Keys for Kids is a charitable initiative established by North Carolina native Ben Folds in partnership with the North Carolina Arts Council and the North Carolina Arts Foundation.
Its purpose is to provide young people in North Carolina who express an interest in learning to play piano the access to appropriate lessons and instruments at little or no cost.
Working in conjunction with the Arts Foundation and Arts Council, Keys for Kids will create a statewide network of arts partners providing free or affordable access to piano and keyboard education for school-age youth in North Carolina. As resources are available, partner sites will receive funding, keyboard donations, and access to branding materials to raise the visibility of their program.
Organizations that have a track record of providing free or subsidized arts education instruction for school-age youth will be considered to participate in the Keys for Kids network. Once selected, network organizations will receive support to be used specifically for instruction of piano and keyboard to low-wealth students who might not otherwise have the opportunity.
Ben credits early exposure to music as a child growing up in Winston-Salem as the impetus and inspiration for his own creative journey as a professional music artist.
His career as a singer-songwriter, composer, performer and best-selling author, spans nearly three decades. In addition to his years as frontman for Ben Folds Five and as a solo artist, he’s performed with some of the world’s greatest symphony orchestras and currently serves as Artistic Advisor to the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. He’s also an outspoken advocate for music education, serving as a member of the Artist Committee for Americans For The Arts, and on the Board of the Arts Action Fund.
Ben as a kid practicing piano at his home in Winston-Salem.
The reason I’m so enthusiastic and passionate about this initiative is that I believe our young people need now, more than ever, what music has to offer. Music is where we find harmony. It enhances our ability to learn, to communicate, and to be inspired in all facets of our lives.
— Ben Folds