Rock to the Future

Preparing the next generation for every stage.

Philadelphia, PA   |  https://rocktothefuture.org

Mission

Rock to the Future provides student-driven music programs in a safe and supportive environment at no cost for Philadelphia youth. Through music, our students build life skills to support current and lifelong well-being. Rock to the Future achieves social justice and economic empowerment, interrupting the cycle of poverty, through music education, mentoring, and educational support.

Notes from the nonprofit

Please visit our website RocktotheFuture.org for more updated information. We're happy to provide a site visit or have a conversation with you!

Ruling year info

2011

CEO and Founder

Jessica Craft

Main address

1201 North 3rd St. #283

Philadelphia, PA 19122 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

27-2497163

NTEE code info

Arts Education/Schools (A25)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Educational Services and Schools - Other (B90)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Music programs can have a huge impact for the youth we serve. Schools that have music programs experience higher attendance and graduation rates, and students that participate in high quality music programs experience improvements in social and emotional learning skills and executive functioning skills that can lead to improvements in current and long-term quality of life. However, due to family financial restrictions or inadequate funding for schools, many Philadelphia students do not have access to consistent, high quality music education. Our goal is to provide free, accessible, and welcoming music programs that students will be excited to attend and return to, year after year.

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?

MusiCore After School

MusiCore provides innovative music programming combined with mentoring and education support for youth in grades 6 - 12 twice a week after school until 6pm for the duration of the school year. MusiCore serves 70+ Philadelphia youth annually at two sites in North and Northwest Philadelphia Students learn guitar, bass, drums, vocals, or piano, form bands with peers, write original music, record in professional studios, sing in the choral ensemble, learn music production, and perform at 3 free, community showcases at the host school location and professional venues like World Cafe Live. Each student receives their own instrument to keep. Students also receive mentoring and education support like tutoring, career exploration, and college/trade school assistance. Graduating students receive a scholarship and a laptop. Students also receive paid work readiness opportunities through a partnership with the Philadelphia Youth Network.

Population(s) Served
At-risk youth
Economically disadvantaged people
Adolescents
Preteens

Summer programs (established in 2014) provides two weeks of summer music programming each at two locations (Kensington High School and Roosevelt Middle School) for grades 6 - 12 from 8:30am - 3:30pm and serve up to 80 students. Students learn an instrument, form a band, write original music, learn music production and graphic design, join the choral ensemble, hear from guest speakers, and showcase their creations at live performances and exhibitions. Students also receive paid internship, career exploration, and work readiness opportunities during summer camp.

Population(s) Served
At-risk youth
Economically disadvantaged people

MobileMusic (established in 2014) provides weekly, hour-long music classes during school, after school, and during the summer at school and community locations. Each club hosts 10 - 30 students, and offerings include instruction on guitar, ukulele, keyboard, choral ensemble, and music production. Partner locations select the type of programs they would like to offer based on feedback from their participants. Over 200 students participate annually and each class culminates in a free, community performance. Current MobileMusic partners include Crossroads Academy, Hackett Elementary, Wissahickon Charter Awbury, Wissahickon Charter Fernhill, Roosevelt Elementary, St. Laurentius, As I Plant This Seed, and Juvenile Justice Center. Upcoming partnerships include Kearney, Penn Treaty, Anti-Violence Partnership of Philadelphia, and Anti-Drug and Alcohol Crusaders.

Population(s) Served
At-risk youth
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work

Awards

Turning Point Prize 2010

Women for Social Innovation

Arts Partner 2012

The Spruce Foundation

Innovative After School Program 2019

Philadelphia Social Innovation Journal

Designing Leadership 2019

Arts and Business Council

Affiliations & memberships

Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance 2022

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 children who have the ability to seek help from and respond appropriately to adults

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

At-risk youth, Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

MusiCore After School

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of children able to exercise appropriate control in independent and group activities

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

At-risk youth

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of children who have a sense of their own feelings and an ability to express empathy for others

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

At-risk youth, Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

MusiCore After School

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of program participants who receive a secondary school diploma or GED

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

At-risk youth, Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

MusiCore After School

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

100% of MusiCore students attend post-secondary education after graduation.

Number of students demonstrating responsible behaviors and work habits

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

At-risk youth, Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

MusiCore After School

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of students receiving personal instruction and feedback about their performance

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

At-risk youth

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of students enrolled

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

At-risk youth

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of students who demonstrate the desire to succeed in the academic setting

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

At-risk youth, Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

MusiCore After School

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

All students in MusiCore are expected to work towards academic improvement.

Total number of volunteer hours contributed to the organization

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

At-risk youth, Economically disadvantaged people

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of students who receive scholarship funds and/or tuition assistance

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

At-risk youth, Economically disadvantaged people

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Rock to the Future programs are provided at no-cost for low-income Philadelphia youth.

Number of meals served or provided

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

At-risk youth, Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

MusiCore After School

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

All MusiCore students receive a meal each day after school.

Number of lessons taught

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

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Total number of performances

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

At-risk youth, Economically disadvantaged people

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

All students perform at least once per year at a free, community concert.

Number of free registrants to classes

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

At-risk youth, Economically disadvantaged people

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

All RTTF programs are provided at no-cost for students who otherwise wouldn't have access.

Total number of free seats filled for performances

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

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Most RTTF performances are free and open to the community

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.

Goals for the MusiCore After School program include improvements in academic confidence, musical ability, social and emotional learning skills, and executive functioning skills for all participants at their own level of growth. MusiCore is intentionally designed to be a high-quality, high-touch program with numerous quantitative and qualitative results.

As students build social, emotional, and executive functioning skills and receive direct academic support, we expect to see improvements in academic confidence and performance. Students strive to maintain a B average or show overall academic improvement in school. We hope to have 90% of middle school students attend special admission high schools and 100% of graduates attend post-secondary education. We also have a goal of having 30% of students identified as being at-risk for being disconnected from school (per United Way guidelines) improve their grades by one or more levels. Since inception, we have gathered data to demonstrate growth in academic confidence for the students we serve. With parental permission, we track student grades and attendance. By tracking grades and attendance quarterly with students through their online grading systems or report cards, we are able to intervene with youth before they lose confidence in their abilities and fall behind in class. Low grades or attendance changes are indicators that the student may have social or school issues where we may need to provide additional support.

MusiCore has the goal of improving social and emotional learning skills, like self-confidence and setting goals, and executive functioning skills, like planning, self-control, and flexible thinking. MusiCore provides youth with numerous social benefits including developing self-confidence through live performance, building conflict resolution skills through teamwork and collaboration, real-world practice of time management and organization, and the feeling of pride from creating an incredible final musical product with hard work. Through band practice, youth learn social preparedness—working with other youth teaches our students the importance of listening, communicating with respect, and honoring others’ experiences and feelings. We expect to have 90% of participants report improvements in their self-esteem and social growth. Students also provide feedback on the type of programming and classes offered.

While the goal of our program is not to create professional musicians, our students build strong music foundations and advance through their musical studies. MusiCore students learn firsthand that setting goals and working hard can have amazing results. We aim for a 100% live performance participation rate and 100% individual performance participation rate for our showcases and recitals. Live performances provide opportunities for students to showcase their improvements and for instructors to assess areas of need.

We offer innovative programs that provide free, ongoing music education for over 300 Philadelphia youth annually through in-school, after school, and summer programming. Our programs target neighborhoods and schools that lack access to music programs.

Our programs are innovative and exciting for students as we focus on modern band instruments, peer collaboration, and live performance to develop important social emotional and executive functioning skills. We believe in taking a holistic approach to music education, and we focus on the entire individual, not just improvement of musical ability. This includes providing direct academic and social support, providing meals and transportation options, and reducing barriers of entry. There are no auditions or prior experience required, and we provide all instruments and supplies. Our programs are designed to allow for flexible learning and students have a voice in what they learn and create. Using music as a mechanism for youth development, we are creating leaders and productive citizens by improving social and emotional competencies which can reduce stress and aggression, improve helping behaviors, improve positive behaviors towards self and others, and increase academic confidence. Our unique programs engage and excited youth and provide a much needed creative outlet. Rock to the Future aims to provide consistent, engaging, and high quality music programs for Philadelphia youth who may not have access to affordable music education because we believe that all youth can benefit greatly from the lessons learned on stage.

Rock to the Future's nurturing and judgement free environment provides a support system for students. Our staff members receive training in trauma informed practices, classroom management, diversity, equity, and inclusion, and differentiated learning styles so they are prepared to be mentors in not only music but in life. We create an environment where students of all ability levels feel respected, safe, and confident enough to shine in the spotlight. No matter what instrument or music style they choose, we help students to succeed at every stage.

Rock to the Future hires talented youth development professionals and musicians for primary staffing positions and is supported administratively and programmatically by over 40 volunteers. The CEO and the CMO have been with the organization for 10 years and additional core staffing support includes a Communications Coordinator, over 10 teaching artists and academic tutors, and three program directors.

Rock to the Future's Board of Director's is active in governance and planning. The Board of Directors governs the organization, meets regularly, and abides by the set bylaws and charter. The Board of Directors is comprised of educators, corporate professionals, lawyers, accountants, business developers, and marketing professional which aid in supporting the vision of the organization. The Governance committee ensures the Board of Directors is properly overseeing Rock to the Future and maintain fiduciary responsibilities. The Board also supports the strategic planning process by attending and participating in workshops, surveys, and working groups to support the development of the plan. Rock to the Future believes in planning and operates off of a strategic plan. Strategic plans are generally created for 3 years, are reviewed regularly, and revised annually. When needed, bridge goals are identified during planning processes.

Our power is in our partnerships and vibrant music community. We collaborate with other Philadelphia music and arts groups such as Musicopia, the Philly POPS, Weathervane Music Organization, Big Picture Alliance, and Play On Philly, through student performances or program collaboration. We work and parter with professional recording studios and performance venues in Philadelphia. We have a strong and growing partnership with the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) at an administrative and local level. National partnerships with Hungry for Music Foundation, Fender Music Foundation, and D'Addario Foundation have yielded countless instrument donations to support our programming.

Since inception, 100% of our graduating MusiCore seniors have pursued post-secondary institutions. Each year, over 3500 community members enjoy dozens of free performances. Over 95% of participants perform in live showcase annually.

RTTF has received significant press coverage, awards, and recognition. The organization was featured in The New York Times in 2013 and has continued to receive press, numerous awards, and recognition for our program innovation and impact. Our Executive Director Jessica Craft was honored by the Tau Beta Sigma national sorority and was named the Featured Woman in Music, along with being featured at the PA Conference for Women as a Local Leader.

RTTF has also partnered with iHeartMedia as their Nonprofit of the Week and has been featured on KYW Radio, WXPN, Radio 104.5, Mix 106.1, and other local radio stations. The organization has also been featured locally on Good Day Philadelphia, ABC, NBC, and CBS news. In addition, dozens of local print and digital media cover RTTF events and program successes each year.

RTTF has received significant press coverage, awards, and recognition. The organization has been featured in The New York Times, Suburban Life Magazine, 34th Street Magazine, JUMP Philly, on iHeartRadio (104.5, 106.1, 102.1, 98.9), WXPN (88.5), Good Day Philadelphia, and has continued to receive press, numerous awards, and recognition for our program innovation and impact.

Our program and staff have received awards from Philadelphia Social Innovation Journal (Innovative After School Program), Billy Penn (Who’s Next, Public Service), the Arts and Business Council (board member of the year, business professional volunteer of the year, and designing leadership alumni), KYW, and our students have received many awards including the Mayor’s Scholarship award and the Crown of the Continent Guitar Festival scholarship. CEO Jessica Craft received the Designing Leadership award in 2019.

Our Student House Band has performed at such events as the 2017 NFL Draft (RTTF is an Eagles Care Partner alumni), The 2015 Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce Paradigm Awards, the 2017 and 2016 Arts and Business Council Awards, and annual showcases at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Hungry for Music. Students have worked with the Dead Milkmen, Livingston Taylor, Rogers Stevens (Blind Melon), Chill Moody, and Nicky Palermo (NOTHING).

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 shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Rock to the Future primarily serves Philadelphia youth in grades 3 - 12. We collect feedback from students, parents / guardians, partners, community members, team members, volunteers, and board members at least annually (if not more frequently) to determine how we can improve.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Case management notes, Community meetings/Town halls, Suggestion box/email,

  • 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 make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    We changed the types of programs we offer virtually to include instrument classes because of the desire and demand from the communities we work in even though these types of programs take more energy and resources from our team. Our community felt that we needed more transparency at all levels of the organization. We have started monthly newsletters and are providing materials on our website, in public forums, and in our newsletters. We changed the way we work remotely to have core working hours and flexible hours so that people can attend to their families and person lives as needed and can work at the times that work best for them.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    Our team members, participants, and partners are essential in decision making processes and have been for many years.

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

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, 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 look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time,

Financials

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

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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.

Rock to the Future

Board of directors
as of 5/20/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Mr. Matt Sommer

Brolik

Term: 2025 - 2022


Board co-chair

Mr. Paul Johnson

Kushol Gupta

University of Penn

Jacob Waters

Education First Consulting

Jameel Farruk

Municibid

Natasha Felder

School District of Phila

Ed Rogalski

School District of Phila

Jen Bieter

School District of Phila

JB Hilman

Strategic Consulting

George Miller

Temple / Higher Education

Rachel Pius

Z3

Alex Monteiro

National Philanthropic Trust

Ah-Keisha McCan

Whole Body Literacy

Matt Sommer

Brolik

Paul Johnson

Higher Education

Tessa Mellin

Elevate

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? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 01/30/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 01/30/2022

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.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • 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.