The founder of Fort Wayne-based Sweetwater Sound has announced a big donation to music students in the state’s largest school district. Chuck Surack and his wife, Lisa, have presented a $500,000 check and an additional pledge of 100 band and orchestra instruments to Fort Wayne Community Schools.
Surack serves as honorary chair of the ongoing "b instrumental" fundraising campaign that is seeking to drum up $3 million in donations for music programs in the city’s public school system. It will provide instruments for free to middle and high school students in need by allowing the Fort Wayne Community Schools Foundation to purchase up to 5,000 instruments over 12 years and pay for refurbishing and repairs. The program also includes instruction and enrichment opportunities.
Surack himself learned to play through instruction at school. "As a musician who got his start in FWCS music programs, I’ve experienced how important involvement in music education is to creating fully rounded and successful individuals," he said. "What I learned as a music student has sustained me throughout my life. Both in my business career and my personal life, music has been incredibly important. That’s why my wife Lisa and I are committed to this campaign to significantly increase the number of students involved in music at Fort Wayne Community Schools."
The couple is matching community donations through the "Chuck and Lisa Surack and Sweetwater Challenge." The district has also committed $1.5 million on top of the $3 million campaign to "b instrumental."