Classics for Kids Foundation (CFKF) was created in 1997 and received official nonprofit status in 1998. CFKF was first located in Bozeman, Montana, where founder Michael Reynolds was born and raised. In late 2010, CFKF moved to Boston, Massachusetts, where Mr. Reynolds is a professor of cello at Boston University.

CFKF was created in an effort to stem the decline of support for stringed instrument programs nationally. Toward this end, a matching stringed instrument grant program was created with two goals: facilitating access to beautiful new stringed instruments through CFKF financial support, and providing inspiration to local philanthropy through the power of matching funds. The second goal was proven to be effective through a Hewlett Foundation grant toward developing and retaining local support for string programs.

The early development of CFKF was made possible by operational grants from the Hewlett, Packard and Fidelity Foundations, along with a gradually growing pool of individual support and a growing national Board of Directors. CFKF also receives continuing guidance from Dr. Thomas Wolf, a nationally known nonprofit arts consultant, who worked with the CFKF Board to develop its first two strategic plans. The latest plan, approved in 2012, envisions CFKF’s future through 2015.

Between 2010 and 2014, CFKF has experienced dramatic growth in interest toward its matching stringed instrument grant program, along with increasing capacity to support that interest nationally. Through increased individual giving and special events featuring Dr. Condoleezza Rice, pianist, and the Muir String Quartet, CFKF has made great strides toward meeting a strong rise in applications from a wide variety of string programs supporting underserved children and low-income families from around the country. To date, CFKF has offered matching grants to hundreds of string programs in over 30 states nationwide, supporting access to well over $1 million in beautiful new stringed instruments.

New initiatives include development of models for string program creation, matching stringed instrument grants, support for teachers, and evaluation through the Boston String Project, CFKF’s first major urban initiative. CFKF is also exploring a formative partnership with the Salvation Army’s Ray and Joan Kroc Community Centers. These beautiful new community centers offer a safe haven and a multitude of educational, social and cultural support in economically challenged settings in 27 cities across America. Each of these centers has a performing arts component, and CFKF is working with the Salvation Army to develop a plan for string programs in these centers, beginning with Chicago and San Francisco.