2024 Arnold Shultz Fund grant deadline approaching

The IBMA Foundation wants to remind everyone that the application deadline for their 2024 Arnold Shultz Fund grants in January 31. The Fund, named for early Bill Monroe mentor Arnold Shultz, exists to increase participation in bluegrass music by people of color.

The Foundation defines the term as…

People of color are people with racial/ethnic backgrounds that are underrepresented in bluegrass: Black, Asian, Hispanic/Latino, Indigenous First People, Indigenous Pacific Islander, etc. 

These grants are funded by tax exempt donations made to the Foundation for this purpose, allowing them to distribute nearly $29,000 in monies last year for activities that serve the Fund’s goals. They can be made to individuals, schools, groups, organizations, or government entities dedicated to bringing non-white people into the world of bluegrass.

2023 grants were awarded to:

  • Dancing with the Spirit (Fairbanks, AK): assistant instructor training and travel for young native Alaskan musicians 
  • Decolonizing the Music Room (Ft. Worth, TX): African American Roots Music Festival 
  • Elephant Grass Musical Chairs Bluegrass Band (Nairobi, Kenya): series of educational bluegrass programs at high schools 
  • Grassy Strings (West Bengal, India): travel grant to bring the first bluegrass band from India to the international outreach program at the La Roche Bluegrass Festival in France 
  • Jam Pak Blues ‘N’ Grass Neighborhood Band (Chandler, AZ): scholarship for Jam Pak member Gieselle Lacy to attend IBMA’s Leadership Bluegrass in 2023 in Nashville, TN 
  • Jam Pak Blues ‘N’ Grass Neighborhood Band (Chandler, AZ): summer bluegrass camp 
  • Montgomery Museum of Art & History (Christiansburg, VA): Cultural Crossroads in Traditional Music concert program, planned for 2023 and rescheduled for 2024 
  • Lamont Pearley (Bowling Green, KY): funding for lessons from Kentucky banjo teacher Jordan Riehm, culminating in a performance in tribute to Arnold Shultz 
  • Azere Wilson (San Luis Obispo, CA): funding assistance for debut album, The Rock the Root the Lean on Me, a culmination of her research on traditional black music, African American spirituals, bluegrass music, and the blues. 

The IBMA Foundation encourages anyone who fits into this category to apply for the 2024 grants. The funds are there at the ready, and will be awarded to someone. Why not you or your organization?

This video helps explain who Arnold Shultz was, and what the Fund is all about, while highlighting some of its recipients over the years.

An online application form is available which must be completed and returned by January 31 to be eligible.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.