About Us

Guitars not Guns, Inc.
is a California not-for-profit corporation founded by current CEO, Ray Nelson, and his wife Louise Nelson. On June 27, 2000, we became a federally exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. All donations are tax deductible. (Please visit the national organization’s website at www.GuitarsNotGuns.org

Since then, Guitars not Guns has grown significantly with a number of affiliates and chapters created across the United States and also Canada! The Arizona affiliate of Guitars not Guns was founded in October of 2013 by the board members listed below. Each one of us is immensely excited to be a part of this incredible organization and to have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of Arizona’s children.



President Ryan Countrymen
Vice President Melinda Frankel
Treasurer Faydra Romero
Board Member Tammie Evans
Community Relations Director Pablo Rodriguez
Board Member Leo Lambert

View the biographies of the Arizona board members

In the Beginning…

The founders of Guitars not Guns are Ray and Louise Nelson. They became foster parents in 1992 and it was through this experience that Ray decided to provide foster kids with guitars and lessons. He began asking friends and strangers for their used guitars to pass along to foster kids. This act of kindness became his passion and as a result of his actions, there are classrooms serving the foster community across the USA and in Canada.

GNG’s goal is to help stop violence in schools and on the streets by providing a music program for at-risk teens and other deserving children. We want to divert as many children as possible from the self-destructive behaviors of drugs, alcohol and crime connected to gang activity. By providing children and teens with guitars and lessons we hope to engage their creative potential. It’s all about helping underprivileged kids and teens.

Guitars not Guns is an all-volunteer organization. Our programs are provided at no cost to our students!

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