Notre Dame
- House of Blues Chicago, Benefit Concert featuring the Chicago Sinfonietta conducted by Rich Daniels, and promoted by Live Nation. Representatives of local music programs were invited as guests.
- Debut concert by the Intoxicats and Musical Instrument Drive with Hungry for Music at Martyrs in Chicago.
Board and Advisory Board
- The organization has a stable, committed Board of Directors, headed by founder and president Todd Rundgren. Most meetings are held via telephone or zoom.
- The Advisory Board is called upon as needed for needs and requests as they arise.
Auctions and Fundraising
- 2-3 auctions per year offered online to help our community members donate their collectibles to a good cause, and help others obtain new treasures.
- Cultivate relationships with donors and supporters, and work with individuals and families to assist them in setting up grants, bequests and memorial gifts supporting music education.
- The Spirit of Harmony gratefully acknowledges the generosity of ALL donations, regardless of amount.
- SOHF works closely with supporters who organize their own fundraising initiatives to benefit the Foundation.
Awards and Recognition
- Awarded Great Nonprofits’ “Top Nonprofits Award” 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023.
- Candid (formerly GuideStar) Bronze Seal in 2018, Silver Seal in 2019, Gold Seal in 2020, and Platinum Seal 2021, 2022, and 2023.
- Music for All/Advocacy In Action partnership award
- Beautiful Cities Project Award in 2023 for uplifting communities