Playing for Change is a multimedia music project, created by the American producer and sound engineer Mark Johnson with his Timeless Media Group, that seeks to inspire, connect, and bring peace to the world through music. Playing For Change also created a separate non-profit organization called the Playing For Change Foundation, which builds music schools for children around the world.
In 2005, Mark Johnson was walking in Santa Monica, California, when he heard the voice of Roger Ridley (now deceased) singing "Stand By Me."  Roger had so much soul and conviction in his voice, and Mark approached him about performing "Stand By Me" as a Song Around The World. Roger agreed, and when Mark returned with recording equipment and cameras he asked Roger, "With a voice like yours, why are you singing on the streets?" Roger replied, "Man I’m in the Joy business, I come out to be with the people." Ever since that day, the Playing For Change crew has traveled the world recording and filming musicians, creating Songs Around The World, and building a global family.
Creating Songs Around The World inspired the PFC crew to unite many of the greatest musicians they met throughout their journey through the creation of the Playing For Change Band. These musicians come from many different countries and cultures, but through music they speak the same language. The PFC Band is now touring the world and spreading the message of love and hope to audiences everywhere.
The founders of Playing For Change created the Playing For Change Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to building music and art schools for children around the world, and creating hope and inspiration for the future of our planet.
The Playing for Change Foundation is a non-profit organization 501(c)3, dedicated to creating and supporting music schools, principally in developing countries. Three music schools and a total of twelve music programs have been created since 2008:
In 2011, the Playing For Change Foundation established an annual Playing For Change Day. The goal of Playing For Change Day is to "unite a global community through the power of music to affect positive social change". In 2012, the PFC Day consisted of over 330 events across 52 countries and helped raise over $150,000 for the Playing For Change Foundation, and in 2014, PFC Day saw over 400 events in 60 countries. It is held on the Saturday nearest the United Nations' International Day of Peace, which takes place each year on Sept. 21. In 2015, Playing for Change Day was celebrated on September 19. The sixth-annual Playing for Change Day will be September 24, 2016.
In 2013, the Foundation introduced the Stand by Me Scholarship program, allowing people to sponsor a child to learn music for an entire year. Scholarships are need-based and are given to children who could not participate otherwise. Donors can either make a one-time gift to fund a student, or set up monthly contributions.