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Cambridge Audio USA names Merit School of Music as charity partner in SE1 campaign

In 2016, we debuted a product with an objective to make a positive difference. Our first pair of headphones, the SE1s, were sold with a pay-what-you-choose model, and 100% of proceeds were donated to our UK charity partner, Youth Music. When we opened our Chicago office in 2017, we wanted to continue this philanthropic mission and support the passion and need for music in our new home.

In 2017, we partnered with Music Unites, a leading non-profit charity organization supporting music education around the world. Music Unites partners with music stars, celebrity ambassadors, and music sponsors to transform inner-city landscapes and empower urban youth. Whether this is through free after-school programs or special workshops, Music Unites looks to raise academic awareness and help ready the next generation of musicians to achieve their future goals, whether it’s through live performances, music lessons, or workshops giving insight into the music industry.

Music Unites and Mali Nicole

Music Unites with musician Mali Nicole. (Source- Music Unites Facebook)

In 2018 we were thrilled to add Merit School of Music as a benefiting partner in the SE1 campaign. For nearly 40 years, the school has been providing music education to Chicago youth against the backdrop of limited, inconsistent funding for arts education in the city’s schools. The programs of Merit, most of which are provided to students at little or no cost, provide a safe space for both musical and personal development. The school helps give rise to new generations of civic leaders, and in many cases, is keeping children off the streets and away from potential danger.

Director of the Americas Gregg Chopper claims his attachment to Merit struck him as soon as he walked in the door. "When I first visited Merit, I was struck by the photos lining the walls of so many young students that didn’t go on to become famous musicians, but likely went on to be leaders in other fields, drawing from their experiences at the school,” Chopper says. “I knew then that Cambridge and Merit speak the same language and have the same values. It’s about music being the continuation of our natural language, and spreading that language, whether it’s through studying music or listening to music through high-quality audio equipment, is a powerful thing to be a part of.”


Charles Grode, Merit’s president and executive director, couldn't be more excited about what the partnership has to offer. “We’re honored to partner with Cambridge Audio, not just for this SE1 headphone campaign, but for a long-term partnership,” Grode says. “This new strategic relationship enables Merit to expand its publicity and fundraising efforts into new territory. We are exploring a variety of ways that Merit and Cambridge can join forces to expand the fascination and love of music among our youth, which helps them gain the self-confidence and other skills needed to be successful in music and in life.”

Keep an eye on our website and socials for more information on how these charities are transforming the world of music, and buy a pair of SE1 headphones to bring more life to their efforts.