Music as a Public Service Strategy

Music as a Public Service Strategy

Kiff Gallagher

4.28.2011

Kiff Gallagher

Kiff Gallagher has led a creative and dedicated career of service, entrepreneurship and music. Soon after graduating from Wesleyan University in Connecticut, he joined the White House legislative team that created AmeriCorps while moonlighting with his funk band and volunteering as a youth mentor. Kiff later directed pro-social and community strategies at Odwalla Inc. and was appointed President of Social Venture Network – a national association of CEOs and investors in sustainable business.

In 2003, Kiff merged his life’s passions by launching Peacelabs Music, Inc.—a micro-indie record label and social enterprise— where he wrote and produced two albums, won songwriting awards and toured nationally. Kiff’s songs continue to be licensed to MTV, Fox, the Travel Channel and other networks and films. Peacelabs also served as the incubator for his current venture, The Center for Music National Service (MNS), which he founded in 2007 to promote music as a public-good strategy. The following year, for its leadership in program innovation and advocacy, MNS was named “1 of 10 nonprofit innovations that will strengthen U.S. communities” by the Aspen Institute. And after two years of volunteering and nearly going broke, Kiff’s vision for a “musical peace corps” came to life with a start-up grant from William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. In 2009, MNS launched MusicianCorps (MC) as a national pilot program in 5 cities where musicians were trained and placed to serve for a year as teachers and mentors in public schools, youth centers, hospitals and other high-need community settings. Since its launch, MusicianCorps has been closely followed and replicated by youth service, education and arts organizations throughout the country.

Kiff recently served on Barack Obama's National Arts Policy Committee and as an advisor to the Presidential Transition. His work has been featured in national media, and he has guest lectured on social innovation, corporate responsibility and arts policy at several institutions including Stanford, Wesleyan, UCLA, University of Michigan, the Aspen Institute and the Kennedy Center. Kiff lives in San Francisco with his wife Hahva, a social worker and therapist in Bay Area public schools.

An accomplished singer-songwriter, Kiff Gallagher is the founder of the Center for Music National Service which promotes music as a public service strategy. The center’s main program is MusicianCorps, which places musicians for a year of service in public schools youth centers hospitals and other community settings. A former member of the Clinton Administration legislative team that launched AmeriCorps, Gallagher has led a creative career in service and music. A 2008 Aspen Institute "Ideas Fellow," Gallagher recently served on President Obama's National Arts Policy Committee.