This month, San Diego Foundation announced a historic, unrestricted $100 million legacy gift from San Diegan Jay Kahn, who recently passed away at age 90.

In announcing the gift – the third largest of its kind to a U.S. community foundation and the largest of its kind to a San Diego nonprofit – SDF honored Kahn’s memory and his love of music with unrestricted $150,000, multi-year grants to 10 San Diego-based music education nonprofits.

Below, watch and listen to stories from some of these nonprofits to learn how these grants will advance their work with under-resourced children.

Guitars and Ukes in the Classroom

The Guitars and Ukes in the Classroom mission is to elevate student engagement, and expand the role of music in education by making purposeful, inclusive music a joyful and integral part of literacy, academic, and social-emotional learning throughout the school day, and beyond.

They accomplish this by training and equipping inspired educators to integrate hands-on music and songs for learning with classroom instruction, activities, transitions, support services, and building classroom communities.

This unique, developmental approach nurtures creative and effective teaching practices through free weekly professional development (PD) courses in ukulele, guitar, and classroom implementation, as well as capacity-building co-teaching artist residencies, intensive workshops, in-service trainings, conference presentations, after school music clubs, and specialized services in adaptive music for inclusion.

Heartbeat Music Academy

Launched in 2016, Heartbeat Music Academy provides affordable after-school music programs in preparation for enrollment at Historically Black College and Universities (HBCUs).

According to founder and CEO Tyra Hawthorne, the nonprofit gives underprivileged kids a chance at a unique musical journey.

“I named it Heartbeat at the time because I felt like we were living in a world where kids were dying, but not physically — emotionally, mentally. They were just lost,” Hawthorne shared during an ABC 10News San Diego interview. “So, I just felt like if anything, I could kind of revive a lost culture with music and that’s how it started.”

David’s Harp Foundation

The David’s Harp Foundation mission is to inspire, educate, and empower system-affected and homeless youth to achieve academic success through music education, sound engineering and multimedia production.

David’s Harp serves system-affected and homeless youth to achieve academic success through music education.

Read and listen to this KPBS Midday Edition story about David’s Harp’s gift from SDF and Jay Kahn.

Learn More

Click the links below to learn more about the remaining Jay Kahn Fund inaugural grantees and their impactful work.

  • A Reason to Survive (ARTS) offers free after-school arts education to South County youth and young people
  • Classics 4 Kids provides free live music programming to children at 236 San Diego County schools
  • San Diego Symphony makes music an integral part of the cultural fabric of the San Diego region
  • San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory provides ‘cradle through college’ music education through its flagship ensemble program, neighborhood engagement projects and early childhood music curriculum
  • San Diego Young Artists Music Academy offers programs in vocal, instrumental, choir, dance and many other positive activities in a healthy and safe environment
  • Voices of Our City reconnects San Diego’s unsheltered neighbors with hope and housing through the healing power of music, individualized care and advocacy
  • Young Lions Jazz Conservatory enriches the lives of middle and high school students by inspiring imagination, intellectual curiosity, character and self-confidence through jazz music instruction

Learn more about Jay Kahn’s life and lasting legacy.