Eddie Van Halen gives away his own guitars to kids in schools through Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, a charity named after the inspiring movie starring Richard Dreyfuss as a dedicated music teacher. Van Halen could probably auction off his famous axes and raise money for the mission, but giving the actual instruments gives the kids a direct link to something special. Talking with CNN recently, Van Halen and Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation CEO Felice Mancini described the mission of the foundation and how the instruments it provides have a wide-reaching, long-term effect. Music, often on the chopping block as schools cut budgets, needs saving for humanity’s sake. Mancini and Van Halen are trying.
At the foundation’s site, a quote from a high school musician in Miami describes the results of their good work better than even the guitar legend can. Mario says “I’m finally able to have my own instrument checked out to me that I don’t have to share for the first time.” Mario now spends more time practicing and, taking personal responsibility for his instrument, he’s able to keep it in tune and keep it out of the repair shop. The Foundation gives away nearly 2000 instruments each year each. Nearly 1500 schools have received a gift from Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation since its inception. You can donate money, or your old sax or ax here.