Our Story

The Music Mission's founder, Leah Witthuhn, found a passion for music at a young age. Many generous people helped foster her calling, and music was Leah's refuge during tough times. At the age of 14 she decided it was time to find a way to pay it forward.

With the help of her parents, friends, and community leaders, she ended up creating The Music Mission — a non-profit organization that gives the gift of music. The Music Mission is a way for the Fox Valley community to donate instruments and lessons to deserving children. We mainly work with children of low income families but we also occasionally provide merit-based gifts.

Our focus is the distribution of purchased or donated musical instruments to children who do not have access to them. Sometimes this is a direct donation, while other times we will give the instrument to a music teacher or school who can provide it to a child.

Another important part of what we do is providing music lessons to those who are not able to pay for them. We help provide the necessary practice materials, and arrange for a qualified teacher. The music teachers may volunteer, offer discounted rates, or receive tuition from the music mission in the form of a scholarship.

Board of Directors

Leah Witthuhn

Leah Witthuhn

Founder, President

Our founder and driving force. Leah is an above average student, multi-instrumentalist, baller, singer-songwriter, and all around good human being.

Gary Frank

Gary Frank

Vice President

Gary feels the need — the need for speed. When not racing cars, motorcycles, or bikes, you can find him doing his day job, tinkering with someone's personal finances.

Lori Witthuhn

Lori Witthuhn

Administrative Asssistant, Former President, Treasurer

Leah's devoted mother, best friend, and number one supporter. Always wearing a smile, and often toting home made baked goods, it's always good to see her!

Jason Busse

Jason Busse


Jason is a music teacher and performing guitarist. He is also a computer programmer who speaks French and plays the violin, although usually not at the same time.

Colleen Perrine

Colleen Perrine

Public Relations Manager

Colleen is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She received a Music Education degree at Indiana Univ. of Pennsylvania, taught elementary music in Appleton Schools for 26 years. Colleen is currently retired but working part time as a worship leader at Prince of Peace Church and she is also a Christian songwriter and performer.

Timeline of Events

Milestones in Giving

We are so blessed to be able to make musical donations that make an impact both here at home in the Fox Valley and internationally. We are changing the world both figuratively and leterally! Here are some of the ways we've made a difference:

Special Thanks

There have been so many generous people who have helped us along the way. We are extremely thankful for the support we have received from the following people and organizations:

How It Works

Potential Recipients

Potential recipients of gifts may contact us directly. Some families are brought to our attention by their teachers or friends. We do ask for an explanation of why they feel they should receive a gifted instrument or lessons, and we do attempt to vet the potential recipient through interviews and references. Once a potential recipient has been vetted, we put them in line to receive a gift.

Donated Instruments

Donated instruments are inspected by a qualified board member or instrument repair technician. Those in need of some care are repaired and then added to our inventory. If the donation is a type of instrument that we do not get many requests for, we actively pursue a recipient via schools and music teachers or even social media. If it is an instrument for which we receive many requests, we will hold on to it knowing that we will be able to donate it in short order. If, however, we already have a vetted recipient lined up, we provide them with the instrument as a gift.

Gifts to Institutions and Gifts of Lower Cost Instruments

When we provide an instrument to a music teacher or school, we are confident that this individual or institution will be a good steward of the instrument which does not require continued oversight. If an instrument is of relatively low value, the recipient must learn proper maintenance of the instrument but we offer the gift with no other strings attached.

Gifts of Lessons and Gifts of Higher Cost Instruments

For instruments of higher value, the gift is made under a few provisions. Before the instrument is given, the recipient must learn proper maintenance of the instrument. The instrument must be kept in good repair and made available for inspection upon our request. A higher cost instrument is usually a gift in circumstances where the recipient is receiving music lessons. In those cases, and when lessons are gifted, we follow up with the recipient and music teacher quarterly to ensure that the recipient is still enrolled in lessons and practicing at an acceptable level.

Tax Exempt Status

The Music Mission is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, designated as a public charity by the IRS. You can verify this by searching for our EIN, 47-2276435, in the IRS Tax-Exempt Organization Check Tool.

This means that you can deduct your donation to the music mission from your taxable income on your federal tax returns for the tax year in which the donation is made. In order to deduct your donation, you need to maintain a record of the contribution in the form of either a bank record or a written communication from us. If you wish to deduct a contribution of $250 or more, however, you are required to have written communication from us detailing the donation. To make this process easier, we provide all donors who make a contribution of $10 or more with a letter acknowledging their donation. This way, even if you give less than the the $250 threshold and you don't need a letter from us, you'll still receive one to serve as a reminder of the deductible donation at tax preparation time.

If you want more information regarding tax deductible donations, take a look at IRS publication 1771, Charitable Contributions´┐ŻSubstantiation and Disclosure Requirements.