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Giving Hope Through Music

Local Musician's Nonprofit Brings Joy To Shelters

Compassion is one of the greatest of human traits. Borne from love and tempered by experience, it arises when people feel the pain of others and want to help ease their suffering.

People react to compassion in many different ways.

For some, compassion is expressed through donating time and money to causes they deem special.

For others, it is a way of life, constantly driving them to do more and more to help out brothers and sisters in need. They live for opportunities to serve.

Steven Cade is one such individual.

By profession, Steven is a Nashville-based country music singer and songwriter. Since entering the music world, he has performed at venues across the country, both as a solo artist and in conjunction with such well-known stars as Blake Shelton, Eric Church, Shania Twain and Darius Rucker.

Along the way, Steven has also accumulated a number of accolades, including receiving the Modern Country  Artist of the Year award from the Grand Old Opry, being inducted into the California Music Hall of Fame and being considered for nine Grammy nominations.

Given his success, one might think that Steven was born for success. However, his road has not always been an easy one, and he is no stranger to hard times.

“Several years ago, my family and I found ourselves homeless for a while, and it was both a frightening and introspective experience,” says Steven. “With the Grace of God and a lot of hard work and sacrifices, we were able to climb out of our despair and find our way to a better place. But despite things being better now, I will never forget the feelings of hopelessness and helplessness that I felt when we were displaced.”

After getting back on his feet, Steven resolved that he wanted to do something to help other families who are facing homeless situations. After exploring several options, he created Giving Guitars, a nonprofit dedicated to bringing hope and inspiration to others through the power of music.

“At Giving Guitars, we visit with homeless shelters to learn about their mission and challenges, and to help them address their needs,” says Steven. “While there, I meet with the residents, tell them about our organization, perform a few songs and then present them with a guitar and a training video. After we leave, the residents are able to share the guitar, bringing the joy of music to them when they need it the most.”

The inspiration for Giving Guitars came from the practice of music therapy, which is routinely used to treat the symptoms of such maladies as cancer and PTSD. The mission of the nonprofit was further influenced by two key individuals – Steven’s wife Kellee and his friend, philanthropist and author, Brent Yates.

“After meeting Brent at one of my performances, I found out that we have similar interests in helping displaced individuals,” says Steven. “After Kelley came up with the idea of inspiring through instruments by donating to the less fortunate, Brent helped us raise the funds needed to establish Giving Guitars.”

Shelter selection and visitation is carefully coordinated with Steven’s music touring schedule.

“When I am touring for my live shows, I always ask the venues about the shelters in that city to see if I can make a connection,” says Steven. “Many facilities are referred to us by word of mouth. However, shelters can also apply for a visit through our website. We are open to visiting any site that is open to having a public figure come into the facility.”

While onsite, Steven and his team also create videos of the visit to help shelter officials and local media raise public awareness. Each video is carefully crafted to highlight shelter needs, while maintaining resident anonymity.

To date, the Giving Guitars team has visited 67 shelters across 15 states and donated over 100 guitars in the process. This summer, Steven and his team will be visiting shelters in several foreign countries as part of his planned Europe Tour, with their first donation scheduled for a facility in Sweden.

Although Steven is the face of the organization, Giving Guitars is truly a family affair.

“My family is a very strong part of this mission and they are typically with me on the shelter visits,” says Steven. “Giving Guitars offers them a deep perspective into some of the issues that other people are facing, and the challenges that come with homelessness.”

Like most nonprofits, Giving Guitars is always in need of volunteers and donations to help further its mission. Companies and individuals who wish to support Giving Guitars can contact the organization through its website at

Giving Guitars

625 Bakers Bridge Avenue, Suite 105,

Franklin, TN 37067


"I have always had a deep concern for homelessness in our country, and my family and I had a brief period in time where we were displaced. But by the grace of God, we are not there anymore. That experience gave me a very deep perspective on the challenges of being homeless, and I am committed to helping solve the problem."

Steven Cade