top of page

"...learning to play a string instrument is a transformative experience that advances children's lives."

About Us


The Noel Pointer Foundation (NPF) was incorporated in 1995 under the direction of Ms. Chinita Pointer, wife of the late Grammy nominated jazz violinist Noel Pointer. In 1998, the Noel Pointer Foundation created a string music education program for 18 students at Public School 44. Fulfilling an incredible need, they were soon asked to do the same for many other schools.


The program currently exists in over 40 different New York City Schools. Due to the successes of this program, NPF began offering music enrichment programs at their headquarters in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. In 1999 NPF instituted the Summer String Program, serving an average of 200 pupils per summer. In 2000, NPF created more opportunities for inner-city youth by opening the Saturday Strings program. The NPF Youth Orchestra, formed in 2008, performs with famous musical icons and ensembles such as Mos Def, Mark O’Connor, Strings of Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Philharmonic and Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. In 2010, NPF increased personalized attention by providing more private instruction through an After-School Strings Program. Since the Foundation’s inception, NPF has served over 35,000 New York City public school children.


Founded in 1995, the Noel Pointer Foundation (NPF) is a not-for-profit that dramatically enriches the lives of children by developing string music education programs for under-served communities in New York City. Through professional training, performance opportunities and college placement assistance, NPF enhances a student’s cultural and academic experience, infusing them with a positive sense of who they are and a boundless sense of what they can become.


Noel Pointer was a world-renowned, Grammy-nominated jazz violinist and composer. At age 13, he made his solo debut performing Vivaldi with the Symphony of the New World Orchestra, followed by guest solo appearances with the Chicago Chamber Orchestra and Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He began playing jazz violin while a student at New York City‘s High School of Music and Art. While attending Manhattan School of Music, Pointer worked as a New York session musician. By age 19, his experience as a free-lance musician included continuous work in The Apollo Theatre Orchestra, The Unlimited Orchestra, The Westbury Music Fair Orchestra, The Radio City Music Hall Symphony, The Love Unlimited Orchestra (US Tour), The Dance Theater of Harlem Orchestra, The Symphony of the New World Orchestra, and the pit orchestras of several Broadway shows, like Dreamgirls.


In 1981 Noel was nominated for the Grammy for Best R&B Instrumental Track. Pointer’s reputation as a noted jazz musician and literary advocate garnered him honorary citizenship in cities across the United States. He received special citations from the United States Congress, the US Congressional Black Caucus, the African National Congress (ANC), and numerous other civic and private organizations. He served as a music advisory panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the United States Information Agency (USIA).

With all his esteem, Noel had affection for audiences in inner-city communities, where he loved to perform and bring his unique sounds of jazz.  He also greatly enjoyed working with children and families.  Noel believed that learning to play a string instrument is a transformative experience that advances children’s lives.


The Noel Pointer Foundation keeps his legacy, spirit and dream alive.


Listen to Ms. Pointer's interview with Nina del Rio
for iHeartRadio as they discuss our program! 

IHRnewVerticalMay2012 (1).png
Notable News



Chinita Pointer

Chief Executive Officer

Nicole Harney, Desiree Layne

Finance & Human Resources


Karen Spolar

Development Lead

Becky Kinard

Development Officer​

Amy Tcheupdjian

Program & Artistic Director​

Krystle Henninger

Office Manager

Tandra Smith

Communications Associate​

Dr. Keith White, Esq.

Board Chair

Dr. Shoshana Tyson

Board Treasurer

Margaret Cassetto

Board Secretary

Danai Pointer-DeLeon

Board Member

LaRue Brathwaite

Board Member

Tracey Capers

Board Member

Olive Harney

Board Member 

Miki Herrick

Board Member

Madeline Kaye

Board Member

Ayanna D. Oliver-Taylor

Board Member

William D. Pointer III

Board Member

Chinita J. Pointer

Board Member

Crystal Granderson-Reid

Board Member

Preeti Sodhi

Board Member 


NPF's programs are made possible with the support of the National Endowment for the Arts, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs with special thanks to Commissioner Laurie Cumbo, the New York City Council, the New York City Department of Education, the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development, the New York State Council on the Arts, and a big thank you to Pastor A.R. Bernard, Sr..

The Noel Pointer Foundation thanks its corporate and philanthropic partners including The Altman Foundation, Christian Cultural Center, Con Edison, The Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation, D'Addario Foundation, Jean & Louis Dreyfus Foundation, The Mosaic Network and Fund in The New York Community Trust, New York Life Foundation, The Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation, Tiger Baron Foundation, Find Your Light Foundation, Richmond County Savings Foundation, The Staten Island Foundation, and WQXR.

2024 Sponsor Logos Tall 2-29-24.jpg

Thanks a Million!


Every year NPF String Music Program is supported by incredibly generous individual, corporate and not-for-profit funders. With their consideration and support we are able to fund groundbreaking programs in the arts such as our community youth orchestras and Summer Music Intensive Program.  We are also able to provide scholarships and financial aid to many families based on merit and need.  Without our funders we would not be able to fulfill our mission to provide these services to children who would not otherwise have the opportunity to receive quality music lessons.  Without their consideration we would not be able to continue Empowering Children...One Note At A Time.

Want to be one of our supporters or make a tax-deductible donation? Donate today!


VIRTUOSO ($100-$249):

Giovanna Acquilano

Joan Beckford

Cynthia Wells

Nina Rodgers

Michael Lenihan

Robert Guglielmo

Samuel Gardner

Selaelo Ramokgopa

M YM Campbell

Madrid Family

Dennis McNeil

Preeti Sodhi

Paul Parkhill

Dorothy and Peter Brooke

Anne Shapiro

Patricia Craig

Sheneikwa Wilkinson

Faye Smith

Jennifer Silverstone

Mellini Kantayya

Cozbi A. Cabrera

Cynthia Y. Cummings

Arlene Freeman

Wendy Feuer

Charles Critchlow and Cecile S. Hanft

Robin K. Sheares

Dr. Delia Loney

SPONSOR ($5,000+)

Pastor A.R. Bernard, Sr.


BENEFACTOR ($2,500-$4,999):


PATRON ($1,000-$2,499):

Sam Ellis

Crystal Granderson-Reid

The Offensend Family Foundation

Tracey Capers

Ayanna Oliver-Taylor

Chinita J. Pointer

Deborah Knight

L+M Development Partners


CONDUCTOR ($500-$999):

Khadhyja Taylor

Shoshana Tyson

Lauretta Joseph


CONCERTMASTER ($250-$499):

Clara Alston

Yvonne Jean-Jerome

Delphine and Nathan Selles-Alvarez

Zoe Symons

Scott Willoughby

Gail Burney

Keith White

Ashley Firestone

Dan Ross

Angeli Rasbury

Lester Young

Danai DeLeon

Tamara Clements

Mark K. Schonfeld



Do you have a passion for teaching or service?  Like working with children?  Then join the NPF team and work alongside exceptional people who lead, learn, and teach others.  We're always looking for great people so challenge yourself to grow beyond your expectations.  Apply today! 


From assisting the teachers in the classroom, to leading a game of dodgeball at the playground, our interns are very involved with our students. Interested in interning and/or volunteering?  Contact us for an application.


If you are interested in becoming a Teaching Artist or Intern, or any other current openings at the Noel Pointer Foundation, please send a cover letter and  résumé to

bottom of page