IBMA Foundation 2020-2021 Year End Report

You love bluegrass. You would like to see bluegrass live forever. We have a way you can do that…

We’ve had a strong year at the IBMA Foundation. Over 440 donors shared in our work, with contributions totaling $329,811. In a season of continued uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges, we are more grateful than ever for the bluegrass music community and for those who choose to help us build a brighter future for bluegrass.

The IBMA Foundation is the philanthropic organization that supports programs and initiatives fostering the growth of bluegrass music. We help donors create a legacy for future generations by connecting resources to projects that focus on bluegrass music-related arts and culture, education, literary work, and historic preservation.

Financial Summary

July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2020

Statement of Financial Position, June 30, 2021: Total assets: $334,218 (includes $127,125 in endowment and agency funds at the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, plus Vanguard funds). We gained $108,646 in total assets during the past year, up from $225,572 in 2020 and $189,165 in 2019. 

Statement of Financial Activity: July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021

Donations from individuals:
Donations from foundations:
Donations from corporations:
In-kind donations:
Investment income:
Miscellaneous income:




Project grants:                                                     
Bluegrass in the Schools mini-grants:          
Rosenberg Bluegrass Scholar Award:        
Sally Ann Forrester Scholarships:
Rick Lang Music Songwriter Scholarship:
Arnold Shultz Fund grants:                           
Other grants:                                                   
Program expenses:                                             
Raffle expenses:


12, 223


(Note: $187,993 passed through “individual donations” to “other grants,” as an estate donation to IBMA.)





The IBMA Foundation endowment at the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee is now worth $57,763. Our Vanguard investment fund is at $77,746. The agency endowment that funds the Sally Ann Forrester Scholarship totals $21,670. The IBMA Education agency endowment which funds the IBMA Bluegrass College Scholarship totals $17,695. We set aside $30,000—roughly half of what was donated during the 20-21 fiscal year to the new initiative—to create an agency endowment fund to support Arnold Shultz Fund grants in the future.  The Foundation for Bluegrass Music has a profile page with the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.

Project Grants

The Foundation awarded $14,000 in project grants in 2021 to the following groups:

  • The Archbold Music Commission in Ohio, for the “Industrial Strength Bluegrass” event
  • The Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Tennessee, for the “Pick Along! Summer Camp”
  • The Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Kentucky, for virtual school programs
  • Ferrum College in Virginia, for a community Appalachian Instrument Library
  • Georgia Elementary and Middle School in Vermont, for a Bluegrass Intensive Unit
  • The Minnesota Bluegrass & Old Time Music Association, for theGrass Seeds” program
  • The Queen Bee Music Association in New Mexico, for a bluegrass camp, and
  • The Wintergrass Music Festival in Washington state, for the virtual Pocketgrass Youth Academy Club and Youth Orchestra.

    Since 2011 the IBMA Foundation has awarded more than $107,000 in project grants to educational programs for children, scholarship funds, film documentaries, and other bluegrass activities in Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington state, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, the Czech Republic, and Germany.

    Young musicians perform at the Queen Bee Kids Bluegrass Camp in Santa Fe, New Mexico, funded by a 2021 Foundation project grant.

    Arnold Shultz Fund grants

    The Arnold Shultz Fund created in June 2020 to encourage participation in bluegrass music by people of color is co-chaired by Richard Brown and Neil Rosenberg. A raffle held by the Pisgah Banjo Company raised $26,740 and a total of $35,000 was donated by The Steve Martin and The Purple Crayon Foundations, in addition to many individual donations. More than $72,000 was raised for the Shultz Fund in its first year of existence. The first round of grants were awarded to: 

    • BASEArizona and Jam Pak Band in Arizona
    • Bluegrass Pride and Decolonizing the Music Room in California and Texas
    • Dancing with the Spirit, for Alaskan Village Schools
    • The Louisville Folk School in Kentucky
    • NorthStar Church of the Arts in North Carolina
    • Nokosee Fields, in Louisiana
    • Stephen Wang, in California
    • Tray Wellington, in Tennessee

      Five new bass players rehearse in the Ban Jam class in Chandler, Arizona. The program was funded in part by a 2021 Arnold Shultz Fund grant.


      Since 2011, more than $26,200 has been awarded in mini-grants to help pay bluegrass bands presenting educational, live bluegrass music programs in schools. Mini-grants this year funded a program in West Virginia and three virtual presentations in North Carolina.

        Scholarships & Funds

        The IBMA Bluegrass College Scholarship originated as an idea from the IBMA Board of Directors and has been funded by Lee Zapis of Z Mandolins, Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers, and several others. The first IBMA Bluegrass College Scholarship was awarded to Autumn Moore, from Pennsylvania.

        The new Crandall Creek Scholarship is sponsored by the band of the same name in West Virginia. Rainy Miatke, from Oregon, is the first recipient.

        The Sally Ann Forrester Scholarship helps female bluegrass musicians with college expenses. Robert Forrester, Megan Brugger and several others added to Murphy Henry’s initial gift. Scholarships were awarded to Hayley King from South Carolina and Emma Turoff from New York.

        The Rick Lang Music Songwriter Scholarship 2021 recipient is Jessica Lang (no relation to the donors), from North Carolina. Rick and Wendy Lang continue to support this annual scholarship.

        he Rosenberg Bluegrass Scholar Award goes to a young sT academic paper on the topic of bluegrass. This year’s award, sponsored by the John Hartford Family, went to Heather Grimm (pictured at left), a candidate in the Interdisciplinary PhD program in Theatre and Drama at Northwestern University. 


        Our free e-newsletter, The Cornerstone comes out monthly, A click-through rate of 25-32% is high for nonprofit publications. Foundation staff created a new Instagram page and YouTube channel, along with maintaining a Facebook page. Our executive director co-manages an Arnold Shultz Facebook page, and the IBMA Foundation website was completely re-designed and updated.


        We received a discretionary funds grant of $1,900 from the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee which funded the “American Roots Music—Bluegrass in the Classroom” teacher workshop in Bell Buckle, Tennessee in April 2021.

        World of Bluegrass

        During World of Bluegrass week in Raleigh, Sept. 2019, the Foundation staffed a booth in the expo hall with other members of the IBMA family of organizations, and we helped to organize and promote the “New Research in Bluegrass Music” academic-themed seminar on Thursday. On Friday we hosted a Bluegrass College Program Info Session targeted to high school students and their parents, featuring presentations and music from a dozen college groups and directors. Immediately afterward, we hosted a college bluegrass educators luncheon. The Bluegrass College Band Showcase has grown from seven to thirteen ensembles and was presented on the Youth Stage Friday and Saturday evenings. We also funded three mini-grants to support bluegrass presentations to schools in Raleigh and Cary, NC, during WOB week. During World of Bluegrass 2020, IBMA’s first ever virtual event, the Foundation hosted two academic seminars (“Go to Bluegrass U” and “New Research in Bluegrass”) plus “Creating a Bluegrass Legacy,” along with presenting the annual Bluegrass College Band Showcase and staffing a booth in the Exhibit Hall, Sept. 28 – Oct. 3.

        The Strings for Dreams Bluegrass Raffle

        The new Strings for Dreams Bluegrass Raffle fundraiser raised $16,080. In addition to the Z Mandolin raffle prize, instrument designer Lee Zapis also donated $12,000 ($1,000 per mandolin sold) to the new IBMA Bluegrass College Scholarship.

        A chapter office of the IBMA Foundation was established in Burlington, NC in order to conduct the raffle under North Carolina state regulations and to streamline communications for staff.

        Nick Khadder, a mandolin player from Alameda, California, was the lucky winner of the Strings for Dreams Bluegrass Raffle grand prize, a carbon fiber Z Mandolin and a custom Calton Case. He’s pictured here with his daughter, Lucy. 

        New Donors

        New donors have made contributions to the Foundation from family estates; others notified us that they have included the Foundation in their wills. We took part in the “Giving Tuesday” matching campaign on Facebook and the Big PayBack campaign through our association with the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. A 2019 year-end donation mailing garnered support, and we benefited from a collaborative fundraising effort in December with IBMA and the IBMA Trust Fund.

        Board Members

        Current board members include: Fred Bartenstein, University of Dayton (Chairperson/ President); Alan Tompkins, Bluegrass Heritage Foundation (Vice Chairperson); Ruth McLain, McLain Family Band, Morehead State University (Secretary); Wendy Tyner, Wintergrass/ Acoustic Sound (Treasurer); Kissy Black, Lotos Nile; Sam Blumenthal, Sam Blumenthal Foundation; Dr. Richard Brown, Harvard University, The Reunion Band; Becky Buller, The Becky Buller Band; Michael Hall, The Northern California Bluegrass Music Society; Arthur Hancock, Wolfpen Branch; Pat Morris, executive director of IBMA; Dr. Peter Salovey, Yale University; and Michael Webb, East Tennessee State University. Nancy Cardwell serves as executive director.


        Our committees work in the areas of Finance, Nominating, Marketing/Communications, Mini-Grant Review, Project Grant Review, Rosenberg Bluegrass Scholar Review, Philanthropy, and Scholarship Review, plus the Arnold Shultz Fund Advisory Committee and the Executive Committee.


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

        Thanks for working with us to make the future of bluegrass brighter!

        The IBMA Foundation, Inc. was recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a public charity under Section 170(b)(1)(a)(vi) effective November 30, 2017. Contributions are deductible to the maximum extent permitted by law.

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