Pianos for People, based out of St. Louis, is a nonprofit organization that “connects people who need pianos with pianos who need people.” The organization restores used and broken pianos and gives them to people in need. But that’s not all.
The organization also offers free music lessons. It’s a unique and clever concept, and one that’s garnering national attention.
The Today Show recently featured Pianos for People on their morning segment. But it’s not just the mere concept that has people talking; it’s the founders themselves.
Tom and Jeanne Knowles Townsend founded Pianos for People shortly after the tragic loss of their 21-year-old son, Alex. Alex was a talented and dedicated pianist who attended Georgia’s prestigious Savannah College of Art and Design. In 2010, he died in a car accident before he ever got the chance to graduate.
But Alex’s parents were to determined to honor his legacy. So in 2012, they created Pianos for People.
The organization took off almost immediately. In fact, as of now, the organization cannot accept any more piano donations until February.
“We are actually full with pianos right now,” said Sheena Duncan, Executive Director of Pianos for People. “We can’t take pianos at the moment because we have so many to get through and inspect—and we can only afford to do so many at a time.”
But it’s always possible that the organization will expand. Given the recent media coverage, it’s highly probable that the organization will receive an influx of monetary donations. But despite potential growth, one thing that will never change is the free-of-charge policy.
“It’s really, really important to us that this component of free never go away,” said Tom Townsend.
And so People for Pianos will continue to inspire others with their creative and unique vision. If Alex Townsend were alive today, he would surely be beaming with pride.