Founded in 2005, the Fender Music Foundation awards instruments and equipment to eligible nonprofit music instruction programs. These items are lightly used, blemished, or otherwise imperfect and have been collected by the foundation from manufacturers and retailers.
The foundation is currently granting out acoustic guitars, electric guitars, acoustic-electric guitars, bass guitars, and the equipment necessary to play them. However, other traditional music instruments, including string instruments, woodwind instruments, brass instruments, percussion instruments, and keyboards, are sometimes available. DJ equipment and computers are not available through the program.
The foundation grants instruments only to music-instruction programs offered by a public school or 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization (as recognized by the Internal Revenue Service). To qualify as a music-instruction program, participants must be learning how to make music. Music appreciation or entertainment programs do not qualify, and the participants in a program cannot be a professional or career musician.
A qualified program must fit into one of these four categories: in-school music classes, in which the students make music; afterschool music programs that are not run by the school; community music programs, which offer music instruction to community members; and music therapy programs, in which the participants make the music.