MusiCounts is Canada’s music education charity, associated with CARAS and the JUNO Awards. They believe that all children and youth in Canada should have access to music education. We spoke with Regan Harney, Senior Manager, Development and Partnerships, to learn more about what they do and how to help.
Describe your charity/non-profit in a few sentences.
MusiCounts is Canada’s music education charity, associated with CARAS and the JUNO Awards, and we believe that all children and youth in Canada should have access to music education. MusiCounts makes music education inclusive, sustainable, and accessible for youth across Canada by providing musical instruments, equipment, and resources. At our core, we believe music education is an integral part of a child’s education, and unfortunately, it’s not an even playing field in Canada so, we step in to help make that possible.
What problem does it aim to solve?
Music education is chronically underfunded in Canada so we provide that much-needed funding. On average we grant about 1 to 1.5 million dollars a year into schools and community programs, and that still only fulfills the requests of about ⅕ of applications. A lot of schools have no music budget at all, so our grants of up to $20,000 make an enormous impact on the schools and communities we support.
When did you start/join it?
I started working with MusiCounts in 2019. I was fortunate enough to have grown up with music in my school and the ability to access music lessons outside of school. All that to say, music played a huge part in my life and I want to be able to ensure all kids can have that opportunity as well. So much of my life has been influenced by the exposure to and participation in these classes, programs and activities. Through my work in the not-for-profit sector, I continually strive to diminish the barriers many people are faced with surrounding arts and culture programming.
What made you want to get involved?
I believe that music is an integral part of a child’s education and knowing that I could help fundraise to ensure more kids and youth would have access to music education all over Canada is what made me want to get involved. I love being able to provide people with equal opportunities, create community, and make our country as musical as possible.
What was the situation like when you started?
When I first started I saw what the reality was of music education in Canada on a more intimate level. Some schools have no funding, some get $500. Some schools have instruments that are over 70 years old! It’s really tragic out there, but with every grant we put into a school, I know we’re helping in a very significant way.
How has it changed since?
Honestly, not much, and needs are always changing, so the grants and requests for instruments, resources, and equipment are actually increasing this year. This seems to be like a never-ending challenge, but MusiCounts is happy to take it on.
What more needs to be done?
So much! Become a monthly donor, one-time donor, help share our story, tell people in your community who we are and what we do, and if you want, you can volunteer to adjudicate our grants!
How can our readers help?
Do you have any events coming up?
The JUNO Awards! They are happening in Edmonton, March 2023. MusiCounts honours the MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award and the MusiCount Inspired Minds Ambassador Award during JUNO week and, they’re pretty powerful awards.
Where can we follow you?
PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome Vancouver local charity that you love?
David Suzuki Foundation! I am a monthly donor and have been for over a decade.