Dallas Austin Foundation
Profiles of New Philanthropists
Founded in 2003 by GRAMMY Award-winning songwriter and producer Dallas Austin, the Dallas Austin Foundation, Inc. (DAF) aims to transform the lives of young people by enriching their educational experiences through the use of music and film.
As Georgia continued to cut its arts programs in schools, Dallas saw the need to create a program that allowed students to have a creative outlet in the performance arts, specifically in music. His resolve to give back was reinforced by recent studiesfrom the Arts Education Partnership, for exampledemonstrating that arts education can help close the achievement gap, improve the academic skills essential for reading and language development, advance students' motivation to learn, and, perhaps most importantly, lower the dropout rate.
With all this in mind, Dallas Austin created “Don't Stop the Music,” a curriculum-based after-school program, that would teach song writing and production to students. DAF built and equipped small recording studies in local metro Atlanta public schools to house the program.
As part of the “Don't Stop the Music” After-School Program, students:
- Learn to create and record music
- Learn the basic structure of the music industry
- Learn the history of recorded sound
- Are introduced to the typical recording studio set-up
- Learn to create and organize a song
- Learn to compose music
- Learn to record vocals
- Create their own record labels and develop business skills by taking on specific tasks
(e.g, marketing, finance, legal, public relations)
- Engage in character development activities
- Develop problem-solving skills
- Increase creative and critical thinking skills
Students participate in an application and interview process for acceptance into the “Don't Stop the Music” program. The program touches not only those directly involved in the program but also a school's entire student body as DAF stages “Pep Rallies” (with top talent) to encourage students to succeed. DAF has impacted over 2,000 students since its inception.
The Dallas Austin Foundation was initially funded solely by funds donated by Dallas Austin. However, as the program has achieved success, it has grown through an annual Gala benefit event and support from corporate sponsors such as The Coca-Cola Company, SunTrust Banks, and others.
The Dallas Austin Foundation has established studios at several Metro Atlanta public schools, including Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, Brown Middle School, Southside Comprehensive High School, Washington High School, North Atlanta High School, Cedar Grove High School, and Martin Luther King Jr. High School. DAF also provides scholarships and financial assistance to help further develop and maintain the musical arts and entertainment departments in schools and to raise awareness of the vast opportunities that exist for young people within the entertainment industry.