History, Mission, and Guiding Principles of the Playing For Change Foundation
Playing For Change arose from a common belief that music has the power to connect people regardless of their differences. In 2005, a small group of film makers set out with a dream to create a film rooted in the music of the streets. Not only has that dream been realized, it has grown into a global sensation that has touched the lives of millions of people around the world.
When the crew set out, they created a mobile recording studio and went around the world filming musicians in the places where they lived. The sound was then mixed, and although the musicians were never in the same room—or even the same country or continent—they were unified through music with each contributing her or his distinct gifts to the whole. While traveling the world to film and record, the crew got to know the music and people of each community they visited. Those involved wanted to give something back to the musicians who had shared so much with them.
In 2007, the Playing for Change Foundation was established as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization created to inspire, connect, and bring peace to the world through music. Our mission is to create positive change through music and arts education. As one of our students in Nepal stated, “Music is an indispensable part of life -‐ you cannot live without music.” We couldn’t agree more. At the Playing For Change Foundation, we live our lives by this principle and apply it to everything we do.
What We Do | Playing For Change Foundation
What We Do
Nine music schools and programs have been created in South Africa, Ghana, Mali, Rwanda, Nepal and Thailand. More than 700 young people attend free classes in dance, instruments, languages and musical theory, all taught by qualified local teachers.
Projects also help meet essential needs of the larger community, including the provision of aid such as food, clean water, medicine, clothes, books, school supplies, solar energy, computers, and other modern technology. Over 15,000 people have been impacted by the Foundation’s community development and empowerment efforts throughout our program regions and beyond.
Annual program evaluations reinforce the real and positive impact of music education and demonstrate change in action. When children play music together, collaboration increases and conflict is reduced. And critically important to children, particularly those who are vulnerable due to poverty, conflict, drugs, and neglect, is that learning music increases self-esteem and fosters resilience and joy.
- Using Music to Transform Lives and Communities: Caring adults encourage discipline, joy and personal expression through music and arts programs. Programs emphasize tolerance and shared understanding as methods for solving problems.
- Connecting People and Communities: Cameras and other technology empower individuals and communities to tell their own stories. Children in different countries and schools learn about and get to know peers who live in dramatically different regions and circumstances.
- Economic Empowerment: We use local materials and labor when building; utilize local teachers and administrative staff and provide living wages; and create opportunities for earned income through performances, and creating costumes, instruments and art for sale.
- Local Leadership: Programs are led and affirmed by local village and community leaders.
Where We're Going
In 2015 we will more than double the number of students we serve by initiating new programs in 10 schools in Bangladesh, in a network of charter schools in the United States, and in the community of Curitiba, Brazil.
In our ongoing effort to connect the world through music, our direction has been shaped by where we have been and by those who have inspired us along the way. With this in mind, we strive to:
- Continue progress and foster sustainability with schools currently in development
- Establish valuable partnerships and collaborate with other organizations
- Expand the opportunities and resources available to communities in need
- Be an access point for various forms of aid, including clean water, electricity, and medical resources
- Create positive change through music education
With a conga in one hand and a calculator in the other, Brian serves as President of the Playing…more
Mark Johnson is a Grammy®-winning producer/engineer and award-winning film director whose…more
Whitney Kroenke has been a part of the Playing For Change family since meeting Mark Johnson for…more
Alan is an entreprenor from Brusque, Santa Catarina, Brazil. He graduated from Positivo…more
Joel Goulder is a founding member of the Playing For Change Foundation. He has been doing…more
Tom is an expert in system integration and the development of collaborative transdisciplinary…more
Greg's lifelong love of music began as far back as he can remember, growing up with his family…more
Kevin discovered his passion for filmmaking in Detroit, Michigan. While shooting award winning…more
Jeremy Goulder is a storyteller, passionate about creating and sharing media that educates and…more
Though born and raised in Myrtle Beach, SC, Mark’s family tree is rooted across the Blue Ridge…more
Gail has always been an avid music fan and when she saw the Playing for Change band she couldn’t…more
Andrew Luce brings his experience in business relationship development, tactical marketing and…more
Seema Tikare grew up as a nomad, having lived in Pondicherry, Goa, and Bangalore, India, then…more
LisaBeth Weber brings her passion for making a difference in the world to the Board of the…more
In 1998, armed with a B.A. in business from The Ohio State University, Raan moved west to start a…more
Ella met PFC Co-Founder Mark Johnson in Santa Monica in July 2012 with PFC Band members Jason…more
Elizabeth began working with the Foundation in January 2010 as a consultant helping the team…more
Director of Communications and Special Events
Shauna’s lifelong passion for music began at a young age with lessons in piano, guitar, and…more
Director, Finance and Programs
Thea Karki is a proud member of the Playing For Change Foundation (PFCF), she has been a fan of…more
Donor Relations and Outreach Coordinator
Christine is thrilled to be a member of the PFCF team! She took her first ballet class at age 2…more
Playing For Change Day Coordinator
Kentyah is a DJ, producer, percussionist, aspiring writer and burgeoning pop culture educator. As…more
Fundraising and Special Events Coordinator
Driven by human rights and a desire to better the human experience, Katy Sanders earned a BA in…more
Program and Outreach Assistant
Fernanda Hang is from Brusque, Santa Catarina, Brazil. She graduated with a degree in advertising…more
Growing up in a family heavily involved in musical theater and performance, Ryan developed an…more
Founder and Creative Director, Bizung School of Music & Dance
Archivist / Asian Program Coordinator
William Aura's conscious dedication to global concerns has brought him over a dozen times to the…more
Coordinator, African music programs
François has been an active member of Playing For Change since 2005. He first met Mark Johnson in…more
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, Margie Balter was bitten by the showbiz bug at a very young…more
Stacie joined the PFCF board to marry two of her passions -- music and nonprofits. A native South…more