Not that long ago the family entertainment center in almost every American home was a piano. But more than merely a source of music around which family and friends gathered to sing along for holidays and other festive occasions, it was also a rite-of-passage instrument. Learning to play the piano introduced us to the rewards of discipline, patience, and concentration. Keys pressed in the proper order—using all the fingers of both hands—created melodious sounds as we sat up straight, eyes forward reading the sheet music. Neither the passive act of watching TV nor the self-absorbed “activities” of playing computer games and Tweeting can ever compare.
PianosForEducation was founded and funded in 1999 by David England, whose awareness of how positive an influence playing the piano had been on his life inspired him to make that learning opportunity possible for others via an institutional piano-lending program. The beneficiaries of PianosforEducation’s first loan program were the Georgia Tech Music Department and Georgia Tech Alumni Association. Each year they were furnished 15 to 25 pianos for the use of their music-education students, faculty, and other students who played the piano. As word about our piano-loan program spread, Oglethorpe University, The Atlanta Opera and other music organizations also applied for and were granted the use of on-loan pianos to support their music education and appreciation efforts.
Knowing that every person who receives a piano education is mentally, socially, and culturally enriched by the experience, we exist to support piano education. In pursuit of that goal, we have over time expanded our programs to seek out deserving institutions and organizations that lack the financial resources to acquire and maintain adequate inventories of quality pianos for their music-education curriculums. We also accept applications from private piano teachers and studios in need of piano loans for their students’ studies. All of our loan programs include regular service and maintenance throughout the term of the loan.
After applying for and receiving IRS status as a 501(c)(3) in 2014, David England donated PianosforEducation’s existing loan programs and piano inventory to PianosForEducation.org and assembled a five-member Board of Directors made up of career professionals in fine arts and piano education. Once a grant application has been reviewed and recommended by our Executive Director, it is this body that grants final approval for each loan.
As an IRS-approved, 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity 509(a)(2) organization, we accept donations of time, pianos, and monetary contributions to help support our programs. In addition to the backing of corporate sponsors such as Amazon, Google, Kroger, and Visa, we receive cash contributions from individuals, many of whose employers match those contributions. We also host piano events at which we make available to the general public pianos that have been loaned for short periods of time or donated to our organization. The tax deduction available to piano buyers at these events is 40% of the purchase price.