Foundation led by Toronto Raptors coach gives $20K to Hamilton-based music charity

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A foundation run by head coach of the Toronto Raptors, Nick Nurse, is donating $20,000 to a Hamilton-based charity that gives kids barrier-free access to instruments and music programming. 

Funds from the Nick Nurse Foundation will go to the "An Instrument for Every Child" program run by the Hamilton Music Collective, which introduces young people, including disadvantaged children, to music.

The frontman of Hamilton's Arkells, Max Kerman, posted a video on Twitter Wednesday showing the moment Astrid Hepner, the founder of the collective, found out about the donation. Kerman and Nurse were on the call. 

"The only request I have, Astrid, is once the world gets back to normal that I come down and get as many of these kids together and I get to hear them play a few tunes," said Nurse.

The program runs barrier-free music lessons for Hamilton youth, and provides access to instruments, lessons, music therapy, songwriting, and music production, according to a media release. 

They work across 14 partner schools and serve over 650 students in Hamilton. Their programming has primarily moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, says the media release, with over 300 kids enrolled in weekly virtual lessons. 

The charity says its goals are to "empower and enable all children to experience the joy and benefits of playing music, regardless of their socio-economic position."