Laguna nonprofit jumpstarts music education programs in 5 underserved Anaheim schools

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From left to right: Brian Belski, director of Arts Education, Anaheim Union High School District, Henry Donahue, executive director of Save The Music Foundation and Alec Glasser, founder and CEO of The Drake Gives stand with a check for $205,000 to the Anaheim Union High School District on Jan. 24. Photo courtesy of The Drake Gives

Save The Music Foundation hosted a ceremony at Ball Junior High School on Jan. 24, celebrating The Drake Gives as they presented a check for $205,000 to the Anaheim Union High School District to empower young lives through music.

The Drake Gives, the nonprofit initiative of Laguna Beach’s iconic live music and restaurant venue, The Drake, delivered a transformative $205,000 grant to five schools within the Anaheim Union High School District through their partnership with Save The Music. This substantial contribution directly fuels music education, providing new instruments and significantly enhancing each school’s music program.

The check presentation ceremony at Ball Junior High School was a showcase of student talent, with performances guided by Nate Wilson, the school’s band director. Joined by key members of Save The Music, including Executive Director Henry Donahue, Chief Development Director Danielle Zalaznick, and Western Regional Program Director Tonya Hylton, Alec Glasser and Wendy Misner of The Drake Gives reaffirmed their commitment to expanding musical opportunities for underserved youth. Accepting the grant were Michael Matsuda, Superintendent, Principal Poppy Hill-Bonales and Brian Belski, Director of Arts Education, Anaheim Union High School District, marking a significant stride in the collaboration between philanthropy and education.

“The impact that these instrument music grants have on our student population is immeasurable. Students now have the opportunity and access to participate in instrumental music, to participate in the power that music has to shape students’ lives and to teach them things like creativity, critical thinking, communication skills, and how to collaborate. Those things are so important in life, business, and the real world. This grant allows them access – it is a lever for equity and allows students from all socioeconomic backgrounds to participate in music,” said Brian Belski, director of arts education at Anaheim Union High School District.

“We’re thrilled to be a part of such an impactful program and transform these kids’ lives through the power of music. This was the goal from the beginning, and seeing the students learn to play the instruments The Drake Gives’ program has provided, is a dream come true,” said Alec Glasser, founder of The Drake and The Drake Gives.

Since The Drake Gives first joined forces with Save The Music in 2022, they have raised over half a million dollars for music education equity and access. Having supported music education re-builds across the country, including Los Angeles and their own backyard of Orange County, The Drake Gives’ contributions have impacted more than 12,000 students nationwide. Almost half of these funds have specifically been used to jumpstart music programs in five schools in Anaheim Union High School District, providing more than 7,000 students with instruments and equipment to perform in their school bands and to record & produce music of their own.

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