Santa Barbara Education Foundation and 99.9 KTYD continue to Keep the Beat for Local Students

By Giving List Staff   |   February 3, 2023

Since 2003, the Santa Barbara Education Foundation has kept the beat for school music programs by raising funds to pay for instruction and collecting instruments. The efforts have ensured that every elementary school student in SB Unified learns to play an instrument as part of their school day curriculum, a rarity for California school districts. 

Now for the fifth year, local music educators and professional musicians who got their start in music in SB Unified music programs will take to the airwaves for the entire month of February on 99.9 KTYD to ask the community for support of the Keep the Beat Instrument Drive. The on-air event serves as an awareness raiser and celebration of SB Unified’s student musicians. Guest interviews will include Glen Phillips of Toad the Wet Sprocket, Lito Hernandez, Victor Murillo, and Bucket Baker. 

During last year’s Keep the Beat Instrument Drive, SBEF brought in $10,000 in funding and 140 donated instruments, including everything from an electric ukulele and a didgeridoo from Australia, to more common donations like guitars and violins.

According to La Colina Junior High School Music Teacher Stephen Hughes, “Every music student wants to play a particular instrument. Maybe they sign up hoping to play the flute, trumpet, drums, or cello. When the schools receive instruments from the Santa Barbara Education Foundation, we can give them directly to our students, who can begin learning their dream instrument right away.”

But it’s not just donated instruments that keep students playing music. This year, SBEF hopes that the Keep the Beat Instrument Drive will also collect funds to help repair and maintain instruments currently in use by students. Yet it is not just funding for repairs; contributions also pay specialists to work with students to take their skills to the next level in free after-school programs like BRAVO and low-cost learning opportunities like the Nick Rail Summer Band Camp.

SBEF will also host instrument donation sites every Friday in February at Nick Rail Music (February 3 and 17) and La Cumbre Junior High School (February 10 and 24). For more information on the Keep the Beat Instrument Drive, please visit or call 805-284-9125.


Santa Barbara Education Foundation

Donate now!
(805) 284-9125
Executive Director: Pedro Paz


Santa Barbara Education Foundation (SBEF) provides and supports programs that enrich the academic, artistic, and personal development of all students in the Santa Barbara Unified School District.

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I have always been impressed with Keep the Beat as it fosters a love of music in children that can last a lifetime. I learned to love music when I was young and wanted to help our young folks experience that same love in their formative years.
Anne Towbes
Music Education Supporter

Helping Teachers Help Students

The agenda for the 2022/2023 school year is to close the gap and achieve more funding for Teacher Grants while focusing on literacy development and mental health. Despite the $223,000 gap that the Santa Barbara Education Foundation is currently experiencing, their diligence and thoughtfulness bear every single student in mind.

You can help countless students like Bella find their voice.

Key Supporters

Arnesen Family Foundation
Timothy and Louise Casey
Andrew and Mary Jane Cooper
Daniel and Mandy Hochman
Elaine F. Stepanek Foundation
James S. Bower Foundation
John L. Carleton Foundation
Senator Monique Limón
J.M. Lind
Superintendent Dr. Hilda Maldonado
Sara Miller McCune
Mithun Family Foundation
Mosher Foundation
Santa Barbara Foundation
Nick Rail
April Thede
Towbes Foundation
Walter J. & Holly O.
Thomson Foundation
Wood-Claeyssens Foundation
Zegar Family Foundation