As the holiday season approaches, our collective minds turn toward thoughts of thanksgiving and gifts. What better way to celebrate the season—and music—than by helping your fellow man (and musicians)? Here are eight non-profit string organizations making a difference in lives around the world.

By Heather K. Scott

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Daniel Pearl Foundation

Who They Are
Daniel Pearl was a noted Jewish-American journalist and amateur violinist, who was kidnapped in Pakistan while working as the South Asia Bureau Chief of the Wall Street Journal. Pearl was later executed by his captors. Pearl’s family and friends created the Daniel Pearl Foundation to celebrate and promote Pearl’s mission of bringing joy and understanding to the world.

What They Do
The foundation’s mission is to promote cross-cultural understanding through journalism, music, and innovative communications. The foundation created Daniel Pearl World Music Days in 2002 and hosts an international network of concerts that use music to raise awareness for tolerance. Since its inception, Daniel Pearl World Music Days has grown to include the participation of more than 11,900 performances in 132 countries. (World Music Days is an awareness-raising program, not a fundraiser. There is no financial obligation to participate, and all musicians are welcome.)

How You Can Help
Musicians can participate by making a simple dedication at an event or performance. Visit foundation’s website to register your upcoming performance. You’ll be included in an online events calendar and asked to make a dedication of “Harmony for Humanity” at your upcoming event (the foundation also offers suggested dedication verbiage). For more information, visit danielpearlmusicdays.org.

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Fiddleheads

Who They Are
Fiddleheads.ca is an eco-friendly, award-winning music shop located in British Columbia, Canada. Owner Rhiannon Nachbaur Schmitt is passionate about helping where she can and believes we all have something to offer to make the world a better place.

What They Do
Fiddleheads is actively involved in donating to several causes by means of time, expertise, money, and goods.

How You Can
Help The shop is directly involved with violin donations, volunteering, and family giving. Visit fiddleheads.ca for more information.

Music for Food

Who They Are
Music for Food is a musician-led initiative to fight hunger in communities in and around Boston, Massachusetts. The organization holds concerts in which 100 percent of the proceeds go toward supporting local hunger relief.

What They Do
Music for Food brings both young and seasoned musicians to the stage around the community. The money raised at these concerts, in addition to donations of nonperishable goods, go straight back to the community. By raising awareness through the gift of music, Music for Food strives to provide nourishment for both the body and mind.

How You Can
Help Help the cause by visiting the Music for Food website and making a tax-deductible donation. Their Nourishing Neighbors Initiative is an annual-fund membership program hosted by Music for Food. Through this membership, resources are provided to the organization to help it support its mission of hunger relief.

Music Unites

Who They Are
Music Unites is a national charity focused on raising academic and lifetime achievement for at-risk public school students.

What They Do
Through the support and creation of music-education partnerships with music stars, celebrity ambassadors, and music sponsors, the organization provides free, after-school music programs to youth. Music Unites features workshops with ambassadors such as Swizz Beats, John Forté, Sting, and Gary Clark Jr. The organization currently provides free after-school music programs to youth through school-based partnerships, along with special, monthly workshops designed to align with standards for career and college readiness.

How You Can Help
Music Unites uses charitable contributions to promote the next generation of musicians and bring music to the attention of a diverse audience. To make a tax-deductible gift in a variety of ways, visit musicunites.org.

The National Endowment of the Arts

Who They Are
The NEA was first created by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. Today, the NEA is the largest grantmaker to arts organizations in the nation.

What They Do
To date, the NEA has awarded more than $5 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, and other federal agencies.

How You Can Help
The Endowment seeks out projects at all community levels—from local neighborhoods to regional locales, to state and nationwide initiatives. When making a donation, you can also specify how your gift will be used. To learn more, visit: arts.gov/about/donate.

Newtown Peace Park

Who They Are
The Newton Peace Park non-profit organization was created by violinist and string educator Julie Lyonn Lieberman in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy as a way to cultivate a culture of kindness within communities touched by the 2012 school shooting.

What They Do
Lieberman works with fellow musicians to raise awareness in concerts and tours. Additionally, violinmaker Paul Davies and Lieberman have banded together to create the Violin of Peace project. The twosome toured schools throughout Michigan, Seattle, Denver, Wisconsin, and Atlanta earlier this year to raise awareness.

How You Can Help
Build on the Violin of Peace project by creating something similar for your own community to foster a culture of kindness through the gift of music. For more ideas, visit bit.ly/1pbP1NT.

The Violin Player

Who They Are
The Violin Player is an education-related, non-profit organization actively involved in the arts.

What They Do
The organization strives to advance music education by providing quality musical instruments and other educational resources to schools and individuals in the upstate New York and Southern Ohio areas. The Violin Player also offers free or discounted lessons on most stringed instruments. (Since the organization’s instruments are offered as loans, participants can enjoy contributions for many years.)

How You Can Help
All funds received go to charitable purposes in the area. To make a donation or for more information, go to theviolinplayer.org.

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Sphinx Organization

Who They Are
The Sphinx Organization is a national nonprofit program founded in 1996 by violinist Aaron P. Dworkin in the hopes of overcoming the cultural stereotypes typically tied to classical music. Dworkin wishes to promote and encourage the participation of African-American and Latino musicians.

What They Do
The organization strives to “transforms lives through the power of diversity in the arts,” as reported in the program’s mission statement. The Sphinx Organization works to positively promote change in the arts across the country through efforts in four areas: education and access, artist development, performing artists, and arts leadership. Its mission is to transform lives through the power of diversity in the arts.

How You Can Help
Individual donations can be directed to all Sphinx program areas, including artist development initiatives and music education opportunities.
Visit sphinxmusic.org to learn more.

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