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Author Archives: Jeff Green

BeInstrumental Teacher, John Cleveland


October 9, 2017

BeInstrumental was featured in October’s Toledo Area Parent newspaper.  The original article, by Erin Marsh, can be found here.



With the cuts to public education funding over the years, many schools have been forced to make hard decisions, resulting in many districts eliminating art and music education. A local nonprofit, BeInstrumental, has been working for the last decade to fill that artistic void, providing music education and instruments to students at little or no cost.

Keeping music alive

School administrators, in response to tightened budgets, chose the core curriculum subjects— English, math, science, history— over art. Research shows that studying music is linked to language development, improved test scores and increased IQs. Music education allows students to practice skills that can be translated into real life experience and applied to other classes.

“Music provides a basis for children to use skills that are in everyday life: listening skills, working as a team, learning to interpret and respond to stimulus, working on social skills in a group setting, participating effectively with peers, and learning from other students,” explains Carol McElfresh, executive director of BeInstrumental.

Studies also show that learning and practicing music facilitates learning in traditional academic areas, such as English and math. “Children learn the best way to approach a difficulty through music instruction,” continues McElfresh. “It has been shown that as children study music, they do better in other classes, and there is a direct correlation between music and math. They also learn expanded attention with reading, comprehending and interacting with a text.”

BeInstrumental’s goal is “to provide music education to children in the community who have little or no access to music,” says McElfresh. The nonprofit works with the University of Toledo and local schools to provide instruments, tuition, and scholarships for after-school music classes.

The teachers of BeInstrumental, certified music teachers or professional musicians, provide group classes in keyboard, guitar, and piano, with eight to 15 students in a class. “Students progress through a standard curriculum— learn notes, basic songs, learn to play with two hands. The next year they can move onto more difficult music,” McElfresh says.

Music mentors

Mentoring brings in local performers who talk with the kids about what it’s like to be a professional musician and the many options for pursuing music as a career.

“Damen Cook, local drummer, has come in and done demonstrations for us,” McElfresh continues. “He shows different types of instruments, we have Q & A time, and they discuss what musical professions are available.”

The nonprofit, celebrating its 10-year anniversary, assists approximately 100 local students each year. While BeInstrumental has received grants to purchase instruments, the organization also takes donations. Individuals can donate instruments and BeInstrumental will ensure that they are functional and then loan them, for free, to students for the school year.

Scholarships for tuition are need-based; parents simply fill out a standard application and based on household income, BeInstrumental can cover up to 100 percent of the tuition costs.

If families “have other extenuating circumstances, we will consider partial tuition,” adds McElfresh.

BeInstrumental’s Annual Fundraiser – “All That Jazz”

September 11, 2014

Thursday, October 9, 2014 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM (EDT)

Join the BeInstrumental Foundation as we hold our annual fundraiser to support musical education. Special musical guest, Estar Cohen and her band will be supply the sounds as we say thank you to the original Board of Directors, while welcoming the members of our new board!A fabulous sampling of Hors D’oeuvres will be provided along with cash bar – try out the BeInstrumental Buckeye Beer!

Awesome silent auction items as well as a pretty interesting reverse raffle will be featured.

Tickets are $30 each or $50 per couple and are available at or send an email to Jeff @

Our goal is to raise $15,000 at this event – all to be used for musical education programming this next school year.


BeInstrumental receives grant from the Waite Brand Foundation

April 17, 2014

BeInstrumental was recently awarded a $1,000 grant from the Waite Brand Foundation to help offset the cost of purchasing instruments and helping to pay for teachers for our after-school music programs. We want to thank the Waite Brand Foundation for their generosity and BeInstrumental appreciates their support as we bring the Gift of Music to children in our Community.

Giving back: Philanthropists loan instruments to kids

November 21, 2013

Instructor Meaghan Roberts teaches her be instrumental music class at the Friendly Center.

Instructor Meaghan Roberts teaches her be instrumental music class at the Friendly Center.

What do a lawyer, a sales manager, and a business development associate have in common?

In Toledo the answer is a passion to fill a void left after northwest Ohio public schools wielded budget-cutting knives and eliminated music programs.

Rather than wag their heads and lament the loss of efforts to develop well-rounded students, professionals John Mackewich, Jeff Green, and Mike Grady organized the BeInstrumental Foundation in the fall of 2009.

“We formed the group to give back to the community and to fill the void as a result of the constant cuts in arts and music. All of us have music backgrounds,” Mr. Mackewich, president of BeInstrumental, said.

Toledo Magazine: BeInstrumental

“Our mission is to ensure that all kids in northwest Ohio have musical education,” he said.

Mr. Mackewich is an attorney and plays bass. Mr. Green, vice president of the foundation, is a sales manager and plays trombone, and Mr. Grady is a business development associate who also plays trombone.

The foundation has helped about 275 students since its inception. The group takes a three-pronged approach to meeting that goal: It provides music classes for students in schools that do not offer music; lends instruments to music students, and lines up professional musicians to conduct classes.

“We have an instrument bank for any kid who needs an instrument and we will give it free to use in the school year. Likewise, if a school calls and asks for five violins, we give them,” Mr. Mackewich said. Its bank includes 60 instruments, including violins, trumpets, saxophones, cellos, guitars, and clarinets.

There is no cost for students. They are asked to sign an agreement stating that an instrument is on loan to them as long as they are in a music program, and if they drop out, that they will return it.

BeInstrumental’s six-member board buys instruments or collects them from others who no longer use them. Anyone who has an instrument sitting around collecting dust can give it to the foundation. Instruments that need it are repaired, then sent to a school.

“So far we have received every instrument back that we have loaned out. A few get broken now and then, but that comes with the trade,” he added.

In its first year, BeInstrumental started loaning instruments. The second year the focus was on after-school programs. This year, Mr. Mackewich said the group wants to expand music programs in after-schools and community centers.

Fund-raising efforts and donations support BeInstrumental.

“All we do is free to community centers, and we raise funds to do that,” he added. “The biggest benefit to us is letting them know that if there is a parent whose kid wants to take up music, they can contact us and we can help them with that.”

Students, parents, and schools interested in obtaining an instrument from the group’s instrument bank can call 419-798-6683.

Contact Rose Russell at: or 419-724-6178.

Read more at:

Toledo Community Foundation’s Stranahan Supporting Organization Awards Grant to BeInstrumental

November 14, 2013

The Board of Trustees of the Stranahan Supporting Organization of the Toledo Community Foundation has approved a grant to the BeInstrumental Foundation in the amount of $3,900.  These funds will be used for support of music programs in the Toledo area.

The Stranahan Supporting Organization grant will be used to fund music staff and music materials that enable BeInstrumental to continue to provide free music classes to children in grades K-12.  BeInstrumental’s mission is to ensure that every child has a musical education and to provide schools with the resources needed to teach music.

Carol McElfresh, Executive Director of BeInstrumental states, “With help from the Stranahan Supporting Organization grant, BeInstrumental will reach children through hands-on music instruction who might not otherwise have exposure to music.  We appreciate the support of the Stranahan Supporting Organization and the Toledo Community Foundation. ”

Toledo Community Foundation, Inc. is a public charitable organization created by citizens of our community to enrich the quality of life for individuals and families in our area.  In existence since 1973, the Foundation has more than 620 funds with assets of approximately $172 million.  The Foundation provides philanthropic services for individuals, families, businesses and corporations to meet their charitable giving needs.  For more information on the Foundation, visit the organization’s website at or follow us on Facebook.

The BeInstrumental Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity dedicated to harnessing the power of the arts by providing aspiring musician’s programs with educational opportunities, mentoring and the financial resources to pursue their music ambitions. Founded in 2009 with our headquarters in Toledo, Ohio, BeInstrumental emerged as a result of alarming cuts in funding for in-school music instruction.  BeInstrumental is accepting donations to fund future programs in order to meet the growing demand for music education in our community.  For more information or to find out how you can help, please visit our website and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

BeMusical in the Park

July 21, 2013

view-bemusical-flyerBeInstrumental is pleased to announce its First Annual Fundraiser, “BeMusical in the Park” to be held on Saturday, August 3, 2013 from 10:00 AM until 4:00 PM at the Ward Pavilion in Wildwood Metropark! BeMusical in the Park will be a free, family event with musical and art themed activities for children. BeInstrumental will also be accepting donations of new and used musical instruments for our student loan program at this event!

BeMusical in the Park is a family-oriented event featuring live musical performances, free refreshments, t-shirt design and activities for the children.

In addition to raising scholarship funding for our students, BeInstrumental will be accepting donations of new and used musical instruments for our student loan program!

Confirmed Musical Guests:

  • 10:00 – John Cleveland Jazz Pianist
  • 10:30 – David Browning
  • 11:00 – John Cleveland Piano Comedy
  • 11:30 – Lexa Bauer
  • 12:00 – Meaghan Roberts
  • 12:30 – DC Thompson
  • 1:00 – Meghan Chmiel Vocals
  • 1:30 – Estar Cohen
  • 2:00 – Jeanne Iles Piano
  • 2:30 – Aaron Knowinski Group
  • 3:00 – Kyle White Lay
  • 3:30 – New Fashioned
  • …and More!!

Thank you to the following fantastic sponsors!

The Andersons; Northwestern Mutual; Tomkiw Enwright; Gallon & Takacs; McManus & McManus; 5th Street Pub; Subway; Jet’s Pizza; AVJ Communications; Toledo Parent News; Toledo Blade; Guitar Center

For more information about BeInstrumental, of if you would like to volunteer at the event, please contact Executive Director, Carol McElfresh, at

Dear Friends of BeInstrumental:

June 21, 2013

student-playing-violinWhat a year! With the 2012 year for BeInstrumental all but officially over, we want to send a special thank you to all of our donors, volunteers, teachers and musicians who have helped make the past year a success!

BeInstrumental has been hard at work within Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan ensuring that each child has access to a musical education. Some of our highlights for 2012 include:

Musical Education in the Classroom: Continuing our free music program to the 5-7th grade at Northpointe Academy in Toledo, Ohio;

Musical Education within our Community: Providing free musical education to children in grades 2-7 at the Friendly Center in Toledo, Ohio.

BeInstrumental Music Bank: Providing free musical instruments to students in 8 schools and 2 states. You can read more about the Musical Instrument Donation program in the Toledo Blade article here:

In order to continue expanding our music programs in 2013, however, we need your continued financial support! Your generous gift would be used to hire additional music teachers and to purchase musical instruments for the BeInstrumental program. Our goal this year is to raise an additional $35,000.

Will you consider giving a tax-deductible financial gift to BeInstrumental?
Donations can be easily and securely made on our website, here or by mailing a check to the address below. Your generous assistance will ensure that every child has an access to a musical education. But don’t just take our word for it! Read what BeInstrumental means to our students in their own words!

As always, if you know of someone who cannot afford a musical instrument, or you would like to add your school to our list, please contact us.

On behalf of BeInstrumental’s Board of Directors, our students, our schools and our supporters, THANK YOU for your continued support in 2012 – we look forward to continuing our mission in 2013 to provide every child the musical education he or she deserves.

Musically Yours,

The BeInstrumental Foundation
Changing Our Region: One Note at a Time

John Mackewich

Jeffrey Green

BeInstrumental Awarded Grant by Toledo Community Foundation to Fund Friendly Center Project

May 21, 2013

The Board of Trustees of Toledo Community Foundation has approved a grant to the BeInstrumental Foundation in the amount of $4500.

6/3/2012 – Toledo, Ohio – The Board of Trustees of Toledo Community Foundation has approved a grant to the BeInstrumental Foundation in the amount of $4500. These funds will be used to aid in the continuation of a music program at the Friendly Center in Toledo.

The Toledo Community Foundation grant will enable BeInstrumental to hire a music teacher and an intern used to acquire new instruments for the students at the Friendly Center as well as be used to provide teaching throughout the year.

“This grant will allow us to continue our partnership with the Friendly Center of Toledo,” said BeInstrumental Board Member and Treasurer, Michael Hunter. “There’s nothing better than seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces after a great lesson. We’re fortunate we are able to continue this great project with another great Toledo organization!”

About Toledo Community Foundation: Toledo Community Foundation, Inc. is a public charitable organization created by citizens of our community to enrich the quality of life for individuals and families in our area. In existence since 1973, the Foundation has more than 540 funds with assets of approximately $160 million. The foundation provides philanthropic services for individuals, families, businesses and corporations to meet their charitable giving needs. For more information on the Foundation, visit the organization’s website at or follow us on Facebook.

BeInstrumental Wins $50,000 Pepsi Refresh Grant

April 21, 2013

pepsi-refresh-logoNon-profit organization to use funds to support musical education in Northwest Ohio.

BeInstrumental, a Toledo-based 501(c)(3) organization, recently received a $50,000 grant through the Pepsi Refresh Project. Throughout the month of October, thousands of voters across the country voted everyday at to help BeInstrumental win the Pepsi Refresh Project grant. In 2010, the Pepsi Refresh Project is giving away $20 million dollars in the U.S. to fund good ideas, big and small, that move communities forward. Grants range from $5,000 to $250,000 and each month Pepsi has given out 32 grants equaling $1.3 million. October was the fifth month of competition for BeInstrumental.

BeInstrumental was founded on the principal that every child should be afforded the opportunity to pursue his or her musical dreams. The organization offers Toledo-area students access to music lessons, camp scholarships, instruments, concerts and mentoring from professional musicians in the community. BeInstrumental is entirely funded through donations and sponsorships.

Because BeInstrumental is entirely run by volunteers, none of the $50,000 grant will be used for salaries, but will go toward the purchase of musical instruments, scholarships for music lessons, and a concert that is being planned for the spring. In addition, the organization is seeking a physical location to store the organization’s instruments, as well as space to provide music lessons to students.

“We are extremely excited,” BeInstrumental Director and Co-Founder, Jeff Green said. “The Pepsi Refresh grant opens up many opportunities for BeInstrumental, and provides us with positive momentum moving into 2011. This is great for the entire Toledo community, and we want to thank our community for its support.”

About BeInstrumental Foundation: BeInstrumental Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation dedicated to harnessing the power of the arts to support aspiring artists, musicians and musical education programs. BeInstrumental was founded in 2009 and is headquartered in Toledo, Ohio. For more information, or to make a tax – deductible donation, please visit