Mission Statement

Supporting public music education in Washington State.

Music Aid Northwest’s has become an important partner for music in the state, having raised over $1.3 million to support music classrooms over the last eleven years. Our goal is to augment existing funds for music programs, not to replace them.

Music Aid Northwest (MANW) is in its 11th year of working directly with the Washington Music Educators Association (WMEA) a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit. According to WMEA, music programs are funded at minimal levels throughout our state, therefore, music exposure to our Washington State students is often lacking. Yet, research proves that having access to music education and music theory adds to the cognitive growth of students and enjoyment of school.

MANW has 14 board members and eight volunteers on a steering committee for our annual concert and gala called “Play it Forward.”

Music Aid Northwest is a tax-exempt not-for-profit 501 (c) 3 corporation.  EIN # 20-2943233

WMEA Partnership

Music Aid Northwest has partnered with WMEA to solicit grant applications from statewide K–12 music programs. Music teachers are invited to share their specific needs and the dollar amount required to fulfill these classroom needs.  Every spring a committee consisting of representatives from WMEA and MANW meet to review all grants and approve which to fill.

Example Grant

Music Aid Northwest extended a $6,500.00 grant to the high-needs Prescott School District #402-37. The Prescott School District matched $2,000.00. The money primarily went toward new, used, and repair of orchestra and band instruments for 5th through 12th grade students. The grant has made it possible for all students to have an opportunity to make music a part of their everyday school life.

Fundraising Programs

  1. Music Matters is a specialty license plate program available in Washington State. These funds are paid monthly by the state and require no out-of-pocket expenses from MANW. Of the proceeds, 40% go to WMEA’s Young Musicians Excelling program as well the general administrative expenses for managing the grant program. The remaining 60% goes directly to grant recipients. Nearly 2200 cars in our state have the plate and proudly provide visibility to our cause.
  2. Play it Forward is our annual concert that brings together music students and Pacific Northwest musicians with a national or international following to share their talents for the benefit of music education. Ticket prices range from $250 to $500 per person. Proceeds from Play it Forward pay for the general expenses of Music Aid Northwest so that all direct donations received are used to benefit music education in the state.
  3. Specialty Events. From time to time an event with a lower ticket price than Play it Forward will be created to ensure that we are leaving no one behind who wishes to get involved.

Covid Effects

Due to Covid, in 2020 Play It Forward was cancelled although tickets had been sold. Over 98% of the ticket holders donated their full ticket price to MANW. Also, in 2020, most schools were closed, and music programs shuttered. Therefore, money was not given out directly to schools during the 2020 school cycle. Money raised from the 2020 Music Matters license plate program, and money remaining from 2020 and 2021 were given out by the end of 2021. Grant requests are currently being received from schools across the state for the 2022/23 school year.

Ratio of Expenses vs Money Raised

Music Aid Northwest has no paid employees.  All board members are volunteers and meetings are held in private homes.  Expenses for Play it Forward are paid by ticket sales.  MANW expenses, such as Insurance, marketing, and office supplies account for less than 2% of all money taken in.  Said another way; NINETY EIGHT PERCENT of all money collected goes directly to support music education in Washington State!


“As a high-poverty school district, the grant has helped us supply quality instruments to many students who would have otherwise been excluded from the music program because they couldn’t afford it”
Adam Cornwall, Rainier High School

Tax Status

Music Aid Northwest is a registered 501c3 organization, Federal EIN # 20-2943233. You can find our tax filing papers here.