The countdown is on for Give Miami Day, the annual one-day drive for donations and financial support. In a world that's on the brink of armageddon, Give Miami Day is the perfect antidote. It can restore your faith in humanity by providing an opportunity to learn about and support organizations that are doing the hard work of improving our community.
Hundreds of organizations are participating this year. Rather than drowning in a pool of blinding cynicism, choose a cause you care about — the environment, immigration, health care, education, etc. — look into organizations that are working toward the betterment of those issues within our community, and contribute to one (or a few) of them. And while you're at it, the arts and humanities tend to get the short end of the stick, so we've compiled this list of music-related charities that are working to keep music alive in our community. How do you keep the music playing? Donate to these organizations on Give Miami Day.
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1. Rhythm Foundation. This Miami cultural staple is celebrating its 30th season, but it's showing no signs of slowing. Late last month, the Rhythm Foundation brought millennial spiritual guides Ibeyi to Miami for the second time after securing their first-ever Miami show in 2016. The Rhythm Foundation concentrates on bringing global artists whose music connects with South Florida's melting pot. Over the years, organizers have brought the likes of Bomba Estereo and Beirut to Miami. They also pretty much single-handedly revived the North Beach Bandshell as a viable South Florida venue. You can help the Rhythm Foundation run for another 30 successful years. Donate to Rhythm Foundation here.
2. Guitars Over Guns. American society is locked in an existential battle over how best to act in the face of rampant gun violence. No matter what side of the political aisle you stand on, Guitars Over Guns is doing work that everyone can agree is constructive and reducing violence. The organization targets at-risk youth in Miami and gives kids the opportunity to focus their talents and time on mastering musical instruments and expressing themselves through singing and hip-hop. Donate to Guitars Over Guns here.
3. Nu Deco Ensemble. Miami's little orchestral ensemble that could is now in its third season of bringing artists such as Kishi Bashi and Danay Suarez to town for one-of-a-kind collaborations that match today's most brilliant indie-music artists and a classical-music ensemble with an appetite for experimentation. Nu Deco Ensemble has performed suites paying homage to the oeuvres of Kraftwerk, Daft Punk, Prince, and David Bowie. This season, the ensemble has promised explorations of the music of Queen, Stevie Wonder, Depeche Mode, and Outkast. Nu Deco offers many unique opportunities to support the ensemble via sponsorship of individual musicians and bundled concert ticket subscriptions, but Give Miami Day is the best time for even the most casual fan to get involved. Donate Nu Deco Ensemble here.
4. Buskerfest. Miami tends to get a bad rap for a public transportation system that fails to meet the needs of its rapidly expanding population. New York has its intricate but outdated subway system, and London has its more modernized tube, while Miami — a major metropolitan city — has Metrorail and Metromover, which fail to attract a range of Miami residents. Buskerfest is working to improve locals' public transportation experience via events such as its namesake festival, taking place December 15. The organization works to flood Miami's public transportation stations with the city's top musical talent. Its primary aim on Give Miami Day is to raise funds for the street festival, as well as a new project called Make Music Miami, which aims to fill every corner of the city with sound June 21. Donate to Buskerfest here.
5. Miami Girls Rock Camp. This is the kind of School of Rock summer camp where girls' wildest rock-star dreams come true as they become empowered and build self-esteem through songwriting, band practice, and mentorship from an all-female volunteer staff. The music camp culminates at the end of the week in a concert for friends, families, and newfound fans. Miami Girls Rock Camp is not directly participating in Give Miami Day's drive this year, so it will not be able to receive bonus gifts from the Miami Foundation, but Miami residents often use Give Miami Day as an extra push to donate to organizations they already care about and support, such as this one. Donate to Miami Girls Rock Camp here.
6. Community Arts and Culture. This organization covers as wide a breadth of cultural territory as the name implies. Community Arts and Culture aims to educate the public about art and music from around the globe. Founder Jose Elias is particularly passionate about spotlighting the music of the African diaspora, which he's done through the organization's Afro Roots Festival, celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2018. The organization hopes to expand the festival's reach beyond Miami to Palm Beach and Monroe Counties as it passes into its third decade. Donate to Community Arts and Culture here.
7. Mind & Melody. Dementia and Alzheimer's touch the lives of millions of individuals and families daily, but meaningful conversations about the challenges of aging are still far too rare in American society. Mind & Melody aims to shed light on some of the struggles of people dealing with memory loss in old age by pairing young people and seniors with dementia through the implementation of music programs in nursing homes, adult day centers, and health-care facilities. Participants learn how to engage their minds with music through a color-coded system of playing. According to Mind & Melody, about 54,000 people in Miami-Dade struggle with Alzheimer's disease. Mind & Melody provides engaging music programs for those living with the illness. Donate to Mind & Melody here.
8. Miami Music Project. Research has shown time and again that music education improves students' performance in subjects such as math and reading. Moreover, learning an instrument or musical skill tends to keep kids in school and away from the risky world outside. Despite its potential to ease many of modern society's ills, music education and programming has become increasingly scarce in public schools. Miami Music Project works to reverse this trend through partnerships with the school system that sponsors programs such as after-school music education and summer music camps. Donate to Miami Music Project here.
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9. Young Musicians Unite. This organization focuses on Miami's most underserved student communities in Wynwood and Overtown to ensure that music education reaches the kids who need it most. Young Musicians Unite's mission is to ensure that every middle and high school in Overtown and Wynwood will have a jazz program by fall 2018. In just four short years, the organization has reached hundreds of students in the community and helped put them on the path toward full-ride scholarships to pursue music education in college. Donate to Young Musicians Unite here.
10. Subtropics. Miami is home to musicians of all traditions and stripes. And because of this diverse community, experimentation is in our blood. Subtropics is a nonprofit that specializes in the experimental side of music-making, providing a platform for artists to blur the lines between noise, sound art, and music. Subtropics provides artists with residencies and recording services and then presents the results at events such as the Listening Gallery and Subtropics 24 Biennial. The organization also streams live performances from its Lincoln Road event space, Audiotheque. Subtropics is not participating in Give Miami Day bonus pools this year, but you can support the organization directly. Donate to Subtropics here.