Applications for project grants awarded by the IBMA Foundation are due by December 1. 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.

Applications for Arnold Shultz Fund grants are due by 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.

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.

Project 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)

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. 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 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.

Return to the November 2022 issue of The Cornerstone.

Photo above: The Henhouse Prowlers present a Bluegrass Ambassadors educational program for elementary students. Hosted by the Earl Scruggs Center, the group presented a program for 1,100 Cleveland County fourth graders in North Carolina last April, funded in part by an IBMA Foundation project grant.