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

Our patrons

We are so grateful for the support of our patrons. Click here to see the list of our generous donors.

Two types of grants

IBMA Foundation Project Grants- (up to $2000 each) are designed to assist programs that align with the goals of the Foundation. Deadline to apply: December 1. 


Bluegrass in the Schools Mini Grants- Schools or other groups organizing "Bluegrass in the Schools" assemblies should apply for a Mini Grant instead. (generally $300 per school assembly)


To download the appropriate forms for these two types of grants, click on the "Grant" tab at the top of our Home Page.

The work of the Foundation

The IBMA Foundation has proudly supported these worthwhile programs:


Project Grant Recipients:











and dozens of Mini-grants, funding live, educational presentations by bluegrass bands from around the world, at schools.

Bluegrass Symposium

The Bluegrass Symposium Friday – Saturday, Sept. 29-30, 2017 Raleigh Convention Center – Raleigh, NC

Foundation for Bluegrass Music to host Bluegrass Symposium,

Bluegrass College Band Showcases at IBMA’s World of Bluegrass in

Raleigh Sept. 29-30

Neil Rosenberg


Nashville, TN – In addition to the popular bluegrass college band showcase hosted by The Foundation for Bluegrass Music at IBMA’s Wide Open Bluegrass Festival in Raleigh, NC Sept. 29-30, an academic conference focused on the study of bluegrass music called “The Bluegrass Symposium” will debut in Raleigh this year.

The Bluegrass Symposium held in 2005 at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green was a watershed event in bringing scholarly attention to bluegrass music.  Bluegrass-focused events at Harvard (2010) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2016) have continued to gather scholars who focus on bluegrass as a style, practice and business.  

Noted author and professor Lee Bidgood, Ph.D.  of East Tennessee State University led a committee of bluegrass music scholars to select presentations for the symposium It’s his hope that “the presentations in Raleigh will further foster the community of scholars who research and write about bluegrass music,” Bidgood says.

The Bluegrass Symposium will kick off at noon on Friday, Sept. 29 in room #304 at the Raleigh Convention Center with a keynote luncheon featuring noted author and Bluegrass Music Hall of Famer, Neil Rosenberg, Ph.D., a Professor Emeritus of Folklore at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Rosenberg’s speech, titled “Bluegrass: Scholarship and Realities,” will be based on the last chapter of his forthcoming book, Bluegrass Generation: A Memoir (University of Illinois Press). “This book portrays my experiences working in the bluegrass music business from 1961-63, mainly at the Brown County Jamboree in Bean Blossom, Indiana,” Rosenberg says. The chapter, entitled “Afterword,” focuses on scholarly issues.

Bluegrass bands from the following colleges will be featured on the Wide Open Bluegrass Youth Stage in front of the Raleigh Convention Center Sept. 29-30, from 7-9 p.m. on Friday night and 6-9 p.m. Saturday night: Warren Wilson College from Asheville, NC, led by Wayne Erbsen; East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, TN, directed by Daniel Boner; Morehead State University from Morehead, KY, directed by Raymond McLain; Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville, TN, directed by Larry Vincent; Berea College, directed by Al White from Berea, KY; Berklee College of Music, led by Matt Glaser from Boston, MA; and Glenville State College, directed by Megan Darby, in Glenville, WV. IBMA’s “Kids on Bluegrass” ensembles featuring middle school and high school students, produced by Kim Fox, will be featured on the Youth Stage Friday night, Sept. 29, from 5-7 p.m.

The deadline to register for the keynote luncheon was Sept. 1 and has passed. IBMA conference and festival attendees are welcome to sit in on presentations from 1:30 – 5 p.m. on Sept. 29 and from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. on the 30th.

Prospective students and their families will be interested in the “Introduction to College Bluegrass Programs” session featuring student groups and presentations from department heads on room 304 of the convention center from 2-3 p.m., moderated by IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award recipient and author, Fred Bartenstein.

Be sure to stop by the Bluegrass Foundation booth in the IBMA World of Bluegrass Expo Hall Wednesday – Saturday, Sept. 26-30, to learn about the Foundation’s work and mission to enable individuals and organizations to support the art form through charitable donations and planned giving.

A schedule of Foundation for Bluegrass Music events at World of Bluegrass follows:

Friday, Sept. 29

12:00-1:30 p.m.  Keynote luncheon for paid academic conference attendees. Keynote speaker:  Neil Rosenberg, Ph.D.

1:30 – 3:00 p.m. Bluegrass Music Symposium Session 1: Institutions and Narratives – Chair: Jordan Laney 

  • Ryan Banagale & Keith Reed – Bluegrass and the Liberal Arts
  • Chelsea Burns – Boston Bluegrass: Institutional Traces in the Urban Scene
  • Ron Roach – Building a Shared Rhetorical Vision: Fantasy Theme Analysis of Discourse at Early Bluegrass Festivals

3:00 – 3:15 p.m.  Break

3:15 – 4:45 p.m.  Bluegrass Music Symposium Session 2:  Performance Studies – Chair: Toby King

  • Liza Sapir Flood – Song Choreography and Self-Expression at Bluegrass Jams
  • Lee Bidgood – The Broken Circle Breakdown and Belgian Bluegrass
  • Louisa Branscomb – Use of Bluegrass Songwriting as Treatment Intervention in Foster Teens with PTSD: A Qualitative Pilot Study

4:45 – 5:00 p.m. Wrap-up of Day One (with advice given on attending the Ramble showcases at eateries)

5:00 – 7:00 p.m.  Dinner on your own 

5 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. – IBMA’s “Kids on Bluegrass” Ensembles (Wide Open Bluegrass Youth Stage, RCC)

7:00 – 9:15 p.m.   College Band Showcases
, Youth Stage (emcees: Kitsy Kuykendall, Bluegrass Unlimited & Bob Webster, Bluegrass for Lunch)

  • 7-7:35 p.m. – Berklee Bluegrass All Stars
  • 7:50-8:25 p.m. Warren Wilson College
  • 8:40-9:15 p.m. – East Tennessee State University

Saturday, Sept. 30

9:00 – 10:30 a.m.  Bluegrass Music Symposium Session 3: Performing History – Chair: Raymond McLain, Morehead University

  • Ira Gitlin – Lonesome And Then Some: Unusual Vocal Harmonies In Early Bluegrass Recordings
  • Natalya Weinstein-Miller – Jim Shumate: Pioneering Bluegrass Fiddler
  • Everett Lilly   – Making Bluegrass History:  The Role of the Lilly Brothers in Bluegrass History

10:30 – 10:45 a.m.   Break

10:45 – 12:15 p.m.   Bluegrass Music Symposium Session 4: Media – Chair: Nancy Cardwell

  • Nathan Sykes  – Farm and Fun Time Legacy: Radio and Regional Music
  • Greg Reish – Documenting Bean Blossom: The Recorded Legacy of Marvin Hedrick
  • Ted Olson – Reassessing a Pioneering ‘Bluegrass Label’: Tracing the Impacts of Rich-R-Tone Records

12:15 – 12:30 p.m. Wrap-up of the Bluegrass Music Symposium (evaluation)

12:30 – 2:00 p.m.   Bluegrass College degree program luncheon (Off site lunch for bluegrass degree program department heads and instructors, and those interested in college level bluegrass instruction.)

2:00 – 3:00 p.m.   Introduction to College Bluegrass Programs, moderated by Fred Bartenstein

6:00 – 10:00 p.m.   College Band Showcases, Wide Open Bluegrass Youth Stage, RCC (emcee: Bill Knowlton)

  • 5-5:45 p.m. – Morehead State University
  • 6-6:45 p.m. — Pellissippi State Community College
  • 7-7:45  – Berea College
  • 8-8:45 p.m.. – Glenville State College 

For more information including tickets, lodging, info and registration for The IBMA Business Conference, the International Bluegrass Music Awards hosted by Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn, the Bluegrass Ramble artist showcases, and IBMA’s Wide Open Bluegrass Festival, please go to www.ibma.orgYou won’t want to miss any of it, while you’re in town! Sept. 26-30, 2017. For more info about the Foundation for Bluegrass Music, go to or email Nancy Cardwell at