Mission, History, Impact

MusiCore After School Statistics
  • 100% college attendance rate for MusiCore program
  • 35% of students increased grade average in MusiCore
  • 100% enjoy learning music
Rock to the Future is a 501(c)3 organization founded in 2010 that provides music education for Philadelphia’s underserved youth at no cost to them or their families. Using music, our programs ignite passion and creativity, support academic achievement, and improve self-esteem. We empower individuals and strengthen communities.
Guided by her belief in the power of music education to transform the lives of children, Founding Executive Director Jessica Craft left a job in the financial services industry to begin Rock to the Future in 2010 after being awarded The Turning Point Prize of $15,000 from Women for Social Innovation. As a volunteer youth mentor and musician herself, Jessica believes in the power and value of music education and understands that sometimes it just takes one caring adult to mentor and motivate a child to stay in school, succeed academically and become empowered to achieve their dreams.

Following a successful first year with 13 students, and additional financial and community support, Rock to the Future expanded its capacity to 22 students during the 2011-2012 program year. In October 2012, RTTF was selected as the charity recipient for the Delaware Investments & Macquarie Group Annual Golf Classic, which allowed for significant program expansion and increased capacity. Rock to the Future provides free music education to hundreds of underserved Philadelphia children a year through the core MusiCore after school program, GuitarStars and Rock*A*Delphia summer camps, and in-school guitar lessons through MobileMusic, and community partners and events.

Thousands of Philadelphia area patrons enjoy concerts from Rock to the Future youth, most being free to the public.

Our students rock on stage and in life!

For a child living in poverty, the unique opportunity to learn how to play a modern “rock” instrument at RTTF is life changing. Many program participants never imagined picking up an instrument, let alone learning how to perform their own original songs and songs from their favorite artists on stage. It’s extremely important that youth have opportunities to engage in their passions — experiences that balance (or overlap with) the academic side of school and help students grow their identities and self-confidence.

Music provides youth with an opportunity to be creative, to express emotion, and to find a life-long love of culture and the arts. It is not unusual to hear “music saved my life” and to learn that music steered an adolescent away from drugs, gangs, and apathy. Studies show that high levels of arts engagement from students in high poverty areas can improve the likeliness of finishing a Bachelor’s degree and choose a professional career path, as well as improve volunteerism and voter engagement. The arts create young adults who have better academic outcomes, are more civically engaged and exhibit higher career goals.

As RTTF students collaborate, create, and perform, they gain confidence, learn motivation, and feel pride. Using contemporary music keeps youth engaged and excited, and many youth return year after year. These experiences yield positive change for the youth we serve. RTTF uses music education to improve academics, build self-esteem and motivate youth to stay in school. Our students show improvements in grades, social behavior, mental health, leadership skills, and standardized test scores, as well as musical ability. We believe in the power of music education to inspire and motivate youth to achieve despite the obstacles of poverty. Furthermore, we believe that this type of positive intervention with at-risk youth not only builds commitment toward the goal of high school graduation, but also creates young leaders who will enrich their community.

Students Served 2015-2016
MusiCore After school
1 site

Summer Camp
2 camps

MobileMusic In-school and partners
6 sites

Community Events

XPoNential Festival, Clark Park Festival, Camden Children’s Garden summer kick-off and music series