IBMA Foundation 2019-2020 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 400 donors shared in our work, with contributions totaling more than $70,000. In a season of uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other national 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 by supporting the Foundation.

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, 2019 – June 30, 2020

Statement of Financial Position, June 30, 2020: Total assets: $225,572 (includes $107,936 in endowment funds at the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and invested Vanguard funds), which is up from total assets of $189,165 last year.

Statement of Financial Activity: July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020

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




Project grants:
Bluegrass in the Schools mini-grants:
Rosenberg Bluegrass Scholar Award:
Program expenses:







The Foundation endowment at the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee is now worth $50,147. We created a new endowment for the Sally Ann Forrester College Scholarship, which totals $15,047. Our goal is to raise at least $20,000, which will support an annual Sally Ann Forrester scholarship in perpetuity. The Foundation for Bluegrass Music has a profile page with the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, here.

Project Grants

The Foundation awarded $14,000 in project grants in 2020 to the following groups:

  • The Acoustic Music Seminar, at the Savannah Music Festival in Georgia
  • The Ballard High School Fiddlers, in Seattle, Washington
  • Bluegrass Day Camp for Kids, at the Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua in Washburn, Wisconsin
  • IBMA’s Leadership Bluegrass program, held in Nashville, Tennessee
  • “A Life of Sorrow: The Life & Times of Carter Stanley,” presented by Showtimers Community Theatre in Roanoke, Virginia
  • Kindergarten Bludovice: Bluegrass to Kindergarten, in the Czech Republic
  • Stokes Junior Mountain Music and 3rd Saturday Grass, in Danbury, North Carolina
  • The Yadkin Junior Appalachian Musicians, an afterschool program in Yadkinville, North Carolina

The Ballard High School Fiddlers take the stage at Wintergrass 2020


Bluegrass in the Schools mini-grants in 2019-2020 were made to help pay bands do live, educational bluegrass music presentations at schools in Jackson, MS; Fallbrook, CA; Buffalo, NY; Cary, NC; Raleigh, NC; Moravia, IA; San Diego, CA; and Owensboro, KY.

Since 2011 the Foundation for Bluegrass Music has awarded more than $93,000 in project grants to educational programs for children, scholarships, film documentaries, and other bluegrass activities in Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington state, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, the Czech Republic, and Germany. Since 2011, more than $25,000 has been awarded in mini-grants to help pay bluegrass bands presenting educational, live music programs in schools.

    Scholarships & Funds

    The first five recipients of the Sally Ann Forrester College Scholarship, designated for female bluegrass musicians, include:

    • Megan Cody, at the University of Colorado, Boulder
    • Clara Guilmette, at Central Connecticut State University
    • Jessica Lang, at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee
    • Anne Jarrell, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    • Bailey Stephenson, at West Liberty University in West Virginia.


    The first recipient of the Rick Lang Music Songwriter Scholarship is Heather Alley, who studies at Morehead State University in Kentucky. Rick and Wendy Lang plan to fund another songwriter scholarship in 2021.

    Our newest initiative is The Arnold Shultz Fund, to encourage participation in bluegrass music by people of color. The Shultz Fund Advisory Committee that will determine how funds are used includes co-chairs Dr. Richard Brown and Neil V. Rosenberg, PhD, plus Erika Brady, PhD, and Trisha Tubbs. More than $30,000 was raised for the Shultz Fund during its first two months of existence, thanks in part to a generous donation from banjo player/comedian Steve Martin. The Denver Bluegrass All-Stars performed in a live-streamed concert from Denver to help initiate support for the Shultz Fund.


    Our free e-newsletter, The Cornerstone comes out monthly. A click-through rate of 28-32% is high for nonprofit publications.

    Board Members

    Members of the board 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, Hancock & Shouse; Dr. Peter Salovey, Yale University; Michael Webb, East Tennessee State University; Paul Schiminger, IBMA Executive Director. Nancy Cardwell serves as Executive Director.  Peter D’Addario rotated off the board in 2020, and we deeply appreciate his service, which included a term as board chair.

    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.

    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.

    Leadership Bluegrass Class of 2020


    Our sponsors include Mary Tyler Doub (2019 Rosenberg Bluegrass Scholarship Award), Mark Hodges with Mountain Fever Music Group (IBMA Bluegrass College Scholarship challenge), Murphy Henry (Sally Ann Forrester College Scholarship), and Mary Faith Rhoads-Lewis with John Pearse Strings/Breezy Ridge Instruments (promotional picks featuring our new logo). Several more donors have joined in to support the Arnold Shultz Fund and the Sally Ann Forrester college scholarships. Ricky and Wendy Lang funded a new songwriter scholarship.

    Discretionary Funds Grant

    We received a discretionary funds grant of $3,500 from the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee which we plan to use to fund a “Bluegrass Music in the Classroom” teacher workshop for professional development for school teachers and home schooling parents in Bedford and Coffee counties in Tennessee, in April, 2021.

    Fundraising Raffle

    The inventor of Z Mandolins has donated $1,000 from an instrument sold in 2020 and has also given mandolin #25 to the Foundation to use in a fundraising raffle project planned to culminate in 2021.



    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
    4206 Gallatin Pike
    Nashville, TN 37216

    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