Jeff Peterson Wins Jefferson Award for Music Therapy Advocacy

Jeff Peterson and a guitar posing for the Jefferson Award. We are excited to announce that President and Founder of the Peterson Family Foundation, Jeff Peterson, won the Jefferson Award from San Francisco CBS-TV! He was honored for his work in establishing and promoting music therapy for children in Bay Area hospitals. The Jefferson Award is bestowed upon individuals making a difference in their neighborhood.

Jeff’s support of music therapy began in 2013 at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in San Francisco, with an initial contribution of two iPads that were donated to the facility’s music therapy program. But that was just the beginning; as Jeff learned more about music therapy, he became increasingly involved and provided generous funding to sustain the program. The foundation now supports two full-time music therapists at UCSF Benioff, and has started music therapy programs at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford.

Jeff’s efforts to promote and build music therapy programs, not only in the San Francisco Bay Area, but beyond, have directly affected countless children and their families, such as mom Kristin Chaset, whose daughter received music therapy during her stay in the infant intensive care nursery.

As Kristin explains, “My daughter’s response to music is immediate. Her heart rate slows, she relaxes her body, and her breathing becomes less labored. One look at the guitar and her eyes light up. Use that guitar to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and the girl’s heart is yours. According to one of my daughter’s doctors, Twinkle Twinkle is more effective calming her than the strongest sedative! Music therapy is just as much for parents and caregivers. The hospital can be a scary, sterile and unforgiving place. Music therapy softens the edges, calms the nerves, and refocuses.”

Thank you to CBS for honoring Jeff with this award! Visit the Jefferson Award page on the station’s website to learn more about it; please also learn more about music therapy here, and visit our contributions page if you’d like to support these types of programs in hospitals locally, nationally and globally!

About the Peterson Family Foundation

The Peterson Family Foundation was founded in 2003 to enhance, restore and improve the quality of life for all human beings. They believe every child undergoing medical treatment has the right to receive music therapy as an integrated component to their medical care. Their primary mission is to fund, create, and establish pediatric music therapy programs in children’s hospitals across the globe. Learn more at