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Fender Elects Hamid “Gadget” Hopkins to Chairman of the Board for the Fender Music Foundation

Hamid “Gadget” Hopkins has been appointed Chairman of the Board for the Fender Music Foundation. West L.A. Music’s Senior Account Manager joined the board in June 2008 and is the second chairman in the foundation’s history. He replaces foundation founder Larry Thomas, who remains as an active and passionate board member.

“I am honored and humbled to have the opportunity to chair the Fender Music Foundation,” says Hopkins. “Music and the arts have never been more in need of all of our support. I can’t think of a better place to focus my energies and am excited by the prospect of helping more people with the opportunity to support music education.”

Thomas, founder of the music education charity, had served as Chairman since the foundation’s inception in 2005. At the time, the organization was named the Guitar Center Music Foundation, as Thomas had recently retired as co-CEO of Guitar Center Inc. Thomas is the current CEO of the Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC).

“We want to thank our outgoing Chairman, Larry Thomas, for his vision and his efforts in creating the foundation,” said longtime board member Allen Kepler, owner and President of Broadcast Architecture. “I have seen the impact of our supporters’ donations and Larry’s efforts to spread the gift of music. I know that this next chapter for our group will continue to carry Larry’s vision forward.”

Also voted onto the board at the foundation’s September board meeting were Bruce Ross, CFO of Robbins Brothers, returning to the board after a hiatus; Laurel Kaufman, CEO of Los Angeles Consulting Group; and three executives from FMIC – Director of Entertainment Marketing Del Breckenfeld, Senior Vice President of Marketing Fender® Brands Richard McDonald and Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications Jason Padgitt. According to board member JoAnn Kepler, “Fender Music Foundation board members represent a fantastic cross section of excellence in experience, commitment and fiery passion.”

Hopkins nominated Kaufman. “I have worked in a legal capacity in both the non-profit and entertainment fields,” Kaufman said. “Sitting on this board is giving me the exciting opportunity to combine both of those worlds to further the cause of championing the cause of music education. I am honored to have been considered for this role.”

Breckenfeld has worked with the foundation since its name changed at the beginning of 2009, getting guitars signed to help raise funds for the foundation and setting up new relationships. “I have worked for Fender Musical Instruments Corporation for over 15 years, and have witnessed firsthand our company’s strong commitment to supporting music education and the arts,” said Breckenfeld. “Throughout my tenure, I have personally been involved in so many entertainment-based fund-raisers supporting our music education initiatives. It is both an honor and a privilege for me to have the opportunity to be a part of such a wonderful foundation that values these same objectives.”

The Fender Music Foundation is a public nonprofit that awards musical instruments to music education programs across the United States. Most grant recipients are school music classrooms, after-school music programs and music therapy programs. Over the past few years, the Foundation has affected more than 35,000 people by donating instruments, equipment and auction items to more than 100 organizations.

“I am delighted to join as a board member of the Fender Music Foundation and to advocate the benefits of music in more people’s lives,” said Padgitt. “Since my earliest exposure to music, I have always appreciated the power it can have to positively impact individuals, communities and entire cultures, so I am very much looking forward to contributing to that cause in a meaningful way.”

Music education also resonates strongly with McDonald. “The power of music is undeniable,” he said. “Its effectiveness in therapeutic, developmental and social environments is simply amazing to witness. Music makes a positive difference. The mission of the Fender Music Foundation is filling a serious need in America today. I am excited and honored to be asked to participate.”

To learn more about the foundation or to make a donation, visit www.fendermusicfoundation.org.

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