PLATINUM2024

SongwritingWith: Inc.

Building creativity, connections and strengths

aka SongwritingWith:Soldiers   |   Nashville, TN   |  www.songwritingwithsoldiers.org

Mission

To transform lives by using collaborative songwriting to build creativity, connections, and strengths.

Ruling year info

2008

Executive Director

Kristin Starling

Main address

632 Fogg Street Suite 8

Nashville, TN 37203 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

26-1626709

NTEE code info

Military/Veterans' Organizations (W30)

Other Art, Culture, Humanities Organizations/Services N.E.C. (A99)

Health - General and Rehabilitative N.E.C. (E99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2022, 2021 and 2020.
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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Many veterans and their families struggle to integrate their experiences between military and civilian communities. The Veteran's Administration estimates that approximately 20 veterans take their own lives each day; of these, 14 have had little or no contact with Veterans Health Administration services. There is often a stigma attached to getting any kind of help which results in isolation. SW:S is truly neutral ground—not therapy and not military—where authenticity and creativity are nurtured in an environment of acceptance, storytelling, and connection to promote wellness for veterans, their families, and their caregivers.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SongwritingWith:Soldiers

We pair veterans, military families, and active-duty service members with professional songwriters in retreat and workshop settings to craft songs about military experiences and the return home. Collaborative songwriting fosters trust, connection, and well being.

Through collaborative songwriting, participants build trust, forge bonds, and release pain. Newly written songs are recorded on site and veterans registered with ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Artists, and Publishers) as co-writers of their songs. Our creativity workshops deepen connections, with sessions in photography, video, journaling and more, many led by veterans.

After the retreats, all participants receive books with lyrics and photographs from the weekend, CDs of the songs, and DVDs of the final performance. These lasting artifacts preserve positive memories and songs instill pride and serve as stepping-stones for reconnecting with family, friends, and communities.

The program also nurtures post-retreat growth. Participants provide peer support at future retreats, reconnect through our online SW:S forum, and interact through Creativity Calling, a quarterly teleclass focused on creative pursuits featuring special guests. Members of all military branches referred through contacts with VA Hospitals, Veterans Centers, Mental Health professionals. Costs are covered for participants.

SW:S songs shared through CDs, downloads, concerts, and social media to bridge the divide between military and civilian communities.

Population(s) Served
Military personnel
Veterans

We pair veterans, military families, and active-duty service members with professional songwriters in retreat and workshop settings to craft songs about military experiences and the return home. Collaborative songwriting fosters trust, connection, and well being.

Through collaborative songwriting, participants build trust, forge bonds, and release pain. Newly written songs are recorded on site and veterans registered with ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Artists, and Publishers) as co-writers of their songs. Our creativity workshops deepen connections, with sessions in photography, video, journaling and more, many led by veterans.

After the retreats, all participants receive books with lyrics and photographs from the weekend, CDs of the songs, and DVDs of the final performance. These lasting artifacts preserve positive memories and songs instill pride and serve as stepping-stones for reconnecting with family, friends, and communities.

The program also nurtures post-retreat growth. Participants provide peer support at future retreats, reconnect through our online SW:S forum, and interact through Creativity Calling, a quarterly teleclass focused on creative pursuits featuring special guests. Members of all military branches referred through contacts with VA Hospitals, Veterans Centers, Mental Health professionals. Costs are covered for participants.

SW:S songs shared through CDs, downloads, concerts, and social media to bridge the divide between military and civilian communities.

Population(s) Served
Veterans
Military personnel

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of participants who would recommend program to others

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Military personnel, Veterans

Related Program

SongwritingWith:Soldiers Retreats

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

100% of clients served.

Percentage of clients who achieved goal of writing at least one song

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Military personnel, Veterans

Related Program

SongwritingWith:Soldiers Retreats

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

100% of clients served.

Percentage of clients who report an increase in hope and optimism

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Military personnel, Veterans

Related Program

SongwritingWith:Soldiers Retreats

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

RESULTS FROM OUR LONG-TERM SURVEY OF PARTICIPANTS

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Our goal is that, through creative self-expression and positive connections, participants will release pain, reduce stress, increase well-being, build hope, and return home supported by their songs and their new SongwritingWith:Soldiers community.

In 2012, SW:S began with one veterans retreat in Texas. Since then, we've held more than 80 retreats and workshops in 12 states, and expanded our program to include military families, military couples, female veterans, and student veterans. We hope to bring the SongwritingWith:Soldiers program to veterans and their families in every state across the nation. Too often, military men and women carry their stories alone. Through collaborative songwriting, stories are shared, released, and transformed into something beautiful.

Key Activities 2024
4 - SW:S Retreats (3 - TN, NY)
2 - SW:S WWP Retreats
4 - SW:S PATHH Retreats (TOF and EODWF)
154 - Warrior PATHH collaborative songwriting modules
Outreach concerts

We continued our strategic focus on ensuring long-term financial and program sustainability, while gaining important growth and recognition of our signature programs for veterans, active duty service members and their families.

We remain committed to strengthening the organization and furthering our mission-driven purpose.

To achieve this goal, our initiatives embrace three requirements: Solidify. Amplify. Sustain. With this strategic emphasis in place we successfully accomplished the following key objectives:

o Focus on Existing Demandcontinuing to service existing military-focused demand (veteran, active military, and families)
o Grow Through PartnershipLeveraging evidence-based programing through strategic partnerships that explore both ingredient and stand-alone approaches
o Build InfrastructureInvest in strengthening infrastructure to ensure that we are building a sustainable, scalable, self-supporting nonprofit able to carry our mission into the future

SongwritingWith:Soldiers continues to connect with funders and partners who strongly believe in our mission and wish to support us.

Like many nonprofits, we continue to rely on donations to keep our program free to veterans and their families. At the same time, the high level respect for our organization with strong partnerships who provide program income and assures us that we will continue to meet our goals.

We believe in a privately funded model, working capital will give SW:S the ability to create the innovations, flexibility and individualized approach to provide the specialized environment that allows veterans and their families to connect with each other and their communities through collaborative songwriting.

Healthy working capital gives social-profits breathing room. Faced with uncertainty organizations with adequate capital can reflect on, and reconsider, the best path forward, knowing that a deficit wont put them out of business." The philanthropic field can help with more unrestricted operating support.

A sustainable social-profit organization has the financial resources to support mission over the long term. It raises and earns enough revenue to cover its full costs each year, and it has adequate flexible cash (or other short term assets) on hand or readily available.

With sufficient working capital, we can manage and take risks, having enough cash to cover short-term obligations, such as programs, vendors, or employees. We can navigate unpredictable shortfalls in revenue, perhaps due to the loss of a funder, leadership transition, or economic downturn. We fix, improve or replace internal systems, technology and equipment. And, we experiment in innovative and creative ways that might not otherwise be affordable.

Since 2012, we have written more than 1,000 songs and more than 600 are available for free streaming on our website.

This year reminded us again of the importance of creativity in fostering connections, building community and growing friendships along the way. As our work deepens as we continue to build a sustainable, scalable, self-supporting nonprofit able to carry our mission into the future.

2023 Key Accomplishments:
In 2023, SongwritingWith:Soldiers, delivered more programming helping more individuals than ever before!

TWO HUNDRED and TWENTY-SEVEN new songs were written in 2023. Stories were told, songs were written and connections were made in AR, AZ, CA, CT, FL, GA, IN, IL, MA, MD, MN, MT, NY, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, and WA. Together, the board of directors and staff developed a comprehensive three-year plan to provide a sustainable and strategic growth plan through 2026.

PROGRAM and MUSIC
11 SW:S in person 3-day retreats serving 126 veterans and their families

137 SW:S collaborative songwriting sessions delivered in Warrior PATHH programs in 11 locations serving 959 veterans and first responders

5,895 complete streams of songs created in the SW:S retreat program on the SW:S Bandcamp page

Trained 3 new songwriters and one new facilitator to deliver SW:S programs

The Songwriting With Soldiers PBS special was made available for free streaming in perpetuity

Shared our veteran songs through live performances at 7 events (Veterans Administrations Inaugural Veterans Resource Community Network Convening; Park City Song Summit; Sound Union Outreach Concert, San Francisco; Buffalo veterans community event, 3rd & Lindsley Outreach Concert in Nashville; Aflac annual convention, National Defense Industry Association Conference, Boston)

OUTREACH
Media outreach opportunities which yielded interviews with Spin Magazine, Fox, Good Morning America (ABC), Garden & Gun, NPR and more.

Relaunched the SW:Stories blog on the website and through social media

Created and distributed fourth SW:S compilation book The Power of Strengths for public distribution and donor recognition

Inaugural SW:S Run Walk Ride (virtual and local)

Delivered a keynote speech at Berklee Music and Health Institutes Intersection of Music and Mental Health: Military and Veterans, in collaboration with Ron Hirschberg, MD (Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Home Base Program for Veteran and Family Care) and Rebecca Vaudreuil, MSW, EdM, MT-BC (Creative Forces Lead Music Therapist & Clinician Supervisor)

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We act on the feedback we receive

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback

Financials

SongwritingWith: Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

SongwritingWith: Inc.

Board of directors
as of 02/20/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Gary Leopold

Retired

Term: 2018 - 2024

Barbara Kornreich

Piper7Media

Mary Judd

Co-Founder and Program Director

Kristin Starling

Ex Officio/Executive Director

Easton Brice

UBS Investment Banking Company

Mike MacEwen

Beacon Interactive Systems

Pepper Evans

N/A

Suzanne Hogan

Collin McMillan

Brian Magerkurth

Avantor, Inc

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Not applicable

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/19/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

Transgender Identity

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 01/19/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
Policies and processes
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.