IBMA Foundation project grant deadline coming up

Do you teach bluegrass or traditional mountain music, especially in a public school or college setting? Or perhaps are involved in historical preservation?

The IBMA Foundation makes multiple grants each year of $1,000-$2,000 to assist those who foster the growth of bluegrass music, to nonprofit organizations with a 501(c)3 status, or qualified governmental agencies. These are available to recipients worldwide, and the process involves an application that must be completed by December 1, 2020 for next year’s awards.

Full details on filing an application cabe found on the Foundation web site, including the application form itself. It is not terribly detailed, but doe require specific information about your entity and the project for which you are requesting financial assistance.

In their most recent newsletter, Executive Director of the IBMA Foundation, Nancy Cardwell, highlights one of their 2020 recipients in the Czech Republic. Here is a snippet from the article.

The IBMA Foundation proudly supported Kindergarten Bludovice, a bluegrass educational program for kindergarteners, with a 2020 Project Grant. Organized and presented by veteran bluegrass musicians Ondra Kozák and Petr Brandejs, the project began with extensive preparation: the creation of a website for the new program, posters, fliers, an online promotional video trailer, and detailed scenarios tested “in the field” and then carefully adjusted. 

Ondra and Petr created detailed methodological materials to help kindergarten teachers prepare children for the bluegrass programs. Follow-up activities included the creation of games, bluegrass instrument pictures to be cut out of paper, and an online recording of  Slunce za hory (translated as “the sun has disappeared behind the mountain”).

The bluegrass programs have been presented to seven kindergarten classes in the city of  Nový Jičín, and also at the 43rd Banjo Jamboree Festival in Čáslav, Czech Republic. With the challenges created by COVID-19, seven presentations were considered a great success. Additonal programs and negotiations for more in the future are planned for after the virus has subsided. 

The programs included demonstrations of banjo, guitar, mandolin, fiddle, Dobro, and bass played in the bluegrass style, using simple Czech folk songs and bluegrass songs written by Ondra and Petr for a children’s bluegrass CD they recorded a few years ago. “Most bluegrass instruments are new to the children and the primary aim is to stimulate curiosity,” Brandejs said. “Along with that we included some activities suitable for kindergartners, such as syllable-based clapping, singing in tune, repeating the melody, distinguishing between high and low, slow and fast, quiet and loud, and more.” There are 20-50 students in each kindergarten group.

Here is the video Petr and Ondra created to promote this program. Even if your Czech is lacking, you can easily grasp how much the children enjoyed their presentation.

The IBMA Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the International Bluegrass Music Association, that supports programs and initiatives that foster and promote the growth of bluegrass music. By “bundling” many donations from supporters of the music, they are able to direct resources to projects that focus on bluegrass-related arts and culture, education, literary work, and historic preservation. 

If you are in a position to consider planned giving to the IBMA Foundation, or just a small one time donation, information can be found on their web site. Contributions are tax-deductible.

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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.