The COVID-19 pandemic has affected so many members of the music community, but the Guitar Center Music Foundation (GCMF), a non-profit dedicated to helping support musicians and music education programs, was able to make a significant mark in keeping the music going across the country. The organization provided monetary assistance to more than 200 musicians and instruments and equipment grants to 33 music programs in 2020 thanks to donations from the music community.

In part due to the generous support from various sponsors, MI manufacturers and other allies, the GCMF was able to deliver more than 3,500 instruments to these programs in need. Individuals and MI companies who were key sponsors in 2020 include: Jonathan Thomas (Cordoba Guild), John Geiger (Zildjian / Vic Firth), Brian LeVan (Remo), Andy Strayer (Mapex) and donations from Guitar Center’s Private Brands. Additionally, Drum Workshop Inc. (DW) and the Gibson Foundation provided in-kind donations of gear to support instrument grants that were key to the GCMF’s music education initiatives.

Don Lombardi, who serves on the GCMF Board of Directors in addition to being founder of Drum Workshop Inc. and CEO of, noted, “The Guitar Center Music Foundation is a way we can all give back to the music community so future generations can experience what has been so important to all of us, the joy of making music.”

GCMF also implemented several other initiatives involving industry outreach and advocacy. Several events dubbed “Relief 4 Musicians” became the GCMF’s first-ever streaming series fundraiser, taking place last summer. These online events were free for viewers with an opportunity to make donations, as well as bid on collectible artist-signed items with 100 percent of the funds collected going to support musicians in need and struggling music education and music therapy programs.

“At the Guitar Center Company, we believe that making music has the power to improve lives, soothe the soul and empower creativity,” said Ron Japinga, Guitar Center CEO and a member of the GCMF Board of Directors. “Unfortunately, access to musical instruments and gear is not available to everyone, but in 2020, with the help of our friends in the industry, we were able to provide more than 3,500 musical instruments to over 30 schools and music therapy programs nationwide. We are thankful to our partners and those who donate to the Guitar Center Music Foundation efforts. We look forward to our continued efforts to assure equal access to musical instruments and music education is available to anyone who wants to make music.”

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