About the Foundation

The Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation was inspired by the acclaimed motion picture Mr. Holland’s Opus, the story of the profound effect a dedicated music teacher had on generations of students. The film's composer, Michael Kamen, started the foundation in 1996 as his commitment to the future of music education.

The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation keeps music alive in our schools by providing durable, high-quality musical instruments to deserving, under-funded music programs nationwide. By increasing the school’s inventory of quality, playable instruments, music teachers are given the tools they need to deliver a quality music education to students who want to learn, re-energize their program, attract new students and instill a sense of pride and worth for the students and the entire school.

Amid overwhelming evidence of the positive role of arts education in America’s schools, the Foundation partners with school districts to advocate for music education and advise schools in best practices to ensure the longevity of these vital programs.

The foundation's mission is narrowly focused and efficiently administered by a staff with long-term relationships in the music education community and the music products industry. We are supported by a solid base of loyal donors who value music education for all children.

About the Program

The Michael Kamen Grant provides musical instruments to established school music programs throughout the country.

All applicants submit a pre-qualification form, and if the program meets our guidelines we invite them to apply for a grant of instruments. Applications are reviewed once each year to select music programs that:

  • demonstrate financial need and serve a majority of students from low-income families
  • have an established quality music program offered during the regular school day
  • show administrative support as reflected in music-friendly master schedule and longevity of the program at the school
  • have a dedicated instrumental music teacher who has taught at the school for at least two consecutive years
  • present a strong case that the school’s existing instrument inventory cannot meet the needs of all students

When selected to receive a grant, the foundation purchases new instruments and distributes excellently refurbished instruments that become the property of the school. Our program staff follows the process from start to finish. The foundation donates quality instruments that will last a minimum of 10 years, allowing generations of students to use them.


Every year, thousands of students benefit from a donation of instruments to their schools.

  • Students who can’t afford to rent or buy an instrument can participate
  • Students on wait lists can be moved into the music program
  • Students no longer have to share instruments and can take them home to practice
  • Old and damaged instruments are replaced by quality instruments that will last for 10 years or longer
  • Hours of additional class instruction time are gained because of time saved not having to wash and disinfect mouthpieces and quick repair old instruments before class
  • Students sound better and make amazing progress when they can play a great instrument
  • Schools we serve report higher attendance and graduation rates and fewer suspension and behavioral problems for students in the music program
  • A grant from MHOF elevates and highlights the schools we serve in their communities, which instills pride and elicits further support

For more information about the benefits of arts education, visit Support Music

Click here for a list of grant recipients


Michael Kamen, Composer and Founder


Whitney Elementary, Boise ID

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