Ben Folds launches “Keys For Kids” initiative

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North Carolina native Ben Folds is launching a new charitable initiative called “Keys For Kids” to help support existing programs in his home state that are working to provide school-age youth with access to keyboards and proper music lessons at little or no cost.

“Keys For Kids” is being launched in a unique partnership with the North Carolina Arts Foundation and the North Carolina Arts Council to ensure the broadest possible impact across all corners of the state.

Born and raised in Winston-Salem, Folds credits early exposure to music as a child as the impetus and inspiration for his own creative journey as a professional music artist.

“I realize that most kids aren’t as lucky as I was to be exposed to a quality music education,” said Folds. That’s why I want to do what I can to help give all young people who have an interest in learning how to play the piano a chance to have the same opportunities I was afforded.”

Through the partnership with the Arts Foundation and Arts Council, “Keys For Kids” will support a network of existing charitable organizations whose missions align with the goals of the initiative. Non-profit organizations with a track record of providing free or subsidized music education instruction for school-age youth may apply to the NC Arts Council for consideration as a “Keys For Kids” participant. Selected organizations will receive a grant that supports piano lessons as well as access to high-quality keyboards.

“Ben Folds’s stellar career as a performer, his passion for music education, and a desire to reach young people beautifully complement our foundation’s priorities and goals. ‘Keys For Kids’ is also a powerful example of how the foundation collaborates with the private sector in innovative ways to fund arts programs that reach across our state,” said Wayne Martin, Executive Director of the North Carolina Arts Foundation.

Folds is providing initial seed funds and is also planning a series of fundraising opportunities in the months to support “Keys For Kids,” and is encouraging others who believe in the mission to contribute as well.

“Governor Cooper and I have always been strong advocates for the arts,” said North Carolina First Lady Kristin Cooper. “As parents of three artistic children, we have seen firsthand the impact that having access to quality arts education in schools and in the community has been for them. We want every child in North Carolina to have that same access.

“That’s why we support Ben Folds’s initiative ‘Keys For Kids,’ along with the North Carolina Arts Council and the North Carolina Arts Foundation,” Mrs. Cooper added. “We urge you all to support them as well.”

All donations to the “Keys For Kids” initiative – financial and in-kind – will be tax-deductible. To make a financial or in-kind donation to “Keys For Kids” go to www.benfolds.com/keysforkids.