Music for Life Institute

The information in this column was provided to MinistryWatch by the ministry itself. It was last updated 5/25/2021. To update the information in this column, please email:


Music for Life Institute's (MFLI) purpose is to help create new leadership for tomorrow's Africa. The children helped by MFLI are being trained to become quality leaders with vision and moral strength. MFLI wants to raise these African children to be leaders that are grounded in the love of God. The Institute educates many of these children up to the university or vocational school level. Several have received the prestigious Kisekka Foundation Scholarship, established by the Vice President of Uganda. The African Children's Choir (the Choir) is MFLI's major program. The Choir members have the additional benefit of international travel with the choir; this exposes them to a wide variety of people, places and perspectives.

The African Children's Choir is composed of African children, aged 7 to 10 years old. Many have lost one or both parents through the devastation of war, famine, and disease. They represent all the children of a continent and they demonstrate the potential of African children to become strong leaders for a better future in their land.

Contact information

Mailing address:
Music for Life Institute
PO Box 29690
Bellingham, WA 98228-1690


Phone: (877) 532-8651


Organization details

EIN: 311746269

CEO/President: Mr. Ray Barnett

Chairman: Mr. Ray Barnett

Board size: 4

Founder: Mr. Ray Barnett

Ruling year: 2001

Tax deductible: Yes

Fiscal year end: 03/31

Member of ECFA: No

Member of ECFA since:


Rev. Ray Barnett returned from Africa to North America determined to rally support for the hurting children in Africa, but people simply could not fully comprehend their needs. Therefore, Ray decided to bring the African children home to show the North American people the needs of these children. In 1984, a team of volunteers traveled to Uganda to obtain permission from their government to bring 30 children back to North America.

Today, Music for Life Institute (MFLI) cares for hundreds of needy, homeless African Children in an atmosphere of Christian love. In addition, MFLI provides literacy schools for many children in the community that do not live in one of the Institute's homes.

Mission statement

Statement of faith

Transparency grade


To understand our transparency grade, click here.

Financial efficiency ratings

Sector: Relief and Development

CategoryRatingOverall rankSector rank
Overall efficiency rating671 of 101055 of 84
Fund acquisition rating512 of 101244 of 84
Resource allocation rating796 of 101266 of 84
Asset utilization rating473 of 101040 of 84

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Balance sheet
Receivables, inventories, prepaids$186,735$162,494$84,066$96,599$17,751
Short-term investments$0$0$0$0$0
Other current assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total current assets$1,415,605$522,333$351,907$394,999$337,370
Long-term investments$0$0$0$0$0
Fixed assets$7,470$7,477$8,434$12,049$17,213
Other long-term assets$0$0$0$9,871$10,467
Total long-term assets$7,470$7,477$8,434$21,920$27,680
Total assets$1,423,075$529,810$360,341$416,919$365,050
Payables and accrued expenses$44,179$110,635$126,775$130,443$104,171
Other current liabilities$1,000$50,500$17,000$14,750$0
Total current liabilities$45,179$161,135$143,775$145,193$104,171
Due to (from) affiliates$0$0$0$0$0
Other long-term liabilities$0$0$0$0$0
Total long-term liabilities$0$0$0$0$0
Total liabilities$45,179$161,135$143,775$145,193$104,171
Net assets20202019201820172016
Without donor restrictions$1,342,526$286,800$216,566$271,726$260,879
With donor restrictions$35,370$81,875$0$0$0
Net assets$1,377,896$368,675$216,566$271,726$260,879
Revenues and expenses
Total contributions$2,898,551$1,807,359$1,957,553$2,155,110$1,514,922
Program service revenue$626,550$771,073$718,206$808,311$863,354
Membership dues$0$0$0$0$0
Investment income$0$0$0$0$0
Other revenue$121,336$742$0$0$0
Total other revenue$747,886$771,815$718,206$808,311$863,354
Total revenue$3,646,437$2,579,174$2,675,759$2,963,421$2,378,276
Program services$2,039,497$1,984,101$2,143,382$2,428,080$2,019,339
Management and general$401,047$357,833$503,423$457,129$305,587
Total expenses$2,637,216$2,427,065$2,730,919$2,952,574$2,331,427
Change in net assets20202019201820172016
Surplus (deficit)$1,009,221$152,109($55,160)$10,847$46,849
Other changes in net assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total change in net assets$1,009,221$152,109($55,160)$10,847$46,849


Raymond BarnettDirector$67,598
Suzanne NelsonVice President & Int'l Director$63,988

Compensation data as of: 3/31/2020

Response from ministry

No response has been provided by this ministry.

The information below was provided to MinistryWatch by the ministry itself. It was last updated 5/25/2021. To update the information below, please email:


In 1984, in the midst of Uganda's bloody civil war, human rights activist Ray Barnett was called on to help the many thousands of orphaned and starving children, abandoned and helpless to feed and protect themselves.

Realizing the enormity of the task Ray and his team came up with a unique approach. The only way to make a meaningful difference was to impact the lives of these children, one child at a time.

"Inspired by the singing of one small boy, we formed the first African Children's Choir to show the world that Africa's most vulnerable children have beauty, dignity and unlimited ability."

The first Choir was formed in 1984, selected from orphaned and vulnerable children in the Kampala and Luwero areas of Uganda. After the Choir was trained to perform and readied for living in new and different cultures, the children traveled from Uganda to tour amongst the North American Church communities.

They immediately impressed audiences with their vibrancy and outstanding musical talent. They quickly became a mouthpiece for the plight of the many thousands of vulnerable children like them in Uganda. The funds they earned through donations provided for their own support and education and more!

The proceeds of the first African Children's Choir tour also funded the building of an orphanage back in Kampala from which a second African Children's Choir was selected.

And so the story of the Choir's work began. In the early years, they would tour principally in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The proceeds of their tours, and the sponsorship support they would attract funded a growing program of establishing literacy schools to enable the very neediest children to get a foot up into proper education.

Meanwhile, the continuing care, education, and development of returning Choir children were assured through the proceeds of Choir tours and the generosity of sponsors and donors.

To date over a thousand vulnerable children have been through the Choir program and the funds they have generated have provided the opportunity of education and hope for many thousands like them in some of the most desperate and needy areas of Africa.

Program accomplishments

  • The African Children's Choir appeared with Wyclef Jean on The Late, Late Show, The Tonight Show, and the Ellen Degeneres Show.
  • They recorded a DVD on The John Lennon Educational Bus, and performed a concert with them at the NAMM Convention at the Anaheim Conference Center.
  • They sang with Rebecca St. James at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention.