A movie that almost didn’t get made 20 years ago became the catalyst for the creation of a namesake non-profit that has changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of kids by giving them the opportunity to learn and play music in school – and keep music education strong and available to kids without the means and access to play.

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. In collaboration with committed school districts, the Foundation’s investments are strategically placed as part of a K–12 district-wide plan to achieve positive and lasting results. Generations of students will benefit!

After 20 years of continuous support of music in our schools, the foundation has touched countless young lives, worked with 1,441 school music programs and donated $20 million worth of musical instruments nationwide. Music’s role in a child’s education is key in engaging them, sparking their creativity and unique voice and improving their overall enjoyment and success in school. A vibrant, music-rich curriculum makes an immense difference in their lives.

Today, when millions of at-risk kids fall through the cracks and the gap widens in educational opportunities, we know that The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation will be keeping music alive for them now, and for the next 20 years.