Musical innovation for the issues of our time

“Now, more than ever, people from all walks of life must find ways to connect with each other. Music can move hearts and minds to unite around the pressing issues of our time, and push us to become our best selves.”

—Elizabeth Stookey Sunde, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Music to Life

our identity

Founded in 2000 by Noel “Paul” Stookey (of the 1960’s folk trio Peter, Paul & Mary) and his daughter, Elizabeth Stookey Sunde, Music to Life builds on the strong historical legacy of social movements’ intentional use of music to educate, recruit, and mobilize. We revitalize music to meet the challenges of the modern world and revolutionize the role activist artists can play in accelerating social change. Music to Life understands the complexity of contemporary causes and the diversity of musical genres. We blend this knowledge with multimedia technologies and programming techniques to develop unique musical experiences that amplify an organization’s message, spark engagement with a cause, and empower activist artists to stand on the front lines of social change.

our philosophy

  • More and more musical artists strive to meaningfully impact their communities
  • Socially conscious consumers increasingly seek more from music than just entertainment
  • Complex contemporary causes can be effectively clarified, understood, and internalized through music
  • Modern multimedia technologies and avenues for digital communication can amplify musical messaging
  • Multi-genre and multi-generational music can unite diverse audiences around a single cause

our insights

Historically, social movements have used music to attract and educate new activists, to inspire them to devote time and energy to a cause, and to secure their long-term engagement. Music constitutes a fundamental means of articulating collective identity, necessary to forming and sustaining social groups. This sense of collective identity binds individuals to a movement as dedicated supporters. Neurological studies further indicate that listening to music with lyrics results in higher brain activity in regions involved with attention and memory. Listeners become emotionally receptive to a song’s message when lyrics are set to music. Delivered in a multisensory context, music for social change not only engages listeners’ emotions in the moment, but it also inspires sustained loyalty to a cause.


Elizabeth Stookey Sunde

Co-Founder and Executive Director

Esme Cole

Operations Manager

Randi Herath

Marketing & Social Media

Emily Musty Zanleoni

Accelerator Development & Artist Liaison

Robyn Brady, EdM

Strategic Partnership Development

Leti Bueno

Accelerator Development & Artist Liaison


David Altschul, Partner, Altschul Olin & Vandergast, LLP

Jeff Birdsong, Attorney, Liskow & Lewis

Nancy Buffington, Principal, Communications Trainer/Coach

Nemo Curiel, Digital Organizing Strategist,

Karen Hudson, Marketing & Strategy Consultant

Garrett Jackson, Senior Project Manager, Cerner Corporation

Diana Dunbar Northrop, Fundraising Consultant

Edward Sawicki, Owner, Sawicki Consulting

Ruth Scheer, Former Director, Cabot Family Charitable Trust

Lara Shen Hejtmanek, Senior Associate Director, The Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center

Noel “Paul” StookeyArtist; Co-Founder, Music to Life

Elizabeth Stookey Sunde, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Music to Life

Nagui Louis Yassa, Consultant, Strategy & Operations


Steve Antebi, Founder and President, Maple Capital Management; Chairman, CTRL Collective

Ysaÿe BarnwellArtist

Paul BeaubrunArtist

Judy CollinsArtist

Jan D’Alessandro, President and Founder, Blue J Strategies

Reggie Harris, Songwriter, Storyteller, and Lecturer

Ralph Jaccodine, Assistant Professor, Berklee College of Music; President, Ralph Jaccodine Management

Diana Jones, Artist

Ken Kragen, Organizer, We Are The World and Hands Across America; Recipient, United Nations Peace Medal

Colleen McDonough, Executive Director, ASCAP Foundation

Kevin Merritt, Producer and Writer, One Foot Productions

Tom PaxtonArtist

Joseph Pineda, Founder, JRNE Artist Management

E.W. Stetson III, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center

Ken Sunshine, Founder and Co-CEO, Sunshine Sachs

Abbie von Schlegell, Principal, a. von Schlegell & co. 

Keith Wheeler, Sustainability Strategist

Jasiri X, Artist; Founder and CEO, 1Hood Media

Peter Yarrow, Artist