I've said it elsewhere, but it bears repeating: Music is food for the soul, which is why our primary mission has always been to help our customers and our community make and enjoy more music. The customer part is easy—we bring you world-class gear at fair prices with the best guarantee in the business.
At the community level, we support a number of music programs. Durango has a surprisingly robust music scene for a town of around 15,000 people. The main hub for our town's local arts scene is the Durango Arts Center, and Shoreline Music is a DAC corporate sponsor. The remainder of our support goes to the up and coming generation of musicians. Through sponsorship, patronage, and direct donations, we support a number of youth music programs in Durango, covering choral, theatrical, and orchestral music.
Now, while we are passionate about music here, it's not the only thing we're passionate about, and local music is not the only thing we support. And so I'd like to share a bit about the folks my family and my company give to:
African Hearts Community Organization — My family's trip to Uganda a couple years back was life-changing for many reasons, not the least of which were the many friends we made at African Hearts in Kampala. Lutaaya Abdul, the founder and leader of African Hearts, is now a dear friend, and a former Ugandan street kid who has grown up to care for those very same children. His organization provides food, shelter, advocacy, wound care, and, of course, love and friendship to the orphans in Kampala's slums. Lutaaya's keen intellect, easygoing manner, and infectious laughter have led a growing ministry that now includes a school, several boys' homes, a brass band, and a big chunk of land for food independence. Lutaaya has even made several visits to Durango—in fact, I have pictures of him hanging out at our retail storefront and helping us pack orders. I encourage you to check them out.
Compassion International — There are, of course, numerous worldwide organizations that provide food, education, and advocacy for the world's poorest children. I'm particularly fond of Compassion because so much of our donation goes directly to the children we support. Plus, they have an infrastructure in place to actually visit and meet your sponsored children. We did this in Ethiopia in 2011, and we still cherish that visit. The monthly investment is small, and the global impact is large. If you're looking for an easy way to give to those less fortunate, Compassion is a great place to start.
Plant with Purpose — Scott Sabin is an old acquaintance (and fellow sailor) whose organization realized years ago that the plight of the poor in Latin America was often the direct result of deforestation. Since then, his organization has been working throughout the world to reverse deforestation and restore the previously self-sustainable lifestyles of rural subsistence farmers. Plant with Purpose has feet on the ground in Haiti, Tanzania, Thailand, and numerous other countries, and as of 2017, they had planted more than 20 million trees. Their mission is easy to get behind, and their impact is long-term. I encourage you to check them out.
Love146, A21, and others — One of the great human tragedies of the 21st century is the international child sex trade. It's the kind of problem that seems very foreign to those of us here in the US, but it is indeed very real. It was brought home for my family when we visited a safehouse in Thailand several years back. It wasn't until we met the children, rescued from the most horrific circumstances, that our hearts truly broke. My own kids spent our visit playing cricket and soccer with these children, and to this day my son marks that as one of the pivotal moments in his life. We continue to support the same family we visited, but we also give to Love146 and A21. Both of these organizations tell a familiar story—their founders were spurred to action when they met the children. I encourage you to check them out, but be prepared to have you hearts broken as ours were.