Little Kids Rock partners with school districts in disadvantaged communities by training music teachers and donating instruments to K12 schools, at no cost to the schools themselves. Increasing access to music education, especially in schools that would not otherwise have a music program, would honor Austin's passion for music. (Charity Navigator: 4 Stars)
I'd like half the donation to go to the Spektral Quartet, whose cellist Russ Rolen played at Austin’s memorial in Chicago, http://spektralquartet.com. These four wonderful string players tackle the most imaginative of contemporary music, including music written by young composers. Their energy is evident from the way they phrase it on their donations page in relation to why to give to them: "Because at our concerts, there is no secret handshake or required uniform. Because our programs invariably include the paid commissions of world premieres by extraordinary young composers, creating new additions to the string quartet canon. Because we believe training and inspiring the next generation of chamber musicians and concertgoers is as vital as performing on stage. Because our projects propel music far beyond the concert hall.” As of Austin’s last year in Chicago, they are artists in residence at the University. We brought them here because we knew they would inspire students like Austin.
We would love to support the Albuquerque Youth Symphony Program in Austin's name. This program provides an opportunity for young people in the greater Albuquerque area to participate in music ensembles in an exciting and focused environment. Having played in large ensembles ourselves, we know that the exhilaration that comes with this opportunity is unlike any other experience. In Austin's memorial service, Aenea shared a story about Austin's decision to return to the cello: though he had quit because he felt he could not do the music justice, he realized that gaining enjoyment and understanding through playing was justice enough. We hope that students in youth orchestras can learn this same message: that honoring the music is not about hitting all the right notes, but about the enjoyment and understanding one gains in the process.