Dear friends,

We’re nearing the season of Thanksgiving and the end of an encouraging year for bluegrass music. More than 900 supporters shared in the work of the IBMA Foundation during the past fiscal year, with contributions totaling over $100,000. Since the beginning of the foundation in 2008, over $375,000 has been awarded in grants and scholarships! We are more grateful than ever for those who choose to help us build a brighter future for bluegrass music.

Please join us in this valuable work with a tax-deductible donation or bequest to the IBMA Foundation. If you have already done so 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, 2023:

The Foundation awarded $24,200 in project grants to programs in 11 states. Since 2011, the IBMA Foundation has awarded more than $151,000 of these flagship project grants to recipients in 27 states, the Czech Republic, and Germany.

Bluegrass in the Schools mini-grants supplied $5,400 to support educational presentations for students in eight states. We have awarded more than $39,000 in mini-grants since 2011.

The Sally Ann Forrester College Scholarship and the Rick Lang Music Songwriter Scholarship were both awarded to Lucy Becker at Morehead State University in Kentucky. Rick, a Grammy-nominated songwriter, and Lucy plan to cowrite a song next year.

The IBMA Bluegrass College Scholarship for students pursuing a professional role in the bluegrass industry was awarded to Liam Purcell at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Liam also fronts his own touring band, Cane Mill Road.

Alaina Majkrzak at East Tennessee State University received the Katy Daley Broadcast Media & Sound Engineering Scholarship.

The second recipient of the J. D. Crowe Banjo Scholarship is Jack Rehbeck, a student at Denison University in Ohio.  

The Rosenberg Bluegrass Scholar Award went to Cade Botts, who graduated with a master’s degree in music theory from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. His thesis was titled “Bluegrass: A Voicing.”

The Fletcher Bright Memorial Fund for Young Musicians helps musicians age 21 and younger with bluegrass camp scholarships, lessons, instruments, and educational materials. In 2022/23, Bright grants totaling $5,808 went to 13 young people.

The December 2022 launch of the Bluegrass Stagecraft 101 educational series on emceeing a band or event, stage management, and working with a live sound crew was successful, and the videos may be seen on the IBMA Foundation YouTube channel and website. One-on-one mentor opportunities are still available. On November 8, 2023, the Eppes-Jefferson Foundation will sponsor a free webinar, “Emcee Masterclass,” from the IBMA Foundation in collaboration with Leadership Bluegrass alumni.

The Arnold Shultz Fund encourages participation in bluegrass music by people of color. Shultz Fund grants totaling $28,935 were awarded in 2023 to programs and individuals in seven states, India, and Kenya. A raffle held by the Pisgah Banjo Company raised $29,580 for the Shultz Fund in 2023; $10,000 from the raffle went to the Black Banjo Reclamation Project in California. A total of $141,767 has been raised for the fund since its inception in 2020.

The third annual Strings for Dreams Bluegrass Raffle raised $20,954. Jayson Clark, from the Buffalo, New York area, was the lucky winner of the Martin guitar. World renowned boot maker Lisa Sorrell donated a pair of Louvin Brothers tribute custom cowboy boots featuring the iconic Satan is Real album cover design. The winner of the boots, Erin Webb, donated the boots back to the Foundation to be raffled off a second time in February 2024.

And here are some of the things that are happening in the current fiscal year:

Our free e-newsletter The Cornerstone comes out monthly. We’re also on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Check out our website at!

During IBMA’s World of Bluegrass in Raleigh, NC, the Foundation staffed an expo hall booth, hosted the Bluegrass College Band Showcase featuring 13 bands, presented a Bluegrass College Info Session, funded bluegrass programs at local elementary schools, hosted a reception for scholarship and grant recipients, and held the annual Bluegrass Educators Luncheon.

A new college scholarship in memory of Gloria Belle Flickinger is in the works. Foundation board member Becky Buller’s goal is to raise $20,000 for an endowment fund to support the ongoing scholarship.

The Friends of the Foundation ambassador/street team group launched in the fall of 2023. You’re welcome to participate by signing up at at the bottom of the home page.

Thanks for considering a year-end gift to the IBMA Foundation, and thanks for all you do year-round to share bluegrass music with the world. We appreciate you. Together we can make the future of bluegrass music brighter!


Nancy Cardwell, Executive Director

IBMA Foundation
1183 University Drive #105-215
Burlington, NC 27215

Return to the November 2023 issue of The Cornerstone.