We recognize the deeply entrenched practices, cultural norms, and social structures that perpetuate inequities. Rock to the Future, through our work with youth from underserved neighborhoods in Philadelphia, is committed to eliminating those inequities. Rock to the Future makes a formal promise to improve our culture, practices, and approaches to uphold diversity, equity, and inclusion at all levels of our organization — knowing it requires sustained commitment, courage, and optimism.
Students Served This Year
mission, Vision, & Values
Rock to the Future is a 501(c)3 organization founded in 2010 that provides music education for Philadelphia’s youth from underserved neighborhoods and under-resourced schools at no cost to them or their families. Using music, our programs ignite passion and creativity, support academic achievement, and improve self-esteem. We empower individuals and strengthen communities.
We value HARMONY because a song only works when everybody plays their part. Our job as educators and mentors is to ensure that when our students take the stage, it’s not how well they play, but how well they play together that matters.
We value PROGRESSION because music education doesn’t end when you’ve learned the notes. Our programs teach kids that dedication and hard work apply even after the set is over.
We value EXPLORATION because being able to step on stage requires the support and freedom to take risks. Our team believes that creative expression is the true soul of music, and we work with our kids to feel confident enough to explore beyond the scales.
We value ROCKING OUT because we know that living life to its fullest means owning your solos, expressing your unique voice, and learning new skills, on stage and in life.
- Communities where high-quality music programs are readily accessible to those who would otherwise not experience the benefits of music;
- A city that is passionate about bringing youth together through music and the arts;
- A 100% high school graduation and post-secondary education attendance rate for youth involved with Rock to the Future; and
- A city that is more culturally enriched by the inclusion of previously unheard voices.
Guided by her personal experience and belief in the power of music education to transform lives, Founding Executive Director Jessica Craft left a job in the financial services industry to begin Rock to the Future in 2010 after being awarded The Turning Point Prize of $15,000 from Women for Social Innovation. Jessica and Josh Craft volunteered for the first two years of operation until Rock to the Future received a gift of over $214,000 from Delaware Investments, which allowed for the hiring of staff, the creation of a strategic plan, and program development and expansion.
Starting with just 13 students, the program has continued to grow to serve hundreds of youth each year through the MusiCore after school program, MobileMusic in-school classes, Rock*A*Delphia and GuitarStars summer programs, and community events. In 2018, Rock to the Future opened a second MusiCore location in Germantown to better serve Philly youth. All programs are free for Philadelphia kids and teens from underserved communities.
Thousands of Philadelphia area patrons enjoy concerts from Rock to the Future youth, most being free to the public.
Why & How
There is a lot of research about the benefits of music education. You can read the various studies and benefits here. We know the magic of music is incredible and we see it in the students we serve every day.
Providing music education levels the playing field for youth in under resourced neighborhoods. We provide students with innovative and unique programs so that everyone can experience the benefits of music education.
Our students have a choice of what they learn and create. Working together with peers, they craft their own original music, choose what type of music they want to learn in instrumental lessons, perform at hip venues like Union Transfer and World Cafe Live, and record in professional studios like Miner Street Recordings.
These exciting experiences bring students through the doors so that our staff can also provide individualized academic and social support. In our MusiCore after school program, we provide direct academic assistance through homework help, tutoring, and post-secondary education assistance; including college and trade school visitations, FASFA nights, scholarship writing clubs, and application help.
As Rock to the Future students collaborate, create, and perform, they learn life skills, gain confidence, learn motivation, and feel pride. Through music, our students are empowered, learn self-awareness, and learn to appreciate peers and adults from diverse backgrounds.
We create an environment where students of all ages and abilities feel confident, safe, and respected enough to perform on stage. No matter what instrument or style of music they choose, we create the support structure that allows our students to learn at their own pace and in their own way. The confidence needed to be a musician, bandmate, songwriter, and performer transfers to all stages of life.