Applications for project grants awarded by the IBMA Foundation are due December 1, 2022. The Foundation awards around $20,000 in project grants annually to nonprofit organizations with a 501(c)(3) status or qualified governmental agencies such as public schools and colleges. Grants were awarded to the following recipients in 2022, with an additional grant going to the California Bluegrass Association to help them start an educational bluegrass program for inmates at Avenal State Prison.

Ashe County Arts Council, Ola Belle Reed Songwriter’s Retreat (West Jefferson, NC)

Ballard Performing Arts Booster Club, Ballard High School Fiddlers (Seattle, WA)

Bluegrass Battles Hunger, Artist in Residency (St. Joseph, MO)

Cabell County Schools, Developing a New Appreciation for Bluegrass Music through Artists in Schools (Huntington, WV)

Carrizozo Elementary School, American Roots Guitar with Bill Evans (Carrizozo, NM)

East Tennessee State University, 2022 String Band Summit (Johnson City, TN)

Monroe Mandolin Camp, 9th Annual Monroe Mandolin Camp (Abingdon, VA)

Annie Savage, Free Strings: Join the Jam Bluegrass Module (North Liberty, IA)

The Earl Scruggs Center, Roots and Strings: The Foundations of Bluegrass (Shelby, NC)

Sisters Folk Festival, Bluegrass Jam Camp (Sisters, OR)

Tellico Plains Junior Appalachian Musicians (Tellico Plains & Madisonville, TN)

Applications for Arnold Shultz Fund grants are due January 31, 2023. The Fund awards around $20,000 in grants each year 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 2022, the Foundation awarded Arnold Shultz Fund grants to eight programs and individuals, plus a special grant to the Black Banjo Reclamations Project in California from a fundraiser raffle conducted by Pisgah Banjo Company.

Dancing with the Spirit, Bluegrass song videos & curriculum for Alaskan village schools (Fairbanks, AK)

Jam Pak Blues ‘N’ Grass, Fair Black Rose Band World of Bluegrass 2021 CD (Chandler, AZ)

The Kealakai Center for Pacific Strings, Dreadnought Hawai’i – The Royal Hawaiian Roots of America’s Acoustic Heart documentary film (Kailua, HI)

Oscar Chilumo Mbwana and Stephanie Waithera Mwaura, Zoom fiddle lessons (Nairobi, Kenya)

The Oakland Pubic Conservatory of Music, Black Banjo & Fiddle Fellowship (Oakland, CA)

PineCone, Arnold Shultz tribute performance at IBMA’s World of Bluegrass and documentary video (Raleigh, NC)

Eric Shi (Liang Shi), Educational bluegrass videos for China (Zhjiang, China)

Arnold Shultz (1886 – 1931) was an African American musician from western Kentucky. Shultz, best known as an extraordinary guitarist and fiddle player, 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 Shultz’s 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. Arnold Shultz was a mentor to Bill Monroe, who also credited Shultz with influencing his approach to playing music.

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 September 2022 issue of The Cornerstone.