The IBMA Foundation is starting the year with some wonderful news. Their Rick Lang Music Songwriter Scholarship has been permanently funded, thanks to a generous $50,000 grant from Rick and Wendy Lang.
Rick and Wendy operate Highland Hardwoods in Brentwood, NH, which offers a variety of fine woods for both the woodworking and the flooring and decking industry. Rick is also a celebrated bluegrass songwriter who serves as chair of the IBMA Songwriter Committee, and volunteers with the IBMA Songwriter Mentor Program. The scholarship had initially been funded by a smaller donation, from the Langs two years ago.
The Rick Lang Music Songwriter Scholarship is awarded each year to an IBMA member who plans to study songwriting in college. They need not be in a declared major, or even be music majors, but must have already shown their songwriting chops, with plans for further study. With this latest grant, the IBMA Foundation, which administers the scholarship, believes it can be awarded in perpetuity.
Speaking jointly, the Langs shared their goal in funding the scholarship.
“Our goal with the scholarship is to help our youth be able to afford to further their educations in the music field and realize their dreams. Young people are the future of bluegrass music, and we are glad to be able to help them along their journey! We are beyond excited about finally endowing the scholarship. This means it will perpetuate and be available to students each and every year.”
Two songwriters have received this award to date, Heather Alley (2020), a student at Morehead State University in Morehead, KY, and Jessica Lang (2021), a student at Belmont University in Nashville, TN. Jessica is of no relation to Rick and Wendy.
While the Rick Lang Music Songwriter Scholarship is considered fully funded, additional donations are encouraged, which can affect the size of the annual award.
Funds are maintained by the IBMA Foundation with the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee in Nashville, TN, which invests and administers more than $500 million in charitable funds for a variety of organizations. The size and number of awards each year is determined by the return on the invested funds.
The IBMA Foundation, which is the philanthropic arm of the International Bluegrass Music Association, offers a number of ways for individuals or associations to invest in the future of the music. Full details can be found online.