The IBMA Foundation has asked us to remind everyone that the deadline for applying for the 2023 Arnold Shultz Fund grants is January 31. These grants are designed to support activities that increase participation in bluegrass music by people of color.
People of color are defined by the Foundation as those with a racial/ethnic background that is underrepresented in bluegrass, i.e.:
Black, Asian, Hispanic/Latino, Indigenous First People, Indigenous Pacific Islander, etc. Applicants may be individuals, schools, groups, organizations, or government entities. Priority will be given to programs, activities, or individuals that demonstrate a commitment to inclusivity and serving diverse, underrepresented populations in bluegrass music.
Shultz is an important person in bluegrass lore. A blues musician who lived in western Kentucky, he taught Bill Monroe about the blues when the future Father of Bluegrass was still a young man. In fact, he gave Monroe his first paying gig while he was still a teen.
Nancy Cardwell, Executive Director of the IBMA Foundation, which serves as the non-profit philanthropic and education arm of the organization, tells us that while many awards from the Arnold Shultz Fund are to organizations, they are also available to individual students, artists, or teachers.
“Applications can be made to help an individual person of color, for a bluegrass-related program or event that benefits people of color, or for a college scholarship (for a person of color studying a bluegrass-related topic).”
The Foundation put together this video to explain a bit more about the importance of this effort to encourage people from outside the typical bluegrass demographic to get involved.
More information on the Arnold Shultz Fund grants can be found online, as well as an application form.