We’re nearing the season of Thanksgiving and the end of an encouraging year for bluegrass music and the IBMA Foundation. More than 700 supporters shared in our work during  the past fiscal year, with contributions totaling $187,851. In a season of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and economic challenges, we’re more grateful than ever for those who choose to help us build a brighter future for bluegrass music.

Please join us in supporting the future of bluegrass music with a tax-deductible donation or bequest to the IBMA Foundation. If you have already helped us recently, we thank you and ask that you share this info with a friend. Together, we can make a difference in the world through the powerful artistry and community of bluegrass music.

Here’s a recap of what you helped us to accomplish in the fiscal year that ended June 30.

  • The Foundation awarded $20,334 in project grants to programs in North Carolina, Washington, West Virginia, New Mexico, Tennessee, Virginia, Iowa, Oregon, and Tennessee. Additional funds were used to help the California Bluegrass Association start a bluegrass program for inmates at Avenal State Prison. Since 2011 we have awarded more than $127,000 to projects in 27 states and 2 countries outside the U.S. Bluegrass in the Schools mini-grants supported educational bluegrass presentations for students in California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New York, North Carolina and Tennessee. We have awarded more than $33,600 in mini-grants since 2011.
  • Sally Ann Forrester College Scholarships for female bluegrass musicians were presented to Bethany Kelley at Berklee College of Music and Gracie Mae Grossman at East Tennessee State University. The Crandall Creek Scholarship, sponsored by the band of the same name in West Virginia, was awarded to Shane Austin at ETSU
  • The Rick Lang Music Songwriter Scholarship was awarded to Hayley King at Morehead State University. Rick Lang, the founder of this scholarship and a Grammy-nominated songwriter, plans to cowrite a song with Ms. King next year.
  • The IBMA Bluegrass College Scholarship for students pursuing a professional role in the bluegrass industry was awarded to Jaelee Roberts at Middle Tennessee State University. A senior, Jaelee is also a member of the band Sister Sadie.
  • The first two recipients of the Katy Daley Broadcast Media & Sound Engineering Scholarship are Faith Pierce (Berklee College of Music) and Chun Si Lee (University of North Carolina Asheville).
  • The first recipient of the J. D. Crowe Banjo Scholarship, created by the Arthur Hancock family in Kentucky, is Max Allard at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
  • The Rosenberg Bluegrass Scholar Award, sponsored this year by Laurie Greenberg, went to Gabby Cameron, an ethnomusicologist at the University of Maryland.
  • The new Fletcher Bright Memorial Fund for Young Musicians was established by members of the Bright family, Tom Brown, and Barbara Martin Stephens to help musicians age 21 and younger with bluegrass camperships, lessons, instruments and educational materials. Brother and sister Judah and Bayla Davis of North Carolina and the members of Fair Black Rose in Arizona are the first recipients.
  • The Eppes-Jefferson Foundation contributed funds to create a new series of educational videos called “Bluegrass Stagecraft 101.” Emceeing a band, emceeing a festival, stage management, and live sound will be the initial topics, along with one-on-one mentoring opportunities. Steven Ide is producing the series.
  • The Arnold Shultz Fund, created to encourage participation in bluegrass music by people of color, is co-chaired by Dr. Richard Brown and Neil Rosenberg. A raffle held by the Pisgah Banjo Company raised $32,720 for the Shultz Fund in 2022. A total of $109,217 has been raised for the fund since its inception two years ago. Shultz Fund grants totaling $19,170 were awarded in 2022 to programs and individuals in Alaska, Arizona, California, China, Hawaii, Kenya, and North Carolina. An additional $10,000 from the Pisgah Banjo raffle was granted to the Black Banjo Reclamation Project in California. Lee Zapis and Deering Banjos collaborated with the Foundation to gift 10 Goodtime Banjos for a BBRP banjo building retreat in January 2022. Shultz funds also provided bluegrass lesson scholarships at the Louisville Folk School.
  • The second annual “Strings for Dreams Bluegrass Raffle” raised $22,325. Kenyon Young of Las Vegas, NV, was the lucky winner of the prize Huber banjo. Big thanks to Rick Spratt for donating the banjo! The prize for the 2023 raffle will be a vintage 1967 Martin D-35 guitar; stay tuned to stringsfordreams.com for more news.
  • Our free e-newsletter The Cornerstone comes out monthly. We’re also on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Check out our website at bluegrassfoundation.org!
  • During IBMA’s World of Bluegrass in Raleigh, NC, the Foundation staffed an expo hall booth, hosted the Bluegrass College Band Showcase featuring 12 bands at the IBMA Bluegrass LIVE Festival, presented a Bluegrass College Info Session, funded bluegrass at local elementary schools, hosted a reception for scholarship & grant recipients, and held the annual Bluegrass Educators Luncheon.

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    Return to the November, 2022 issue of The Cornerstone.