Fender® Launches Non-Profit – Fender Play Foundation – with Esteemed Artist Ambassadors: Chris Stapleton, Avril Lavigne, Ashley McBryde and more

Fender Pledges To Raise $3 Million Over Three Years Through the Fender Play Foundation With Mission to Equip, Educate and Inspire Young Players

Chris Stapleton becomes Fender Play Foundation Artist Ambassador

Press Release

Hollywood, Calif. (September 18, 2019) – Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) today announced the launch of the Fender Play Foundation, the brand’s new non-profit intended to provide resources and music education opportunities to equip, educate and inspire young  players. Over the next three years Fender Play Foundation will raise $3 million for educational institutions and organizations that provide youth with opportunities to learn how to play. To kick-start fundraising efforts, Fender will donate $1 million and use that initial donation to expand further fundraising. Support for music education programs will start in the brand’s own backyard near its Los Angeles, Calif., Nashville, Tenn. and Scottsdale, Ariz., offices with plans to expand to more cities and programs in 2020.

Fender has invited some of the most-inspiring musicians across genres, including Chris Stapleton, Avril Lavigne, Ashley McBryde, Panic! At The Disco’s Brendon Urie, Green Day bassist Mike Dirnt, and Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz to serve as the Fender Play Foundation Artist Ambassadors for the 2019-2020 year, with others to be announced. Artist Ambassadors will partner with the Foundation to inspire youth through initiatives like surprise instrument drops and meet and greets in their local communities, donating signed gear and memorabilia for auction, appearing at galas, as well as providing guidance and direction on the Foundation’s overall direction to ensure youth are served in the best way possible. In turn, Fender will support artist ambassador charities that align with the Fender Play Foundation’s overall mission. Additional artists are slated to become artist ambassadors in 2020. The Fender Play Foundation will also support charities near and dear to artists, such as Notes For Notes, where applicable.

“When I was a kid, I picked up a guitar and found a whole new world at my fingertips,” said Chris Stapleton. “I’m proud to partner with the Fender Play Foundation to help kids from all walks of life find a whole new world of their own.”

“Fender has been so supportive of The Avril Lavigne Foundation since its inception, so I was honored when they asked me to be part of the launch of their own charitable efforts,” said Avril Lavigne. “Providing instruments to schools, camps and others who don’t have access to music on a daily basis is both necessary and inspiring, and I’m looking forward to working alongside my fellow Artist Advisors to deliver what is sure to be a lifetime of exciting memories!”

Ashley McBryde becomes Fender Play Foundation Artist Ambassador

“I am so proud to partner with Fender,” said singer-songwriter and CMA Award-nominee/ACM Award-winner Ashley McBryde. “Getting instruments into the hands of music educators and kids who genuinely need them is such an honor. Inspiring the next generation of musicians and artists is some of the most important work I could ever be a part of. “

“I’m excited to team up with the Fender Play Foundation to support the next generation of shredders,” said Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco. “Growing up in Vegas my music mentors and education were such a huge influence on my life, I hope through partnering with Fender, that I can help do the same for young musicians!”

“Give them instruments and they will change the world!” added Mike Dirnt, bassist of Green Day.

“I’m happy to be part of Fender’s initiative to inspire and help the next gen’s set of musicians,” said Pete Wentz, bassist of Fall Out Boy.

Fender Play Foundation works with organizations, educators and artists to support communities through equipment donations, personalized instruction and artist experiences. Operating under the belief that music is a universal language that empowers self-expression and community-building everywhere, the Fender Play Foundation strives to place these powerful tools in the hands of youth who aspire to play. The Foundation’s primary goals are to:

·       Equip: Create access points for youth learning, as well as provide gear for educational institutions, schools and organizations that will have the ability to apply for grants

·       Educate: Give students access to essential learning tools. Fender Play subscriptions will be provided with instrument drops and donations and the Foundation will work to subsidize the cost of instructors

·       Inspire: Work with Fender Play Foundation Artist Ambassadors, who will donate their time to inspire youth, focused on instrument drops and appearances in local communities. All artist ambassadors will donate signed instruments and memorabilia for auction to benefit the Foundation

“Leo Fender believed that all artists are angels and his job was to give them wings to fly,” said Andy Mooney, Chief Executive Officer at Fender. “We view the Fender Play Foundation as an important vehicle to equip, educate and inspire the next generation of artists. Every child deserves access to music education opportunities and tools that give them ‘wings to fly.’ As an avid player, I can attest to the many benefits that come with playing an instrument and how the power of music can enrich your life.”

Fender Play Foundation (FPF) kicked off its first month by donating guitars, ukuleles and basses to Adopt the Arts, Notes for Notes, Musack, Young Musicians Foundation, and other organizations that share the Foundation’s belief in the power of music. By donating instruments, the Fender Play Foundation is empowering hundreds of members within these programs to begin and sustain their musical journey. To support players, instruments will be accompanied with a subscription to Fender Play, the complete learning app for guitar, bass and ukulele that gets beginners playing in minutes through guided paths and top-notch curriculum. 

This month, Fender Play Foundation is partnering with the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Los Angeles, Watts-Willowbrook Clubhouse, to build and launch an interactive space, equipped with Squier® guitars and basses, Rumble™ and Champion™ amplifiers, accessories and Fender Play™ e-learning stations for members to learn guitar, ukulele and bass. Watts Willowbrook has over 200 youth members and every day over 100 youth enjoy the Clubhouse facilities, making it the ideal space for members to learn how to play in a creative, safe environment during 44 weeks of instruction subsidized by the Foundation. Watts-Willowbrook Clubhouse is one of three Boys & Girls Club of Metro Los Angeles locations Fender is serving in 2019-2020 to create access for over 300 members to learn how to play. In September, Fender Play Foundation will also support long-time investor partner Servco’s Centennial Service Campaign by helping facilitate the donation of 2,000 California Coast Series ukuleles and 750 Classic Design and FA Series acoustic guitars, soft cases, and Fender Play subscriptions to public and charter schools in Hawaii.  These instruments will be distributed to 55 schools throughout the Hawaiian Islands creating access for over 8,550 students. 

Prior to launching, the Fender Play Foundation was quietly working with  other Fender artists supporting causes important to them – such as Tom Morello and Grammy-award winning 1500 Or Nothin’ and its 1500 Sound Academy – designed to serve as a bridge between school and a potential career in the music business, teaching kids the necessary knowledge and tools they need to succeed in the modern-day. The collective goal is to get as many instruments as possible into the hands of youth and to collaborate with Fender artists who advocate for the benefits of music education. Research shows that music enhances learning and aids integrated sensory, attention, cognitive, emotional and motor capacities[1]. In fact, students highly engaged in music are academically, on average, more than one year ahead of their peers not engaged in school.  

With an illustrious history dating back to 1946, Fender has touched and transformed music worldwide and in nearly every genre. The Fender Play Foundation is the next chapter in Fender’s legendary history to positively impact the world through music and uplift the next generation of musicians for  decades to come.

Join the conversation on social media by following @Fender and @FenderPlay. Organizations and other parties focused on music education can apply for support in 2020 here. Donations can be made here.