The drawing for the grand prize of the Strings for Dreams Bluegrass Raffle was live-streamed at noon ET on Friday, May 14, on the IBMA Foundation Facebook page. Nick Khadder, a mandolin player from Alameda, California, is the lucky recipient of the last available carbon fiber Z Mandolin, as well as a custom Calton Case. A total of $16,080 was raised by the raffle, with 917 tickets sold. Proceeds will fund the IBMA Foundation’s programs and initiatives supporting the future of bluegrass music through education, academic and literary events, arts and culture programs, and historical preservation.

“I’ve been very much enjoying the mandolin, and so has my daughter, Lucy,” Khadder said. “Lucy’s primary instrument is fiddle, but she plays a good amount of mandolin (among other instruments) these days. This new one will probably get a lot of use from her, as well as me! We’re excited to take it on the road this summer and fall. We’ll most likely bring it to DelFest in September. Lucy’s band, Birches Bend, will be performing a couple of shows that weekend.” Birches Bend is a young band mentored by bluegrass instructor Chad Manning, featuring the talents of musicians age 13-16.

“The IBMA Foundation is extremely grateful to everyone who purchased a ticket for our first fundraising raffle,” said executive director Nancy Cardwell. “Of course, none of this could have happened without the donated instrument from Lee Zapis at Z Mandolin and the case from Calton Cases. Lotos Nile, a Nashville-based digital marketing company, was also extremely helpful, along with lead volunteers Kissy Black and Laurie Greenberg.”

The grand prize, with a value of around $5,000, was the final Z Mandolin to ever be made, a beautifully handcrafted work of art. A portion of the sales from the first 24 mandolins of this limited run benefitted the IBMA Bluegrass College Scholarship endowment fund and the Lee & Ageleke Zapis Songwriting Scholarship at Belmont University in Nashville, TN.

For more info on programs and initiatives supported by the IBMA Foundation, visit For more information on the Dreams to Strings Bluegrass Raffle, go to

Photo above: Nick Khadder with his daughter, Lucy

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