Music for Life Institute

The information on this page was last updated 1/12/2023. If you see errors or omissions, please email: [email protected]


The African Children's Choir® program promotes the dignity and unlimited ability of the African child around the world, being a voice for the millions of suffering children who cannot speak for themselves. The program provides for the children's well being and quality education, utilizing the transformative power of music.

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: Ray Barnett

Chairman: Ray Barnett

Board size: 7

Founder: 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.

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Financial efficiency ratings

Sector: Relief and Development

This ministry has not been rated.

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Balance sheet
Receivables, inventories, prepaids$0$77,107$0$0$0
Short-term investments$0$0$0$0$0
Other current assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total current assets$0$436,946$4,959$4,959$4,904
Long-term investments$0$0$0$0$0
Fixed assets$0$7,477$265,569$269,006$272,618
Other long-term assets$0$85,387$0$0$0
Total long-term assets$0$92,864$265,569$269,006$272,618
Total assets$0$529,810$270,528$273,965$277,522
Payables and accrued expenses$0$110,635$4,505$6,069$6,069
Other current liabilities$0$50,500$0$0$0
Total current liabilities$0$161,135$4,505$6,069$6,069
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$0$161,135$4,505$6,069$6,069
Net assets20202019201820172016
Without donor restrictions$0$286,800$266,023($1,110)($1,165)
With donor restrictions$0$81,875$0$269,006$272,618
Net assets$0$368,675$266,023$267,896$271,453
Revenues and expenses
Total contributions$156$2,475,804$6,260$32,974$51,952
Program service revenue$0$102,628$0$0$0
Membership dues$0$0$0$0$0
Investment income$296,407$742$0$0$0
Other revenue$4,500$0$11,220$0$0
Total other revenue$300,907$103,370$11,220$0$0
Total revenue$301,063$2,579,174$17,480$32,974$51,952
Program services$4,183$1,984,523$15,328$33,171$6,572
Management and general$1,321$357,411$4,025$3,360$2,906
Total expenses$5,504$2,427,065$19,353$36,531$9,478
Change in net assets20202019201820172016
Surplus (deficit)$295,559$152,109($1,873)($3,557)$42,474
Other changes in net assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total change in net assets$295,559$152,109($1,873)($3,557)$42,474


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 1/12/2023. 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