VH1 STM Play It Forward20 YEARS

Celebrating 20 years

Since 1997, VH1 Save The Music has been “Playing It Forward” by saving music education in America’s public schools. We couldn’t have done it without our donors, supporters, officials, teachers, and people like you. Through your generous support we have been able to restore music programs in more than 2,000 public schools in 247 school districts, giving 3 million children the tools and confidence to excel in academics and in life.

The Foundation is excited to Play It Forward for another 20 years, giving EVERY kid in America access to music education!



Joan Osbourne, Amy Grant, Lou Reed, and one million dollars’ worth of instruments were on hand at Washington Irving High School for a press conference announcing the success of VH1 Save The Music in New York City. More than 6,500 new and used instruments were collected from local residents and manufacturers around the country during a three-month instrument drive.

VH1 Divas Live: A Concert for VH1 Save The Music was held in New York City at the Beacon Theater on April 14, 1998. Superstars Mariah Carey, Gloria Estefan, Shania Twain, Aretha Franklin, Céline Dion and Carole King joined together for a fundraiser concert, united in their optimism and eagerness to improve the lives of children through music. A $100,000 check was presented by the Divas on NABIM’s behalf to the VH1 Save The Music Foundation, and by the end of the night, ticket sales and contributions totaled over $750,000 in pledges launching VH1 STM programs in Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York and Las Vegas.



We completed our first rebuild in Buffalo, NY making 33 grants from 1998-2001, donating a total at $825K!

Edwin Mulitalo, then of the Baltimore Ravens, teamed up with then-Mayor Martin O’Malley’s Be Instrumental Initiative and VH1 Save The Music at Arlington Elementary to present 16 schools in the Baltimore City School District with $400,000 worth of musical instruments as part of the commitment to restore music education in every Baltimore City school.

In September 4, 2002 Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent William G. Andrekopoulos joined President Clinton and Darius Rucker at the Audobon Technology and Communications Center in Milwaukee to announce that every elementary school in Milwaukee will have its own music program thanks to a $1.6 million commitment by VH1 STM.

In April, Melissa Etheridge paid a visit to her hometown of Leavenworth, KS to help VH1 Save The Music announce the restoration of music programs in Leavenworth public schools. Etheridge spoke with 4th and 5th grade music students about the importance of music education and acoustically performed “Come to My Window”. We completed the rebuild in 2004, donating to 6 schools and $150K of new music instruments.

In 2008, the School Board for New Brunswick Public Schools and Richard Kaplan, Superintendent of New Brunswick Public Schools, was recognized with the VH1 Save The Music Foundation Award for Distinguished Support of Music Education. After being approached by two proactive school board representatives in support of instrumental music programs, Kaplan authorized a complete revamping of the NBPS instrumental music program. After committing to hire a roster of new music teachers, he connected with VH1 STM – and, with the generous support of the Paul Singer Family Foundation, we were able to restore music education to every New Brunswick elementary school.

On June 21, 2009 15 students from the School District of Philadelphia, a VH1 Save The Music Foundation grant-recipient district, participated in the White House Music Series. The series was designed to demonstrate the importance of arts education as a means to foster the creativity and innovation that has made this country great. This education workshop focused on the American art form of country music. Grammy Award winners Alison Krauss and Brad Paisley performed and shared their inspiring life stories with the 120 student musicians in attendance.



VH1 Save The Music Foundation testified before the U.S. Department of Education on January 20, 2010 about the benefits of music education and the challenges school districts are facing. In addition, VH1 Save The Music held a series of meetings in June with Congressional leaders to talk about the importance of music in each child’s education, and to advocate for education laws that ensure that all children have access to a complete education.

VH1 Save The Music is proud to announce the completion of our rebuild of music programs to three elementary schools in Columbia Heights, MN where the music programs are still going strong today!

After an 8-year partnership with New Haven Public Schools, a longtime goal of providing access to instrumental music education programs K-8 students in New Haven has finally been achieved. With the dedication of the superintendent, board of education, principals and music teachers, the Foundation donated $430K in new musical instruments to restore music programs to 15 schools and the district now celebrates their K-12 comprehensive music programs across New Haven.

Over the course of five years, the Foundation has provided grants to all 17 elementary schools across the Roanoke City Public Schools donating $510,000 worth of instruments. Thanks to generous support from both the CMA Foundation and the Foundation for Roanoke Valley, VH1 Save The Music was able to grant to the five remaining elementary schools in 2014 to complete our rebuild of music education in Roanoke, VA. To celebrate this great accomplishment, a special concert took place on November 17 at the Roanoke Performing Arts Theatre at the Berglund Center. The concert showcased the talents of 450 student musicians, representing the elementary, middle and high school instrumental music programs across Roanoke City Public Schools. The CMA Foundation generously brought along country music singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Hunter Hayes to speak on the impact of music in his life and the importance of music education in schools. David Stewart Wiley, music director and conductor of the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, conducted the high school orchestra. The concert was a huge success, and a great reflection of the growth in music education opportunities for all children in Roanoke City Public Schools.

Joyce Kilmer Middle School’s gymnasium in Trenton New Jersey was packed with 300 music students, many performing with instruments granted through VH1 Save The Music. Mayor Eric Jackson attended the performances, as well as Sway Calloway, of XM Sirius radio’s The Wake Up Show. VH1 Save The Music’s initiative in Trenton began in 2012 with the reconstruction of musical instrument programs in 14 of the 17 elementary and middle schools. The remaining three schools received their grants in the fall of 2016 completing our rebuild in Trenton!


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