About Us

The Hungry for Music story began in 1992, when Founder and Director Jeff Campbell (in photo) organized a street musician concert to benefit the homeless. Within three years, he formed a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, dedicated to expanding opportunities in music for children.

Since then, Hungry for Music has placed more than 20,000 instruments into the hands of aspiring musicians. Children whose trajectory has been altered by the uplifting and life-changing gift of music.

We've delivered everything from guitars and trombones to violins and xylophones to kids in 50 states and 32 countries.

We collect and redistribute more than 1,000 instruments annually and, in our 29-year journey, we've become a full-time force for good in the musical community.

jeff campbell, hungry for music

Hungry for Music's purpose is to embrace the positive qualities of music: its ability to create community, to inspire, to express a talent, to unite, and most importantly its ability to heal."
– Jeff Campbell

We Couldn't Do It Without the Hungry for Music Community

We look back with satisfaction, joy, and gratitude at the number of instruments that we have distributed in our history. At the same time, we are humbled by the knowledge that our outreach would not be possible without the generosity and commitment of the community of volunteers, supporters, donors, artists, and musicians who contribute time, resources, and talent.  They are the life force that flows through Hungry for Music and we would not be able to give the gift of music without them.

hungry for music - hungry for more

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What They Say

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Our Partners

Learn about our partners and the innovative programs we support.

20-Year Retrospective

View and download our 20-year retrospective in PDF format.

Hungry for Music Notes

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Download Music

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Our Timeline - 25 Years of Service

1992 1992
1994 1994
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1994 1994
1997 1997
1999 1999
2004 2004
2006 2006
2007 2007
2009 2009
2010 2010
2012 2012
2014 2014
2016 2016
2017 2017
2018 2018
2019 2019
2020 2020


The initial concept grows from an idea for a class project at The George Washington University, where founder Jeff Campbell is enrolled in the Non-profit Management Certificate Program. The concept was to bring street musicians and other DC music talent together for a concert called Hungry for Music, that would benefit the Coalition Against Homelessness. Concerts were held in 1992 and 1993 and also included a food drive.


Hungry for Music becomes a 501 (c)(3) with the purpose of supporting music education and bringing the positive qualities of music to others through concerts and workshops at schools, church programs, retirement homes and homeless shelters. The first outreach concert is a performance by the late Bob Devlin at the Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC in March 1994.


A crawfish boil thrown by a group of Louisiana friends outgrew the backyard and is held at Ft. Hunt Park in Alexandria, VA. The friends decide that Hungry for Music should receive the proceeds of the party and Hungry for Crawfish is born. The event helps sustain Hungry for Music in the early years and continues to be one of the biggest fundraisers thanks to a dedicated group of supporters. In 2014, the 19th annual Hungry for Crawfish fundraiser was held.


As a way to promote outreach and to help raise money for our instrument donation program, Hungry for Music begins to release CD compilations featuring local DC artists. The first release is a “bootleg” recording of the first Hungry for Music homeless benefit in 1992 called “Special Collection,” which includes Eddie from Ohio, the same year a Christmas compilation was released entitled “A Holiday Feast” that included Bill Kirchen, The Kennedy’s, Tom Prasada-Rao and The Graverobbers.


The CD model of fundraising continues with the release of a compilation of baseball songs called “Diamond Cuts,” which includes national recording artists Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Garrison Keillor, George Winston, Jerry Jeff Walker and many others. The spokesperson for the project was Negro League legend Buck O’Neil and part of the proceeds of the project goes to the Negro League Baseball Museum in Kansas City. The CD receives praise from coast to coast, including from the New York Times and National Public Radio’s (NPR) “Morning Edition with Bob Edwards”. The proceeds help raise critical funds for Hungry for Music and increase outreach nationally.


Hungry for Music’s first website is launched and opens us to a worldwide audience. Requests begin to trickle in from around the world. The first instrument donation outside of the Washington, DC area is a Yamaha keyboard to an aspiring 12-year old musician in Michigan.


In the first 10 years, Hungry for Music settles into its niche of providing music instruments to individuals, schools, after-school music programs and social service programs for troubled teens.


As a way to promote outreach and to help raise money for our instrument donation program, Hungry for Music begins to release CD compilations featuring local DC artists. The first release is a “bootleg” recording of the first Hungry for Music homeless benefit in 1992 called “Special Collection,” which includes Eddie from Ohio, the same year a Christmas compilation was released entitled “A Holiday Feast” that included Bill Kirchen, The Kennedy’s, Tom Prasada-Rao and The Graverobbers.


The COFaQue, a popular BBQ competition that began in 1999 amongst several friends, begins to donate its proceeds to Hungry for Music. The COF stands for “circle of friends” and we have continued to enjoy the spirit of the community at Quail Ridge Lake in Aldie, VA and the hospitality of the Scott Raughton family. The COFaQue will be at a new location in 2014 because of development in the Quail Ridge Lake area. (www.cofaque.com)


We receive our first foundation grant from Vanguard Charitable Endowment program. This could not have come at a better time, as the fundraising efforts from CD sales (about 25% of our revenue) dropped significantly with the end of that medium in the music industry. The CD fundraisers served us well, but seeking more foundation and business partner support in the future is a must for us to keep up with the demand for instruments and to increase our outreach.


New Video Release
Hungry for Music’s first three-minute promotional video released.
Watch it.


Hungry for Music was approved for the United Way’s Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). Being included in the CFC is an enormous benefit for us. It allows us to link with other charities in the Children’s Charitable Allowance. It also allows us to receive contributions from tens of thousands of federal workers and others in the Washington, D.C. area. If your employer offers you the opportunity to participate in the CFC, please select HFM as a recipient of your donations. For more info on CFC click here: www.cfctoday.org.  Our CFC organizational number is 57022.


In our 20th year, we launched a new mobile-friendly website and our vision is to annually increase our outreach. Over the last 5 years, we have been averaging over 500 donations per year, providing musical instruments that allow children to participate in music programs whose parents do not have a budget to rent or purchase an instrument for their child.


This was the year of rockers! We sold CD’s at Foreigner, Korn, and Breaking Benjamin concerts and we partnered with Todd Rundgren for an instrument drive at Notre Dame.  The Avett Brothers chose Hungry for Music as one of the beneficiaries their Legendary Giveback 5 benefit concert sponsored by Cherrywine. We are grateful for all.


Big Bertha traveled to 47 states expanding Hungry for Music’s outreach, planting music seeds, collecting, and distributing instruments during the first Magic Music Bus Tour.

Support for several foundations helped us double our annual outreach.  After organically building a self-supporting organization with little foundation support, we received a $30,000 grant from the Peachtree House Foundation and began receiving support from the D’Addario Foundation.   Also, Todd Rundgren’s Spirit of Harmony Foundation gave us support by collecting music instruments in numerous cities around the United States during the Magic Music Bus Tour.


Partnered with D’Addario Foundation on several music instrument drives in Pittsburgh, Chicago, Long island, and New Orleans and distributed programs across the country.


Celebrated our 12-year partnership with Junior Appalachian Musicians [JAM] by donating a Deering Eagle II banjo to a promising young JAM student.   Hungry for Music has donated over 500 instruments to JAM programs since 2009, including guitars, banjos, mandolins, fiddles, dulcimers, autoharps, and upright basses.


We will begin the second Magic Music Bus Tour in Big Bertha to begin setting up Hungry for Music chapters in cities throughout the United States.