Announcing the Winners of our Solo String Festival!

Key Changemakers: Our Festival Winners
Highlighting excellence in our community

This month’s Key Changemakers are the three winners of our Inaugural Solo String Festival! Each of them will receive a scholarship to the college of their choice and have a chance to perform live on Classical KING FM 98.1!

Davie Ann Ross:
Senior Competitive Division First Place Winner

“When I began playing violin, there was no one there to guide my parents and me in the ‘right’ direction. What Key to Change is doing for hopeful string players is providing that necessary guidance, and I am so grateful to have been able to participate in a program that hits so close to home.”  – Davie Ann Ross 

Davie is a junior at Raisbeck Aviation High School. She began studying the violin at the age of 8, and now plays in both the Seattle and Tacoma Youth Symphony Associations, where she has served as a principal player and concertmaster. She also volunteers through her student-run string ensemble at local elementary and middle schools in the Highline School District.

Alia Uffenorde:
Junior Competitive Division First Place Winner

“Playing an instrument is an opportunity to focus and produce beautiful music after putting in the hard work of practicing.”  – Alia Uffenorde

Alia has studied the violin for the past two years and the piano for the past four. She first learned about Key to Change when Dr. Morris visited her middle school orchestra, and has now been taking violin lessons with the organization for the past year and a half. Through master classes and other opportunities at Key to Change, she felt empowered to join additional ensembles like the Tacoma Youth Symphony.

Ruby Ro:
Jury Prize Winner

“Music is one of the ways to make sense of things, a way to express feelings when we have no words, a way to understand things with our hearts when we cannot grasp them with our minds. Music is the language we choose when we are speechless. It’s hard to imagine life without music.”  – Ruby Ro

Ruby is a freshman at Todd Beamer High School. She has been playing the violin for seven years and says that music has taught her more about herself and what she want to do for a career. She says playing an instrument has helped her gain a better understanding not only of composers, but of people in general, because playing music is a way of telling stories and sharing life experiences.

We are thrilled to have all three winners of the Solo String Festival performing live on the radio this weekend on Classical KING FM’s NW Focus LIVE program. Tune in on Friday, May 3 at 8pm PT to hear Davie, Alia, and Ruby perform on air and talk with KING FM host Sean MacLean about their musical journey through Key to Change.

Tune in on the radio at 98.1 FM or click here to stream it online from anywhere in the world!

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Key Changemaker: David Couch

Key Changemaker of the Month:
Highlighting Excellence in our Community


“Béla Bartók said of music, it ‘builds bridges, not walls.’ I really like that sentiment, and feel Key to Change is also about building connections in the community. I hope from my position as a teacher, a conductor, or a bass player, that I strive to build bridges, not walls.”

– David Couch, Kentridge High School Orchestra Director
(Pictured with his wife)


Our Key Changemaker of the Month is David Couch! David is the Orchestra Director at Kentridge High School. He studied double bass at the University of Texas in Austin, and played in the Austin Symphony before moving to Washington in 1980. He has subbed with the Seattle Symphony, Seattle Opera, and 5th Avenue Theatre, and the Pacific Northwest Ballet. He also plays with the Auburn Symphony, and teaches orchestra to students grades 5-12 in Kent.

He says the level of musicianship has skyrocketed in the Pacific Northwest over the past 15 years and it’s a great place to be a musician! Thank you David for all the music you bring to our community!


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Key Changemaker: Alia Uffenorde

Key Changemaker of the Month:
Highlighting Excellence in our Community

“The violin is one of the hardest instruments in the world when you sit and think about it. If you can play the violin, you feel like you can really do anything.”
– Alia Uffenorde, Key to Change Violin Student

Our Key Changemaker of the Month is our violin student Alia Uffenorde! Alia began her musical studies by playing the piano, and a few years later discovered her love of the violin while taking an orchestra class at school. She now plays both instruments, and says that Dr. Morris has changed her idea of the phrase “Practice makes perfect” into “Perfect practice makes perfect.” Through master classes and other opportunities at Key to Change, Alia felt empowered to participate in additional ensembles like the Tacoma Youth Symphony.

Thank you Alia for all the music you bring to South King County!

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Key Changemaker: Shelia Holiman

Key Changemaker of the Month:
Highlighting excellence in our community  

“Playing violin gives me a peace of mind and lots of joy. I love when I can perform for family, friends, and for an audience. Through Key to Change, I have grown as a musician and bettered by skills as an artist.”  –  Shelia Holiman, Key to Change Violin Student

–  Shelia Holiman, Key to Change Violin Student

Our Key Changemaker of the Month is our violin student Shelia Holiman! Shelia is in 10th grade at Kentridge High School. She attended Key to Change’s Five for Five – Learn to Thrive summer music camp last June and is now studying violin at our studio on scholarship. Dr. Morris describes Shelia as “a delightful person, who always comes to class with a smile and ready to learn. She also makes the best macaroni and cheese I’ve ever tasted!”

Thank you Shelia for the beautiful music you bring to our community!

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Donor and Event Manager Position Open




Position: Donor and Event Manager
Reports to: Executive Director; will also work closely with the Communications Director. The Donor and Event Manager is expected to work remotely and operate in an independent, self-motivated fashion.
Status: Independent Contractor
Starting Date: February 19, 2019
Salary: $20,000 (20 hours per week at $20 per hour)

The Donor and Event Manager will have a key role in building our donor base and increasing our grant income fundraising over the next 12 months. The Donor and Event Manager will participate in other capacity building priorities to strengthen Key to Change’s reach to underserved youth in South King County.

Event Management
40% of this position includes event management. The first four months will include assisting with the planning and execution of our spring fundraiser event and the following duties:
• Event logistics (venue, catering, décor, RSVP process and tracking, etc.)
• Event marketing
• Write compelling materials for production
• Secure and steward event sponsors
• Volunteer recruitment and coordination
• Assist Director of Development with audience development
• Assist with RSVP process and RSVP tracking
• Other duties as assigned

50% of this position includes donor acquisition, cultivation and retention
• Identify, solicit and support Executive Director and board members in identifying and cultivating potential new donors and prospects in South King County
• Engage potential donors to determine interest and set next steps for further engagement
• Assist with major gifts campaign logistics
• Assist with executing individual giving campaign logistics (year-end appeal, etc.)
• Call donors before the event for pledges
• Identify opportunities for donor recognition, stewardship, and appreciation
• Other duties as assigned

Grant Writing and Grants Management
10% of this position includes the following:
• Systematically research and propose relevant new funding opportunities through foundations, businesses and government aligned with Key to Change’s mission and general operating needs
• Assist with grant writing as needed to produce well-written, compelling, research-based, and competitive grant proposals, letters of inquiry, narratives, acknowledgement letters, and reports following funding guidelines, parameters, and procedures through completion and on-time submission of full proposal and report packages (narratives, budgets, and attachments)
• Other duties as assigned

Bachelor’s degree in English, Journalism, Public Affairs, Communications, or related field. Will
consider equivalent combination of education and experience.
• At least 6-8 years of professional fundraising experience, five as a Grant Writer with
significant and increasing fundraising responsibility (general nonprofit fundraising
experience is preferred)
• Successful track record with small start-up nonprofits

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
• Corporate and foundation development and proposal writing experience, with a proven ability to secure grants and contracts, familiarity with the corporate funding community and knowledge of government (city, state, federal) and private funding sources
• Strong research, analysis and critical thinking skills
• Proven project management skills; highly organized, with an ability to balance projects in a highly deadline-driven environment
• Timely response and feedback
• Proficiency in all programs of the current Microsoft Office suite
• Google Drive familiarity

• Demonstrated experience creating and managing successful fundraising events, including logistics, sponsorships, and audience development, is preferred.
• Understanding and adherence to generally accepted fundraising ethics and privacy standards and policies
• Experience setting up endowments with community foundations preferred
• Previous grant, research, and budget experience of five (5) to seven (7) years
• Not-for-profit grant writing experience, preferred
• Ability to articulate a passion for the arts
• Demonstrated understanding of donor prospect identification, cultivation, and solicitation strategies
• Comfort working independently and collaborating
• Excellent verbal and written communications skills that can be adapted for different audiences

To Apply: Please send a resume, cover letter, two writing samples, and three professional references to Dr. Quinton Morris, Executive Director & Founder,

No phone calls, please.

Deadline: Review of application materials begins on January 22, 2019. Application materials received after the deadline will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Key to Change is an equal opportunity employer. We welcome all applicants, without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, gender identity or expression, or veteran status. We conform to the spirit as well as the letter of all applicable laws and regulations.

About the Organization
Key to Change is a Washington State 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization inspiring underserved youth through world-class music instruction and supporting their development as self-aware leaders. Key to Change strives to provide young artists with the educational tools and resources they need in order to grow and thrive as musicians and as individuals.

Key to Change operates two violin studios, of the same name, in South King County which provide private violin and viola lessons or group classes in Renton, Kent, Auburn, Tukwila, Maple Valley, and Federal Way communities. The Key to Change studio offers scholarships for students requiring financial assistance.

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Key Changemaker: Mollie Ewing

Key Changemaker of the Month: 
Highlighting excellence in our community 

“My passion for violin was encouraged by a supportive family, inspiring private teachers and great school music programs. I played with youth symphonies and knew when I got to college that I wanted to be a music educator.

I had been raising my boys and conducting for the Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra when I heard there was a new middle school being built in Renton, just miles from my house. When I was hired, I had been mostly unfamiliar with the private teachers in the area and it was great when Dr. Morris got in touch with me early in the school year and offered to visit my school. I was able to attend a strategic planning meeting to see how much work Dr. Morris and others were putting into the dream of outreach and access to private lessons for students in South King County area.

I have seen how family incomes can dictate the level of involvement a student has, and what their local schools can offer. If Key to Change can help kids access private lessons and supplement and give individualized support for what they are receiving in their classroom orchestras, we can be a stronger force within the music community, offering our students more opportunities and broadening their learning experiences.”

-Mollie Ewing, Orchestra Director of Risdon Middle School

Our Key Changemaker of the Month is Mollie Ewing! As the Orchestra Director of Risdon Middle School she exemplifies the power of music education in our community. She supports our youth’s musical development both within and beyond the classroom, helping to cultivate the passion for classical music in South King County. Thank you Mollie for your work in the community and supporting Key to Change!

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Key Changemaker: Keith Thomas

Key Changemaker of the Month:
Highlighting excellence in our community

I grew up playing the cello, which for me has always felt like my passport to a wide and endlessly diverse universe. Looking back, I can see all the ways I was helped along the journey by a community of family and friends, but also by organizations and sponsors that opened new opportunities for me.

Key to Change is the organization I needed as a young musician; it’s not just about learning to play music, it’s about community and connection. Key to Change fosters that connection in so many ways, through field trips to the symphony, group feedback and reflection, mentoring, and more.

By supporting Key to Change, you’re reaching out with a message of connection and care, and joining a community of helpers that every student needs.”
– Keith Thomas, Vice President of the Key to Change Board of Directors

Our Key Changemaker of the Month is Keith Thomas! Keith is a cellist, marketing consultant at Lenati, and our new board Vice President. Keith has over a decade of experience in community engagement as a member of the Da Camera Young Artists Program, principal cellist of the Longmont Symphony in Colorado, and most recently through the Teaching Artist program at the Seattle Symphony. Keith is a committed advocate for access and inclusion in classical music and is focused on working with underserved populations and students of color.

Keith joined our board in 2018 because he believes that excellent music instruction and mentorship are the key to transforming lives and communities in South King County.  If you believe in the power of music to inspire positive change in our community, join us now during our Season of Change Campaign as we work to raise $25,000 toward student scholarships.

Gifts of any size will all go toward providing students with the opportunities to pursue a world-class music education with weekly lessons, master classes taught by guest artists, performance opportunities, college preparation seminars, scholarships, new musical instruments, and more.

With drastic funding cuts to arts programs in South King County, your gift today is more critical than ever before to ensure that students in this region have the opportunity to study and grow through music. Join Keith and the rest of the Key to Change community as we work to empower students in South King County.

Together, we create the Key to Change.

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