Music for Life Institute

The information on this page was last updated 3/11/2022. If you see errors or omissions, please email: [email protected]


The African Children's Choir is composed of African children, aged 7 to 10 years old. The Choir is a program of a larger international organization called Music for Life, which provides thousands of impoverished children throughout Africa with the education, discipleship and leadership skills needed to rise above their conditions so they can bring positive, lasting change to their families, communities and countries.

Contact information

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


Phone: (877) 532-8651

Email: [email protected]

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

Our mission is to help Africa's most vulnerable children today, so they can help Africa tomorrow. The children in the Choir represent the potential of the thousands of children in Africa who are trapped in the cycle of poverty.

Statement of faith

We believe:

The Holy Scriptures as originally given by God divinely inspired, infallible, entirely trustworthy and the only supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct.

The one God, eternally existent Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Who created man by a direct, immediate act.

Our Lord Jesus Christ, God manifest in the flesh, His virgin birth, His sinless human life, His divine miracles, His ascension, His mediatory work, and His personal return in power and glory.

The salvation of lost and sinful man through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ by faith apart from works, and regeneration by the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the believer is enabled to live a holy life to witness and work for the Lord Jesus Christ.

The unity in the Spirit of all true believers, the Church, the body of Christ.

The resurrection of both the saved and the lost: they that are saved unto the resurrection of life, and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.

Donor confidence score

Show donor confidence score details

Transparency grade


To understand our transparency grade, click here.

Financial efficiency ratings

Sector: Relief and Development

CategoryRatingOverall rankSector rank
Overall efficiency rating628 of 103451 of 85
Fund acquisition rating552 of 103648 of 85
Resource allocation rating782 of 103665 of 85
Asset utilization rating411 of 103436 of 85

Financial ratios

Funding ratiosSector median20202019201820172016
Return on fundraising efforts Return on fundraising efforts =
Fundraising expense /
Total contributions
Fundraising cost ratio Fundraising cost ratio =
Fundraising expense /
Total revenue
Contributions reliance Contributions reliance =
Total contributions /
Total revenue
Fundraising expense ratio Fundraising expense ratio =
Fundraising expense /
Total expenses
Other revenue reliance Other revenue reliance =
Total other revenue /
Total revenue
Operating ratiosSector median20202019201820172016
Program expense ratio Program expense ratio =
Program services /
Total expenses
Spending ratio Spending ratio =
Total expenses /
Total revenue
Program output ratio Program output ratio =
Program services /
Total revenue
Savings ratio Savings ratio =
Surplus (deficit) /
Total revenue
Reserve accumulation rate Reserve accumulation rate =
Surplus (deficit) /
Net assets
General and admin ratio General and admin ratio =
Management and general expense /
Total expenses
Investing ratiosSector median20202019201820172016
Total asset turnover Total asset turnover =
Total expenses /
Total assets
Degree of long-term investment Degree of long-term investment =
Total assets /
Total current assets
Current asset turnover Current asset turnover =
Total expenses /
Total current assets
Liquidity ratiosSector median20202019201820172016
Current ratio Current ratio =
Total current assets /
Total current liabilities
Current liabilities ratio Current liabilities ratio =
Total current liabilities /
Total current assets
Liquid reserve level Liquid reserve level =
(Total current assets -
Total current liabilities) /
(Total expenses / 12)
Solvency ratiosSector median20202019201820172016
Liabilities ratio Liabilities ratio =
Total liabilities /
Total assets
Debt ratio Debt ratio =
Debt /
Total assets
Reserve coverage ratio Reserve coverage ratio =
Net assets /
Total expenses


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 3/11/2022. To update the information below, please email: [email protected]


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