Ready to rock? The Fender Music Foundation (See Fender Foundation: Grants for Music) is a nonprofit music program that provides instruments to education programs across the U.S., including other nonprofit programs and public schools. The Foundation awards instruments and related equipment collected from manufacturers and retailers that have been lightly used or blemished. Primary instruments awarded include acoustic guitars, electric guitars, acoustic-electric guitars, bass guitars, and all the related equipment you need to get your groove on.
For those unfamiliar with Fender, it's the beloved guitar manufacturer preferred by music idols like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Kurt Cobain. Even Don Felder, former lead guitarist of The Eagles, sits on the foundation's board of directors. Talk about good company!
To be eligible for instruments, a program must offer either in-school music education classes, after-school music classes not run by a school, community music programs providing music education to the community, or music therapy classes where the goal is to make music. Because we could all use a little music therapy, right?
Further, the foundation stipulates that participants are not denied based on their musical abilities and that any participation fees are far less than market value. Each participant must receive instruction at least once per week for at least eight months of the year, making short-term camps and workshops ineligible. Programs must also have been running one year or more at the time of application.
To apply, programs must complete at Grant Candidate Form. The form asks 32 basic questions about the applicant organization, including a one-sentence description of the organization, total operating budget, and a description of its impact within the community. Within 24 hours of submitting the Grant Candidate Form, programs must also send an email with the following documents: 501(c)(3) IRS verification letter (not required of public schools or school districts), a copy of the Grant Agreement form found on the main grant page, and a photo that "captures the spirit of the program." Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
Eight instruments are offered to selected programs, although programs can specify if they need more in their application. Occasionally other instruments are available, including traditional string, woodwind, percussion, and brass instruments. Please note DJ equipment and computers are not available. A list of specific blemishes and imperfections is available to the selected programs. Fender will contact awarded programs and offer them access to an online catalog of instruments to choose from. Instruments are then shipped to the program for a $10 to $30 shipping reimbursement fee per item. From there, the magic is up to you.