Eddie Van Halen Leaves ‘Transformative’ Music Education Donation of at Least $1 Million
Eddie Van Halen left an at least $1 million donation to the Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation (MHOF), an organization that helps kids get music education in schools throughout the United States, as the foundation revealed on Wednesday (April 20).
The seven-figure endowment from the late Van Halen guitarist, who died at 65 in 2020, will be "transformative" for the program, a press release explained. The precise sum wasn't identified.
Eddie Van Halen spent over a decade maintaining a close relationship with MHOF, and its aim to help students develop a love for music led him to leave a percentage of his estate to the organization in his will. The donation will equip MHOF to fulfill requests from a larger number of schools, add employees to its staff, improve its technology and more.
On Wednesday, MHOF president and CEO Felice Mancini said, "Eddie's support and friendship over the years meant the world to us and to his fans. His passion for music and our work created a strong bond, which is evident in his extraordinary bequest."
She added, "To know how much our foundation meant to Eddie is intensely humbling and gratifying to all of us. We know Eddie's family is confident his powerful legacy and values live on through our efforts."
Wolfgang Van Halen, Eddie's 31-year-old son and a pro musician in his own right, helped facilitate the donation. He underscored his father's dedication to MHOF.
"The work they do for music education was always something that was important to my father," Wolf said. "[MHOF] are champions for our musicians of the future, and it is my privilege to continue supporting that mission and carrying on my pop's legacy."
Wolf, after replacing bassist Michael Anthony in Van Halen in 2006, played in the influential hard rock band until Eddie's death. Subsequently, Van Halen quietly disbanded. Last year, Wolf released his debut album with alt-rockers Mammoth WVH.
MHOF, founded in 1996 by composer Michael Kamen, was inspired by the movie Mr. Holland’s Opus, in which a music teacher impacts a generation of students.
The organization promotes music and arts in schools by donating instruments and equipment to music programs in school districts across the U.S. In 26 years, thousands of instruments have been donated to schools across the country. Learn more here.