Stephen O’Neill’s Ideas…Boom! Bam! Pow!

Creating Music through partnership with inner-city schools. And, by exploring a non-profit or mixed profit business structure.

Empathic Design


There is a large market of children being served in inner-city schools. Inner city schools often struggle to meet educational outcomes and maintain safety of environment. Involvement in extra curricular activities such as music could support students with positive outlets for their energies. It could also improve educational outcomes by enhancing creativity and teaching the process of innovation.

The Dallas Public School District in particular has over 150,000 students and a budget of over 1.6 billion dollars. And, reputedly, the Dallas Independent School District has one of the highest levels of poverty in the country. An article notes, “specifically, 88.2 percent of the Dallas district’s students were eligible for free- or reduced-price meals, 83.5 percent for free meals”.

Taken from:

This business opportunity is a chance to make money, while also potentially having a significant community impact- social entrepreneurship if you will.

Unsolved Needs from Data:

There are a high number of students living in poverty in the Dallas Independent School District

The potential market is high

A non-profit would have the ability to not only generate revenues from services, but also through grants and other donations

Reflection and Analysis:

There is a market for music services in the Dallas Independent School District. And, the non-profit status has many advantages. However, the non-profit would not be able to pay out its profits to an owner the same way a for-profit would. However, the non-profit could still pay a salary to the Executive Director and/or other staff of the non-profit.

This company could potentially use a blended model, such as described here:

Additionally, providing music services and/or rentals to these students would have significant potential social impact.

Here is a link to many (by many I mean 8) examples of non-profits providing these types of music services.

Brainstorming for Solutions:

Establish a 501c3 to provide music services and instruments to Dallas Independent School District and/or other existing Agencies in Dallas.

Target those youth at-risk

Consider a blended business model with a for-profit linked to a non-profit. Perhaps have music rental as for-profit but other attached services funnel through the non-profit.

Establish outcome measure or impact measures to article the need for your services to potential funders and supporters.

Consider partnering with an existing Agency and run the music services/rentals as an adjunct to the existing Agency.

Developing Prototypes:

Models for these types of services already exist. It would be wise to pilot the program on a smaller scale in one or maybe two schools and collect data and feedback from participants.

The Four P’s of Marketing


A music service (lessons, performances, support) and rental non-profit or blended (for/non) profit business targeted towards the students of the Dallas Independent School District.


Dallas, TX. Specifically, the Dallas Independent School District


Could use a sliding scale or blended fee model. Supplement costs with grants or government dollars. Could consider charging for rentals and giving services away or vice versa.

Could also charge fee to the School system or to whatever Agency was a partner.

Because of the high level of poverty in the district/area funding streams and mechanisms would have to be considered carefully.


A great way to market this product/service would be to reach out to the school system for integration into the classrooms. Additionally, it would be vital to make sure parents had access to information so that they could request schools bring this program into school systems or other organizations where it was not already present.


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