IBMA Foundation launches Friends of the Foundation program

The IBMA Foundation, whose efforts consist of providing for the growth of bluegrass music worldwide through educational, fundraising, and charitable giving, has launched a new program called Friends of the Foundation to invite bluegrass lovers to assist them in their vital work.

The Friends of the Foundation effort is essentially about building a street team to help them build awareness about the many programs and grants offered each year by the Foundation, and to encourage others spread the word among their family, friends, and community. While these programs have been in existence for some time, a great many bluegrass fans, artists, and students aren’t aware of what is available through the IBMA Foundation.

There is no cost to become a Friend of the Foundation, though recruiting donors at any level is part of this endeavor. Anyone can sign up for free online. The program is open to individuals, associations, businesses, organizations interested in helping bluegrass music grow.

To help explain the purpose of this undertaking, the IBMA Foundation has offered this list of ways you can be a Friend of the Foundation:

  • Sign up for our free monthly e-newsletter, The Cornerstone HERE
  • Put a Friend of the Foundation sticker on your instrument case or vehicle. Use it as a conversation starter!
  • Check out and share content on our Facebook and Instagram pages or YouTube channel.
  • Help us spread the word about deadlines for IBMA Foundation project grants, Arnold Shultz Fund grants, college scholarships, and the Rosenberg Bluegrass Scholar Award.
  • Encourage students to apply for an IBMA Foundation-hosted scholarship: the IBMA Bluegrass College Scholarship (for students interested in a professional career in the genre); the J. D. Crowe Banjo Scholarship (for musicians studying banjo on the college level); the Katy Daley Broadcast Media & Sound Engineering Scholarship (for those interested in radio, television, online, or satellite broadcasting OR working in live or recorded sound engineering); the Sally Ann Forrester Scholarship (for female bluegrass musicians headed to college); and the Rick Lang Music Songwriter Scholarship for individuals studying bluegrass songwriting at college. The annual DEADLINE to apply for college scholarships is June 1.
  • Encourage schools and bluegrass associations to apply for a Bluegrass in the Schools Mini-grant, to help fund live, educational presentations to students by bluegrass bands. (No deadline, year-round applications)
  • Encourage bluegrass musicians age 21 and younger to apply for a Fletcher Bright Memorial Grant for Young Musicians, to be used for bluegrass camp and workshop fees, instrument set-up and repair, educational materials and lessons. (No deadline, year-round applications)
  • Encourage a person of color (any age) to apply for an Arnold Shultz Fund Individual Grant (no deadline, year-round application letters).
  • Donate a bluegrass instrument you are not using to the IBMA Foundation, to be given to a young person who can’t afford one OR to be used in the Foundation’s Strings for Dreams Bluegrass Raffle.
  • Help promote the annual Strings for Dreams Bluegrass Raffle in April – May on your social media pages, websites, music publications, and association newsletters!
  • Make a short video about why YOU support the IBMA Foundation and post it on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Tag the IBMA Foundation, and we’ll share it everywhere!
  • Check out the new Bluegrass Stagecraft 101 educational videos on the Foundation’s YouTube channel here. Share these with anyone who might be interested in learning more about emceeing a band or a festival, working as a stage manager, or working more effectively with a live bluegrass event sound crew.
  • Contact us with your idea for an article in the Foundation’s monthly enewsletter.
  • Encourage friends looking for a bluegrass camp or workshop to check out this page of the IBMA Foundation. You can also invite camp and workshop directors to email the Foundation to be included, at no charge.
  • Check out the list of bluegrass degree, research and ensemble programs at colleges we know about here. Encourage others to contact us at
  • Do you perform in or direct a bluegrass band at a college or university? Learn more about the IBMA Foundation’s Bluegrass College Showcase hosted during the weekend of IBMA’s World of Bluegrass week every year in Raleigh (usually the last week of September). Info here.
  • Interested in bluegrass music educational resources for grades K-12? Check out this page.
  • View the six video chapters and corresponding lesson plans for Discover Bluegrass: Exploring American Roots Music here on the Foundation website at no charge, or here on YouTube.
  • Check out the new guitar raffle to be held at the Blue Highway Fest October 11-14, 2023, to benefit the IBMA Foundation. (This year luthier Rufus Thames is donating a guitar based on Tim Stafford’s 1934 Martin D-18.) 

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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.