Applications for project grants awarded by the IBMA Foundation are due December 1, 2021. The Foundation will award a total of around $20,000 to nonprofit organizations with a 501(c)(3) status or qualified government agencies such as public schools and colleges. Eligible programs and initiatives should have a focus on education, arts and culture, literary and academic activities, or historic preservation. Projects that will benefit diverse and international audiences are especially encouraged.

Grants were awarded to the following recipients in 2021:

  • The Archbold Music Commission; Industrial Strength Bluegrass: An Evening with Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers; Archbold, OH
  • Birthplace of Country Music Museum, “Pick Along! Summer Camps”; Bristol, VA/TN
  • Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Virtual Bluegrass in the Schools & Assembly; Owensboro, KY
  • Ferrum College, Appalachian Instrument Library; Ferrum, VA
  • Georgia Elementary and Middle School, Bluegrass Intensive Middle School Unit; Georgia, VT
  • Minnesota Bluegrass & Old Time Music Association, Grass Seeds at Fall Jam and Winter Weekend; Minneapolis, MN
  • Queen Bee’s Kids Bluegrass Camp; Santa Fe, NM
  • Wintergrass Music Festival, Pocketgrass Youth Academy Club with Mr. Joe and the Youth Orchestra; Bellevue, WA and virtual

Applications for Arnold Shultz Fund grants are due January 31, 2022. The Shultz Fund awards grants for activities that increase participation in bluegrass music by people of color. People of color are people with racial/ethnic backgrounds that are underrepresented in bluegrass: Black, Asian, Hispanic/Latino, Indigenous First People, Indigenous Pacific Islander, etc. Applicants may be individuals, schools, groups, organizations, or government entities. Priority will be given to programs, activities, or individuals that demonstrate a commitment to inclusivity and serving diverse, underrepresented populations in bluegrass music.

In 2021, the Foundation awarded $12,050 in Arnold Shultz Fund grants to eight programs and individuals, including the following:

  • BASEArizona and Jam Pak Band, BanJam 2021; Chandler, AZ
  • Bluegrass Pride and Decolonizing the Music Room, “Juneteenth: A Rainbow Revival”; San Francisco, CA and Fort Worth, TX
  • Dancing with the Spirit, Bluegrass Song Videos & Curriculum for Alaskan Village Schools; Fairbanks, AK
  • Nokosee Fields, recording project; Lafayette, LA
  • Louisville Folk School, “Black Voices in Kentucky Music History”; Louisville, KY
  • NorthStar Church of the Arts, “Country Soul Songbook”; Durham, NC
  • Stephen Wang, guitar lessons; Los Gatos, CA
  • Tray Wellington, audio and visual gear upgrade; Johnson City, TN

Arnold Shultz (1886 – 1931) was an African American musician from western Kentucky and a mentor to Bill Monroe, who credited Shultz with influencing his approach to playing music. Best known as an extraordinary guitarist and fiddle player, Shultz often played guitar with Bill Monroe’s fiddle-playing uncle, Pendleton (“Pen”) Vandiver. It was at these gigs that Monroe met Arnold Shultz and began to emulate his backup guitar style. Shultz was impressed enough with Monroe’s progress that he hired Monroe to play guitar with him at dances, thereby giving Monroe his first professional music jobs.

Click here to download a project grant application form. Click here to download the application for Arnold Shultz Fund grants. Eligible organizations and individuals may apply for one or both grants. For more info, go to, email or call (615) 260-4807.

RETURN to the November 1, 2021 issue of The Cornerstone.