About Us

The IBMA Foundation supports programs and initiatives fostering the growth of bluegrass music through charitable donations and planned giving.

Won’t you help us make the future of bluegrass music brighter?

Our Story

The IBMA Foundation was created by the International Bluegrass Music Association in 2007 with a bequest from the Richard Barnhart estate. Mr. Barnhart was a musician from northern Virginia who loved bluegrass and wanted to support educational programs for children. Since the beginning, our goal has been to support bluegrass-music-related educational, literary, artistic and historic preservation activities.

In our early years we produced Discover Bluegrass, an educational video that has been used in thousands of classrooms and libraries around the world. We have hosted dozens of teacher workshops and artist trainings. We created a bluegrass lesson plan competition and provided a network for leaders of after-school bluegrass programs.

Our project grants, which now total $14,000 a year, support bluegrass-related initiatives throughout the world. We also fund mini-grants, which help schools to hire bluegrass bands for school programs. The Rosenberg Bluegrass Scholar Award recognizes excellence in academic research. College scholarships are granted for students working on a bluegrass-related degree, female bluegrass musicians, and songwriters. The Arnold Shultz Fund supports increased participation of people of color in bluegrass music. 

During IBMA’s World of Bluegrass week, the Foundation presents a college bluegrass band showcase, a bluegrass college educators luncheon, and a bluegrass college information session for prospective students and their parents. We also facilitate academic research-related seminars.

The IBMA Foundation, Inc. is a tax-exempt, tax-deductible organization with headquarters in Nashville and a satellite office in Burlington, North Carolina. We are governed by thirteen volunteers appointed by the International Bluegrass Music Association and staffed by a part-time executive director.

Our mission is to build a brighter future for bluegrass music. We help donors create a bluegrass legacy by supporting programs and projects that focus on bluegrass music-related arts and culture, education, literary work and historic preservation.

Board member Becky Buller presents accomplishments of the past year.

Donors contributed more than $70,000 last year to support bluegrass initiatives.

Please consider joining us. Let's build a brighter future for bluegrass!
View Our Most Recent Annual Report.

Board & Staff Leadership

Fred Bartenstein, Chair/President

University of Dayton

Sam Blumenthal

The Blumenthal Foundation

Becky Buller

The Becky Buller Band

Arthur Hancock, IV

Wolfpen Branch

Peter Salovey

Yale University & The Professors of Bluegrass

Alan Tompkins, Vice-Chair

Bluegrass Heritage Foundation

Michael Webb

East Tennessee State University

Kissy Black

Lotos Nile

Richard Brown

Harvard University & The Reunion Bandtein

Michael Hall

Northern California Bluegrass Society

Ruth McLain, Secretary

Morehead State University & The McLain Family Band

Pat Morris

IBMA Executive Director

Wendy Tyner, Treasurer

Wintergrass/Acoustic Sound

Nancy Cardwell, Executive Director

Former Board Members

Greg Cahill • Peter D’Addario • Henri Deschamps • Mary Doub • Dan Hays (liaison) • Tom Kopp • Kitsy Kuykendall • Jed Malischke • Carl Pagter • Mark Panfil • Paul Schiminger • Richard Spratt • Tim Stafford • Stephanie Taylor • Yvonne Tatar • Richard Tucker

I first remember hearing bluegrass (it was called “mountain music” at the time) in 1956, on the radio. In 1965 a friend took me to the very first multi-day bluegrass festival in Fincastle, Virginia. Since then, I’ve had all kinds of involvement in the music. Bluegrass and the people in its community have contributed greatly to the happiness of my life. I want others—especially youth and people in parts of the world that wouldn’t otherwise be exposed—to discover and learn about bluegrass. I won’t live forever, so I’m investing my time and money into helping build the IBMA Foundation as a lasting, significant, and worldwide philanthropy.

Fred Bartenstein

Adjunct instructor, University of Dayton

Get in touch.

Questions? Comments? Please use the form below to get in touch with us.

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