The first two months of 2022 have been challenging. A third extremely contagious strain of COVID 19 wore us all out, but case numbers are finally on the decline. Cold sheets of ice and snowstorms came back to cover the frozen, white landscape, even as the first jonquils and buttercups emerged from the earth. Rumors of possible war in Ukraine have now turned into actual conflict, setting the rest of the world on edge about what may come next. 

During the post-holiday season at the IBMA Foundation, when things are usually quiet, we’ve been working harder than ever to build a strong future for bluegrass music. So far this year, more than $110,000 has been donated to establish or continue the Rick Lang Music Songwriter Scholarship, the Katy Daley Broadcast Media/Sound Engineering Scholarship, the J. D. Crowe Banjo Scholarship, and the Fletcher Bright Memorial Grant for Young Musicians, plus more contributions from year-end and Facebook birthday fundraisers to benefit the Foundation’s general activities. 

More than $21,000 in project grants was awarded last month to 11 deserving bluegrass educational programs in Iowa, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington and West Virginia. We’re also supporting an exciting academic conference focused on bluegrass and string band music, to be hosted by our friends at East Tennessee State University April 8-10. The fine folks at the Pisgah Banjo Company in Asheville are raffling a historic, custom-made banjo to benefit the IBMA Foundation’s Arnold Shultz Fund and the Black Banjo Reclamation Project. They’ve raised $22,000 so far, with six days to go before the March 6 drawing. Two guitars, donated to the IBMA Foundation by longtime supporter Werter Willis, will be placed in the hands of young musicians who need them. 

This month the Foundation is proud to start receiving applications for six wonderful scholarship opportunities for bluegrass-minded college students next fall. Recipients of the 2022 Arnold Shultz Fund grants will be announced next month, Fletcher Bright Memorial Grant applications for musicians age 21 and younger will open April 1, and details will be announced in the next issue of The Cornerstone about the second Strings for Dreams Bluegrass Raffle, scheduled for April 1 – May 20 with an exciting new grand prize (hint: it has five strings). 

And we still have 10 months of the year to go! Thanks for joining the team of supporters who are helping to create a brighter future for bluegrass music. We appreciate you! 

-Nancy Cardwell,
IBMA Foundation Executive Director

Return to the March 2022 issue of The Cornerstone.