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Meet Newell Hill of Keys 4/4 Kids in McKinley Park

Today we’d like to introduce you to Newell Hill.

Newell – please share your story with us.
I am the founder and current Fundraising/Program Director. I conceptualized the organization in 2000 after initiating MUSE, an after-school program in North Minneapolis that filled a gap in music and arts education for low-income youth. In order to fund program expenses, I began fixing and reselling donated pianos out of my parent’s garage. Eventually this fundraising activity grew into what we now know as Keys 4/4 Kids, Inc. (K44K).

Founded in 2004, Keys 4/4 Kids accepts, repairs, and sells donated pianos at discounted prices. Profits from piano sales support programs that inspire kids to believe in themselves through the arts. K44K currently has warehouse locations in Twin Cities, Chicago, and Kansas City markets and has an annual budget of 1.3M.

Profits from piano sales support three (3) programs that inspire kids to believe in themselves through the arts – Pianos on Parade, the Ellen Project, and the Piano Placement Program.

Pianos on Parade provides teachers with curriculum and resources to artistically transform an acoustic piano in the classroom. Once complete, pianos are installed in local parks and sidewalks, inspiring residents to engage with art, music, and one another.

The Ellen Project brings hope to children and their families in local hospitals. Kids have an opportunity to paint a piano, and hear uplifting music performed by local and national touring musicians.

The Piano Placement Program donates pianos to low-income students, families, and institutions that may not otherwise be able to afford a piano.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
No, it has not been a smooth ride, but it has been worth all the effort and I have always enjoyed what I do, even in the face of hardship.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Keys 4/4 Kids – what should we know?
As far as I know, we are the only company that accepts and utilizes donated pianos to help the community. We have a goal as a company to expand operations nationally. We have already begun offering our programs on a national level.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My parents, teachers, and all of the volunteers and staff that have helped to grow the organization.


  • Pianos start from $499 and include a 1-year warranty
  • Piano donations accepted (We provide a tax-deductible receipt)

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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