Application Deadline

The application deadline for the 2015 Grant Cycle is August 1, 2014.  Click for details.

2013 Grants

“Bluegrass Innovator” Grant Recipients For 2013

Bluegrass Foundation grants for the coming year have been named in honor of two legendary contributors to the genre, both who passed away in 2012: banjo player Earl Scruggs, a member of the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame; and California event producer Warren Hellman, a recipient of the IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award.

On September 27, 2012, the Board of Directors for the Foundation for Bluegrass Music announced that four projects will receive a total of $8,000 in grants in 2013.

Read More


Foundation for Bluegrass Music Announces Grants to Honor Doug Dillard and Doc Watson

by Tim Stafford

The world of bluegrass music lost two very important musicians in 2012, Mr. Doug Dillard and Mr. Arthel “Doc” Watson. The Foundation for Bluegrass Music will be funding grants in their honor this year and has set June 30, 2013 as the deadline to apply for these resources.

Along with his brother Rodney, Mitch Jayne and Dean Webb, Salem, Missouri native
Doug Dillard Doug Dillardwas a founding member of The Dillards, an iconic bluegrass group who introduced the music to millions of listeners as “The Darlings” on The Andy Griffith Show.  His driving banjo style influenced countless fledgling pickers, including Alan Munde, John McEuen and Steve Martin.  He later became a pioneer of the country rock genre as well through his collaboration with ex-Byrds frontman Gene Clark before leading his own band.

More than any other person, Arthel “Doc” Watson is responsible for the creation of the style of lead guitar playing known as flatpicking, an integral part of contemporary bluegrass, although Doc never Doc Watsonregarded himself as a bluegrass musician and made incalculable contributions to many forms of traditional American music.  Watson first burst on the folk music revival scene in the 1960s, and his impact on modern flatpickers such as Clarence White, Tony Rice, Dan Crary, Bryan Sutton and so many more is indelible.  Blind since infancy, Doc refused to let his lack of sight become a hindrance.   When President Bill Clinton presented Watson with the National Medal of Arts in 1997, he said, “There may not be a serious, committed baby boomer alive who didn’t at some point in his or her youth try to spend a few minutes at least trying to learn to pick a guitar like Doc Watson.”

A fund of $10,000 has been earmarked to support public projects in memory of Doug Dillard and Arthel “Doc” Watson. Of special interest are bluegrass music-related projects and programs that involve education or youth. This is a competitive application process and candidates must meet the Foundation’s Grant Application Guidelines. Grants awarded will be announced during IBMA World of Bluegrass week, September 24-28, 2013, with funds available after January 1, 2014.

Donations to the Foundation for these and related efforts are welcomed in any denomination, and these grants will be funded regardless of donations received.

The Foundation for Bluegrass Music is a non-profit (501c3) organization created to serve as an “umbrella” under which funds may be placed and disbursed to support educational, literary and artistic activities related to bluegrass music, of public benefit. Examples of programs that can grow under this umbrella include Bluegrass in the Schools (grants, workshops, programs); academic conferences; literary works and related efforts; public artistic presentation of an educational nature; historic preservation; and other works of a charitable nature. For more info, contact us by email or write to The Foundation for Bluegrass Music; 608 W Iris Drive; Nashville, TN 37204.

Click Here for a grant application form.

For immediate release: November 1, 2012
Contact: Nancy Cardwell, 615-256-3222,

Foundation Announces “Bluegrass Innovator” Grant Recipients For 2013 

On September 27, 2012, the Board of Directors for the Foundation for Bluegrass Music announced that four projects will receive a total of $8,000 in grants in 2013.

The educational program at The Freight and Salvage, a legendary Berkeley, CA venue for bluegrass and acoustic music, will include year-round classes in six-week sessions and one-time workshops. Classes will be led by local or visiting musicians. Previous teachers include Mike Marshall, Darol Anger, Laurie Lewis, Bill Evans, Avram Siegel and Eric Thompson. Workshops and classes at the Berkeley Society for the Preservation of Traditional Music are open to all ages, and a Fiddlekids summer camp and year-round workshops for young people are also available. 

The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail has a history of partnering with musicians, venues, and schools to promote and preserve the traditional music of Southwest Virginia. The grant will fund the creation of an artists roster of musicians willing to present quality bluegrass performances in the region’s schools. The Crooked Road will promote artists and music programs to schools throughout the 19-county region, and implement at least 6 performances in 2013, reaching more than 3,000 students.

The project organized by the Durango Bluegrass Meltdown, a festival in Durango, CO, will expand the current Kids Program from 11 events over one weekend (9 Bluegrass in the Schools presentations, 1 Kids Bluegrass Workshop and 1 Kids Bluegrass Jam Session), to a total of 28 events hosted over the course of a year (7 additional school presentations, 5 additional workshops, and 5 additional jam sessions). Hosting multiple events throughout the year will increase awareness and appreciation of bluegrass music in the region, with approximately 3,000 young people and 200 adults benefiting.

Clay County, WV was once a small, vibrant bluegrass community with music instruction in its six schools. But due to a severely depressed economy, all music programs except one have been eliminated. The Bluegrass Foundation grant will revitalize music in local schools through a blend of Guitars in the Classroom teacher training, song-leading and playing, and mentorship by community players, led by the last music teacher in the county. The county’s 2,000 students will be included in after-school music clubs, daily classroom music integration, and assemblies. Twenty-four teachers and volunteers will be trained to lead music in K-12 classrooms and after-school programs.

Bluegrass Foundation grants for 2013 have been named in honor of two legendary contributors to the genre, both who passed away in 2012: banjo player Earl Scruggs, a member of the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame; and California event producer Warren Hellman, a recipient of the IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award. Qualifying for a grant is a competitive process, and candidates must meet the Foundation’s Grant Application Guidelines.

 The 2014 grant process is expected to open in summer of 2013.  Official announcements and deadlines will be posted when they are known.


Origin and Purpose: The Foundation for Bluegrass Music, Inc. (the “Foundation”) is a non-profit charitable organization created in 2007 to serve as an “umbrella” under which funds can be placed and disbursed to support educational, literary, artistic and historic preservation activities of public benefit. The Foundation distributes funds to fulfill its mission. The Foundation has a broad, flexible purpose providing support to a wide variety of initiatives.

The Foundation for Bluegrass Music recognizes the need for flexibility in addressing needs and opportunities. In evaluating applications the Foundation for Bluegrass Music gives consideration to the following factors, among others:

  • Does the program or project directly involve bluegrass music?
  • Does the program or project address a priority need of or opportunity facing the bluegrass music community? What is its nature and scope and the number of people served by this project?
  • Does the program or project duplicate any other existing initiative?
  • Will the program or project have a significant impact on a need or opportunity in the bluegrass music community, what outcome will be achieved, and how will it be measured?
  • Does the program or project have a demonstrated sound financial plan? The income and expense budget for the grant and balance sheets and income statements for the entire organization (for the two most recently completed fiscal years or pro forma statements if newly organized) MUST accompany the application, together with the most recent Form 990 for the applicant as filed with the Internal Revenue Service.
  • Will this grant constitute matching funds?
  • After this program or project is completed, how will funding continue? If not funded, what is the effect?
  • Does the program or project have a broad base of support such as volunteer involvement, public participation, and/or collaboration with other organizations? Please elaborate on these issues.

Restriction: The Foundation generally makes grants to non-profit organizations with 501(c) (3) status and qualified governmental agencies such as public schools and colleges. Grants are not awarded in the following areas: projects which do not primarily involve bluegrass music, annual fund raising, organizational endowment funds, deficit financing, grants to be paid directly to individuals, or for sectarian purposes.

Procedures: As a general rule, an entity can only receive one grant per calendar year. The Foundation does not generally award multi-year grants. All proposal applications should include the Foundation’s “Grant Application Cover Page,” and applicants should submit six copies of their proposal on 8 ½” x 11” paper printed on one side only plus one digital copy which may be sent as an email attachment or on a CD. The Grant Application Cover Page is available on our website (download below). Hand written applications will not be accepted. Materials should not be bound, inserted in protective sleeves or prepared in other types of notebook form except with a single staple. Invest your time in content rather than presentation.

Applications will be acknowledged upon receipt. Those ineligible under the restrictions listed above will be denied without further consideration. Those eligible for consideration will be assigned to a board or staff member for review, further investigation, and presentation at a board meeting at which grant applications are considered. Eligible applicants will be notified of the board’s decision to fund at the requested amount, fund at a lesser amount, deny, or defer for future consideration.

When a grant check is cashed, the grantee is obligated to use it for the purpose given in the application. Grants awarded to entities which are not 501(c) (3) organizations will be paid to a qualifying fiscal agent organization, or directly to the vendor (such as an educational institution, travel provider, or equipment supplier). Grant recipients are required to acknowledge the funding support of The Foundation for Bluegrass Music in project publicity and any printed or other media materials generated by the project in accordance with the Foundation’s policy for use of its name, logo or mark. Grant recipients are required to file a written report describing the use of the funds after the project/program is completed or nine months after the grant has been received, whichever comes first. Subsequent applications will not be considered until the final report is received.

Application Information: Beginning in 2011, there will be an annual general grant request application deadline of August 15 for projects planned for the following calendar year. 

Please include the following information in your proposal and compile your Grant Application in the order set forth below. The narrative should not exceed two single-sided pages (not including the financial information). Please use at least 11-point type font with 1” margins.

  1. Application cover page (downloadable form is available below)
  2. Income and expense budget for the grant request project.
  3. Narrative (detailed description of project and answers to the questions in the application guidelines)
  4. Income statement and balance sheet for the entire organization for the last two years.
  5. Most recent form 990 for the applicant as filed with the IRS.

 Click Here for a grant application form.