Founder & CEO – Chris Maher

Musical Youth Foundation children’s charity (www.musicalyouthfoundation.org)

The Musical Youth Foundation children’s charity (CHY18624) is dedicated to improving the lives of disadvantaged children in Ireland by providing opportunities for them to succeed and excel through the proven power of music education. Music education can ensure at-risk young people in Ireland have the opportunity to achieve a brighter future. By working in partnership with local community centres, youth groups and schools the Musical Youth Foundation provide children with a safe place to go after school to grow, learn and play through the power of music education. Our mission is simple…“To provide every child on the island of Ireland with access to a musical education”

I came up with the idea for the Musical Youth Foundation on a trip to Memphis . . . where I was officially recognised as an Ambassador of Soul Music

How did the idea for The Musical Youth Foundation come about?

The Musical Youth Foundation charity  was established in 2009 as part of the Dublin City Soul Festival project. At the heart of the project is a deep desire to have a long-term positive impact on the local and wider community by providing children on the Island of Ireland with access to a musical education and all the associated life-changing benefits.

I came up with the idea for the Musical Youth Foundation on a trip to Memphis in 2003 to the inauguration of the Stax Museum where I was officially recognised as an Ambassador of Soul Music and an Honorary Tennessean. I was inspired by the Stax Music Academy, a charity organisation that provides mentoring and music lessons to Memphis youths.

Can you describe the work involved in being CEO? What are your main tasks and responsibilities?

As the CEO I am responsible for the overall success of the charity and the day to day running. The tasks are many and varied including; Fundraising, Grant Applications, Website management, Volunteer management, Event Management, Accounts, Legal, Programme Management, Marketing and Public Relations to name but a few.

What part of the job do you find to be the most challenging? Most satisfying?

The most challenging part of my job is sourcing funding, especially during times of recession and on-going damage to the charity sector due to various scandals caused by other charitable organisations.

The most satisfying part of my job and the part that keeps me motivated to carry on is seeing the life-changing impact that the music projects have on the young people it is our mission to help.

A never give up attitude is vital.

In your opinion, what are the personal qualities or abilities that are needed to do well in this kind of work?

As an entrepreneur working for social change the main qualities would probably be motivation, dedication and drive to continue despite the numerous challenges. A never give up attitude is vital. An ability to problem solve is also key.

Knowing what you know now, what advice do you have for getting into charity work?

Do your research. If you are going to work in the charity sector find out the area that most interests you and go about ensuring you have the required skills and experience to do so. Don’t be afraid to volunteer with your favourite organisations, this is a great way to get some much needed experience and will demonstrate your motivation.

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What kind of changes do you see coming in this line of work?

The main change is an overdue improvement in transparency, something the industry has been lacking for some time. I also believe that the public are slowly starting to be more selective in which organisations they choose to support.

Don’t be afraid to fail, be afraid not to try.

What kind of stress do you deal with?

With a background in Sales (a notoriously stressful industry) I thought working in the charity sector would be a breeze by comparison but the challenges are even greater, in part due to the recent economic climate.  The responsibility of sourcing all the required funding to keep an organisation like the Musical Youth Foundation running and growing can be overwhelming at times.

What have been some of your failures, and how have you learnt from them?

There is no such thing as Failure so long as you give it your best effort and learn from your mistakes, which are inevitable. Attitude is everything no matter what your chosen career.

Don’t be afraid to fail, be afraid not to try.

For more information see www.musicalyouthfoundation.ie

 

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