The Arnold Shultz Fund

The IBMA Foundation established the Arnold Shultz Fund in 2020 to support activities increasing the participation of people of color in bluegrass music. Arnold Shultz (1886–1931) was an African American musician from western Kentucky who had a profound influence on Bill Monroe and the development of bluegrass. More information on Arnold Shultz may be found in the article links below.

Shultz Fund Project Grants: Arnold Shultz Fund project grants are awarded every year in the spring, usually announced April 1. Apply here for the 2025 round of Arnold Shultz Fund grants. The DEADLINE TO APPLY is January 31, 2025. Contact Nancy Cardwell at with your questions. 

Read about the 2024 Arnold Shultz Fund grant recipients here.
Read about the 2023 Arnold Shultz Fund grant recipients here.
Read about the 2022 Arnold Schultz Fund grant recipients here.
Read about the March 2021 Arnold Shultz Fund grant recipients here.

Shultz Fund Individual Grants: The Arnold Shultz Fund has a limited amount of funds to support bluegrass-related activities of individual persons of color. Those applications are received throughout the year by the IBMA Foundation’s executive director and can take the form of a letter or email explaining the activity, amount requested, and address, email, and phone contact information for the applicant. Email your letter to

Members of the Arnold Shultz Fund Advisory Committee include co-chairs Richard Brown and Neil Rosenberg, with Erika Brady, Sav Sankaran, Trisha Tubbs, and Lillian Werbin. 

Next deadline to apply for a Shultz project grant: January 31, 2025. Apply HERE.

Learn more about Arnold Shultz:

Click here to read “Bill Monroe’s bluegrass–Black and white music intertwined,” by Jack Tottle, from Appalachian Places.

Click here  to read about the Shultz’s Dream program produced by PineCone for IBMA’s World of Bluegrass week in Raleigh, NC 2022 and partially funded by an IBMA Foundation’s Arnold Shultz Fund grant in 2023.

Click here to view “How Black Bluegrass Musician Arnold Shultz’s forgotton legacy lives in the genre today,” 9/27/22, by Robin Young and Allison Hagan for “Here and Now,” National Public Radio

Click here to view the Arnold Shultz presentation at the Louisville Folk School in 2021. This program was funded in part by an Arnold Shultz Fund grant.

“Happy first birthday to the Arnold Shultz Fund” The Cornerstone (July 2021)

“Arnold Shultz Fund is endowed, next grant deadline is January 31, 2022” (The Cornerstone, June 2021)

IBMA Foundation announces $12,050 in Arnold Shultz Fund grants” (The Cornerstone, March 2021)

“Arnold Shultz: A Hidden Legend Steps into the Spotlight” (by Nancy Cardwell, Bluegrass Unlimited, December 2020) Shared with permission from Bluegrass Unlimited magazine. Please consider subscribing here.)

“Over $30,000 raised for Arnold Shultz Fund in first two months of existence” (The Cornerstone, August 2020)

IBMA Foundation announces Arnold Shultz Fund(The Cornerstone, July 2020)

“Arnold Shultz: the greatest (?) guitar picker’s life ended before promise realized,” by Keith Lawrence (The Cornerstone, June 2020)

“Arnold Shultz: Black fiddling and bluegrass music, posted on March 12, 2017 by Peter Feldmann (Pete’s Place)

“Bluegrass, string music deeply rooted in African-American tradition,” by Thomas Goldsmith (News & Observer, Sept. 30, 2014 – updated Feb. 13, 2015)

Folklorist William E. Lightfoot on Arnold Shultz (2013)

“Contested Origins: Arnold Shultz and the Music of Western Kentucky chapter by Erika Brady in the book, Hidden in the Mix: The African American Presence in Country Music (edited by Diane Pecknold, Duke University Press, 2013)

Kentucky Country: Folk and Country Music of  Kentucky, by Charles K. Wolfe (excerpt, University Press of Kentucky, 1982)

Arnold Shultz (Wikipedia)

Richard Brown on Arnold Shultz

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