GOLD2024

Guitars Over Guns Organization Inc

Choose Your Sound

aka Guitars Over Guns   |   Miami, FL   |  www.guitarsoverguns.org

Mission

Guitars Over Guns is a Miami-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit that offers students from disadvantaged backgrounds a powerful combination of music education and mentorship with professional musicians to help them overcome hardship, find their voice and reach their potential as tomorrow’s leaders. Guitars Over Guns creates safe spaces for youth to express themselves through music and empowers them to make positive choices at school, at home and in their communities.

Ruling year info

2014

President

Chad Bernstein

Main address

2916 N Miami Ave Floor 6 Office 602

Miami, FL 33127 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

26-2644682

NTEE code info

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Music Groups, Bands, Ensembles (A6C)

Music (A68)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

In Chicago, about 75% of violent crime incidents take place outside of school hours. Guitars Over Guns Organization views violent acts as attempts to combat the pain borne out of divested communities, insufficient options for productive after-school programs, and the feeling of not being heard. Rather than simply prevent violence, Guitars Over Guns’ unique approach to arts-based youth development aims to cultivate an empowered community bound by the transformative nature of music.

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?

Haven Studio Project

The Haven Studio is an incubator for the most intensive music instruction and mentoring practice offered by Guitars Over Guns Organization (GOGO), pioneering a model for innovative and youth-led, arts-based development programming. The Haven Studio is an entirely free, community-based resource operating at no cost to underserved, vulnerable youth between ages 14-21, hailing from Chicago’s 3rd, 4th, 5th, & 20th wards (Bronzeville, Englewood, Washington Park, Hyde Park, and South Shore), who may not otherwise have the opportunity to participate in the artistic process or receive mentorship in school or at home. Because Haven Studio hours are Monday-Friday, 10am to 6pm, youth participants range from current public school students and part-time local college students, to high school graduates looking to enter the workforce, young people living with a parent, and others who are homeless. 98% of Haven Studio mentees identify as youth of color, of which 76% are young men. Given the diversity of experience, Haven Studio mentors are committed to providing youth access and exposure to a variety of career-focused opportunities from within the music industry that ignite unique interests and passions and translate to success outside of the studio. Since opening its doors in 2016, 87% of the Haven Studio's 75 mentees have been guided through the studio process and on to further employment, educational, vocational, and volunteer opportunities in their communities. The Haven Studio was created by a seed money grant to GOGO from Steve Harvey and Sweetwater Sound, and the mentees have been back on the show to perform in 2017.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents
Ethnic and racial groups

Evergreen is a level 2+ school in McKinley Park, which hosts a large Latino/immigrant population in a 'modern band' set-up. In three years, the after-school program has grown from 9 students to 30, due largely in part to our in-school involvement and collaboration with Evergreen's music teacher. This program has been awarded multiple arts-based grants including a Creative Schools Fund grant from Ingenuity, has been featured on Windy City Live, and has performed on stages ranging from the United Center to Reggies Rock Club to the Ronald McDonald House at Lurie Children's Hospital. The students in this program led a completely original songwriting, recording, and music video project that premiered last summer.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Ethnic and racial groups

A level 2 school in Bronzeville, the Beethoven program was cultivated through partnerships with Communities in Schools and Little Kids Rock. We partnered with a new music teacher looking to build deeper relationships with his students, particularly through mentorship and culturally relevant music. This led to the creation of our first after-school program built around hip hop and creative writing. Given its proximity to our Haven Studio (see below), we hope students from Beethoven's community will take advantage of an opportunity to stay involved with GOGO programming through high school, and beyond. In 2017, Guitars Over Guns expanded programming to triple the size of student enrollment thanks to a 'New Chance' grant from Chance the Rapper.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Ethnic and racial groups

A level 2 school in Gage Park, Sawyer is one of the largest elementary schools in Chicago. Set in a predominantly Mexican community, over 50% of the student body does not speak English at home. Through partnerships with Communities in Schools and Little Kids Rock, we connected with a new music teacher looking to bring more robust programming options highlighting Social Emotional Learning standards and culturally relevant music. Led by a mentor who was raised in the same neighborhood, Guitars Over Guns built a team of mentors - half of which is bilingual - that fit the needs of the school community. In response to student interest in stage management and production, Sawyer will launch Guitars Over Guns' first program focused on audio engineering, mixing, and live sound, revolutionizing the student-led performance experience.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Ethnic and racial groups

North Miami Senior High is the first high school focused Guitars Over Guns program, where GOGO mentors lead small group instruction in voice, music production, guitar, and rap. North Miami was deliberately selected to launch our first high school site because of our deep ties in this neighborhood. After 10 years of powerful service in North Miami Middle School, we decided to double down on our commitment to this community. One of our favorite components of working in North Miami High is the large cohort of high school students who choose to serve as GOGO peer mentors in the neighboring middle school.

Population(s) Served
Ethnic and racial groups
Adolescents

North Miami Middle School is the birthplace of Guitars Over Guns. Mentors currently lead small group instruction in voice, rap, keys, guitar, drums, dance, and visual art. Students and alumni from this program have consistently taken their talents above and beyond the GOGO classroom, from performing at the Adrienne Arsht Center and American Airlines Arena, to being featured on CNN and a plethora of Miami media forums. Additionally, North Miami Middle School alumni have gained acceptance to prestigious institutions like Berklee College of Music and Frost School of Music at the University of Miami.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Ethnic and racial groups

Thanks to the support of the Children’s Trust, Guitars Over Guns launched programs at the start of the 2018 school year in three new locations in Liberty City. At Brownsville Middle School, GOGO mentors offer small group instruction in voice, rap, drums, and music production. We are incredibly excited to build lasting ties within the Liberty City community and connect youth with GOGO mentors who grew up in the area.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Ethnic and racial groups

The Citrus Grove Middle School site was launched in partnership with the Miami Marlins. We currently offer small group instruction in voice, rap, keys, guitar, and drums. Students from Citrus Grove have performed at the Miami book fair, been featured in multiple Miami media outlets, and written, produced, and recorded original songs. Recently, Site Coordinator Kim Cameron, featured her students in project that was awarded at the 2017 Global Music Awards, and an ‘Official Selection’ of the 2017 Los Angeles Film Awards.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Ethnic and racial groups

Jose De Diego hosts a mentor team that represents a wide variety of musical styles, and has recorded and performed throughout the country. We currently offer small group instruction in drums, guitar, keys, and voice. Jose De Diego was the host site for our 2017 Miami music video,, a cover of Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop the Feeling. Students from 5 Miami sites collaborated on the recording studio session and video shoot, which debuted at the Guitars Over Guns Miami Graduation at Marlins Park in May 2018.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Ethnic and racial groups

Georgia Jones-Ayers Middle School is the second oldest Guitars Over Guns site in Miami. We currently offer small group instruction in guitar, keys, voice, rap, and drums. This site was featured in our second music video, which is a cover of Am I Wrong by Nico & Vinz. Students from Georgia Jones have performed all over Miami, including Ball & Chain and the Miami Book Fair. Recently an alumnus of the rap program collaborated with a Latin Grammy-nominated artist, Elsten Torres, on a moving tribute and response to the Parkland tragedy entitled Never Again.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Ethnic and racial groups

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 professional artists employed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Guitars Over Guns employs professional musicians as mentors to youth

Total number of classes offered

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Guitars Over Guns offers music mentorship programs in Miami and Chicago

Total number of performances

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Total number of community performances

Number of students enrolled

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Total number of students enrolled in Guitars Over Guns music mentorship programs

Percentage of students who feel more confident taking healthy risks/trying new things

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Percentage of students who learn to appreciate their own talents and abilities

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Percentage of students who identify a personal goal and were helped by a mentor to achieve it

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Percentage of students who have been taught skills that they say helped them make positive decisions in everyday life

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Percentage of students who graduate on time

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Percentage of students who said their self esteem has increased

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

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.

Through a powerful combination of music education and strong mentoring relationships with professional musicians, Guitars Over Guns aims to help youth from our most vulnerable communities overcome hardship, find their voice and reach their potential as tomorrow’s leaders.

Guitars Over Guns matches mentors – all of whom are working musicians – with school communities to help students unlock their full potential. Not only are our mentors skilled at making and teaching music – they’re also compassionate individuals who believe in the power of music to change lives. Mentors meet with students in an after-school setting for up to six hours weekly, executing a curriculum that combines National Standards for the Arts with Social-Emotional Learning best practices that are proven to help reduce the negative stressors associated with living in poverty. Whether in the classroom, on stage, or in the studio, our mentors build safe spaces for students to express themselves and push themselves to create and grow as members of their school communities.

Guitars Over Guns’ most valuable resource is the professional musicians it employs. Our mentors bring their talents from every corner of Miami and Chicago into our programs, equipped with tools to build safe spaces for creative expression and empower students to succeed every day. Guitars Over Guns aims to engage the community at large in the artistic process, and build an ecosystem of support for students whose life experiences enhance their potential to grow as active citizens and leaders. Community partners as large as The Elevate Prize Foundation, We Are All Music Foundation, and National Endowment for the Arts, along with local teachers, municipal departments, and faith leaders, are key elements in creating this ecosystem.

Since 2014, Guitars Over Guns has launched a new program region, doubled its number of students served annually from 350 to over 1,150, and multiplied its number of professional musicians employed from 16 to 65. To support the pace of growth and opportunity for impact, we are looking for innovative ways diversify our revenue streams and develop our current personnel and future student leaders, in a strategic effort to expand our model to new cities.

Financials

Guitars Over Guns Organization Inc
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Operations

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

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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lock

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.

Guitars Over Guns Organization Inc

Board of directors
as of 01/26/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Bob Bernstein

Envestnet Retirement Solutions

Bob Bernstein

Envestnet Retirement Solutions

Chad Bernstein

Guitars Over Guns

Lisa Anastos

Edifecs

Ebony Howard

ELMA Philanthropy Services (U.S.) Inc.

Scott Jacobson

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Kellie O'Connell

Nourishing Hope

Jacquie O'Malley

Baptist Health Foundation

Gabriel Pierre

Guitars Over Guns Alumnus

Andrew Stroth

Action Injury Law Group

Chad Turner

Turner Investment Management

Dave Walsh

FON Advisors

H Jordan Weitz

Carnival Corporation & plc

Jim Berry

CBS Miami

J. Gerard Legagneur

GL Esquire Consulting

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? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 4/28/2023

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
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

Disability

No data