Mission Statement

Music Forward transforms young lives, inspires careers, and champions a more inclusive music industry.

Music Forward Values


Music is our catalyst for self-discovery, connection to our shared humanity, and transformation of our communities and world.


We honor our rich cultural roots by including diverse perspectives in our work, diverse representation in our team and network, and by driving diversity in the music industry.


We approach our work and constituents with an open mind, creative problem-solving, and purposeful adaptability.


We create warm, welcoming, and respectful opportunities that foster connection and nurture success in our workplace, our partnerships, and our communities.   


We are committed to do our best, be our best, and achieve the most we can for the young people and communities we serve by being sought-out experts in our field, constantly learning, and sharing best practices.

Music is a powerful force in people’s lives. It’s a universal language that influences everyone and moves our culture. There is a new generation of leaders whose voices will shape the future. Music Forward empowers this generation to succeed and lead while celebrating the diversity of their voices and viewpoints.

Music Forward kick-starts musical careers through workshops and showcases that connect passions to professions. We open doors to an unmatched, nationwide network of music industry insiders to redefine what’s possible for tomorrow’s innovators and leaders. Both community and industry are transformed by Music Forward experiences bridging opportunity for the music community to become more innovative and inclusive.

In addition to defining pathways to success in the industry for high-school and college-age young people, Music Forward offers music industry professionals a way to give back by connecting with GenZ, sharing insight and experience, and uplifting communities.

Also in service of the music industry, Music Forward in partnership with Live Nation, established the Crew Nation fund- a global relief fund to support live music crews who have been affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. We are honored to play a role in developing and managing this fund that provides support for these independent workers who are the backbone of the live music industry.

Music Forward is proud to hold the Platinum GuideStar Nonprofit Profile Seal of Transparency, the highest level of recognition for organizational efficiency and transparency offered by the world’s largest source of nonprofit information.

Today’s youth face a nationwide crisis when it comes to education and employment.

11.7% of our nation’s 16-24 year olds — or 4.5 million young people — are disconnected, meaning they are not currently enrolled in school or working and that disconnection is even greater for youth of color. Experts also expect youth disconnection rates will spike dramatically as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result, these young people face a variety of challenges, including:

  • Permanently depressed future earnings
  • Entrapment in perpetual cycles of poverty
  • Increased participation in, or risk of becoming victimized by, crime
  • Poor mental and physical health

Music Forward is doing its part to address these sobering statistics by helping youth turn their passion for music into professions, both on-stage and behind the scenes.  Our programs help youth who have a passion for music develop skills to secure employment in the music industry and related fields, leading them to promising futures.

Music Forward is unyielding in our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

We are rooted in the knowledge and respect of the Black community’s integral contribution to music and culture and recognize that a diverse, inclusive industry is critical to ensuring its vitality and evolution.

It is our charge to create equity by removing barriers to entry and increasing access and opportunity for under-resourced communities, with a focus on young women, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color), LGBTQIA+, and marginalized youth.

We promote an environment where our employees, partners, and young people are included, celebrated, and empowered to contribute to a more equitable industry and just society.

These guiding principles help us to bridge our communities to the music industry, move culture forward, and champion the youth and industry we serve.

Music Forward was first established in 1993 as the International House of Blues Foundation (IHOBF). The founders of House of Blues envisioned IHOBF as a charitable arm that they could use to bring the arts to schools and communities through programs that promoted cultural understanding, encouraged creative expression, and manifested their core belief of Unity In Diversity.

The organization officially changed its legal name to House of Blues Music Forward Foundation in 2014, and later shortened its moniker to Music Forward to help the public understand its role as an independent 501(c)(3) provider of direct services for youth.

For 30 years, Music Forward has impacted over 1,000,000 young lives and invested more than $42 million towards providing transformational music opportunities to youth from under-represented communities.

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Music Forward team members are a group of driven and passionate individuals that harness their skills and inspiration to elevate our communities. We believe ingenuity requires diversity and are proud to champion the many benefits of hiring and engaging diverse teams of contributors that benefit the young people we serve.

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