About Us

Photo Credit: L-R Jasiri X, Noel Paul Stookey, Carolyn Malachi

About Us

Our Mission

The Activist Musician Accelerator amplifies the social change efforts of activist musicians, social enterprise organizations, and supporters by creating programs that measurably revitalize our communities through the power of music.

Background

Music to Life is a national nonprofit, founded in 2000 by Noel Paul Stookey (of the folk trio, Peter, Paul & Mary) and his daughter, Liz Stookey Sunde, that builds activism through music. 

Music to Life has collaborated with a broad network of artists, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and music industry leaders to explore how music might make positive, measurable social change. Our educational panels have traveled to schools and conferences around the country (including the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity, University of Pennsylvania and Dartmouth); we have been commissioned to deliver multimedia presentations on music’s historical impact on the issues of our time (Bloomberg Media, Future Work); and we have created and delivered high engagement, music-driven productions on behalf of human rights, environmental and immigrant advocacy groups (including a collaboration with South by Southwest). We’ve reached tens of thousands of people through the power of music.

Birth of the Accelerator

In 2017, having developed a national network of hundreds of stakeholders and a diverse, juried roster of more than 300 social change artists, we shifted our focus. We began to explore how we might best support those social change musicians who were stepping off the stage and into activism, and started to consider an accelerator framework. We researched best practice models in tech, music, business and nonprofit accelerators, and conducted artist surveys and focus groups to determine their needs and interests as activist musicians.  They told us of their struggles to sustain their efforts, create the impact they wanted and connect with other like-minded musicians.  We could then envision the power of an Activist Musician Accelerator and the resulting network and expanded spheres of influence and impact these artists could have if they were effectively connected with each other and the mentors, partners, and resources they needed to build effective programs.

Our Unique Value

  • Impact on the ground – Tapping community-based assets to insure relevance and sustainability
  • Authenticity – Started by activist artists for activist artists
  • Cross-Sector orientation – Facilitating an effective blend of artists, causes, and collaborators