The IBMA Foundation, Inc.
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Nashville, TN 37216
Organization Details



The IBMA Foundation is the philanthropic organization that supports programs and initiatives fostering the growth of bluegrass music. By connecting resources to projects that focus on bluegrass music-related arts and culture, education, literary work, and historic preservation, we help donors create a legacy to benefit future generations of musicians and fans.


The IBMA Foundation originated as a 501 c (3) nonprofit charitable organization created by the International Bluegrass Music Association in 2007 to support bluegrass music-related educational, literary, artistic and historic preservation activities. Our goal is to support the future of bluegrass music by funding educational programs and events that share bluegrass with the next generation of fans and musicians. Early accomplishments include the production of the Discover Bluegrass: Exploring American Roots Music" educational DVD for grades 4-7 which has been distributed nation-wide and internationally to schools, libraries and home schooling parents; dozens of 'Utilizing Bluegrass Music in the Classroom' workshops for classroom and music teachers K-12, for professional development credit; a Bluegrass Lesson Plans annual competition; Bluegrass in the Schools Mini-Grants awarded through the year ($300) to help pay bands to do live, educational presentations of bluegrass music at schools; and Project grants now totaling around $14,000/year. We are a clearinghouse of information for college-level bluegrass degree and ensemble programs, bluegrass camps and workshops for young people, and a network for public school teachers who include bluegrass music in the classroom or in after-school programs. In 2019 we initiated the Rosenberg Bluegrass Scholar Award to recognize excellence in the academic world. During World of Bluegrass week in Raleigh, NC, the last full week of September, The IBMA Foundation co-hosts a booth in the expo hall, a College Bluegrass Band Showcase is held on Friday and Saturday nights with around a dozen bands, a Bluegrass College Educators Luncheon is planned as well as a Bluegrass College Info Session, and we have an on-site board meeting. IBMA often schedules an academic research-themed seminar during the week which the IBMA Foundation helps to promote. The IBMA Foundation has awarded more than $107,000 in annual grants since 2011 to educational programs for children, scholarship funds and film documentaries based in Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Washington, Wyoming and Japan. More than $26,000 has been awarded in year round mini-grants since 2011, to help pay bluegrass bands present educational , music programs in school.


Our accomplishments in 2020-21 include awarding $14,000 in project grants to support educational bluegrass programs for children and adults in KY, MN, NM, TN, VT and WA states. We have funded four Bluegrass in the Schools mini-grants in NC and WV - three which were virtual programs due to COVID-19. We have raised funds to permanently endow two scholarships: one for female bluegrass musicians, and one for students pursuing bluegrass music on the college level. We continue to offer a songwriter college scholarship and an award for bluegrass-related academic research presentations. The Arnold Shultz Fund was established in 2020 to encourage participation in bluegrass music by people of color, and around $33,000 has been raised so far, with the first round of grants going out in early 2021. We participated in the first virtual World of Bluegrass events, hosted by our sister organization, IBMA, in September 2020, continuing the Bluegrass College Band Showcase. We launched a newly designed website the summer of 2020 at, and we continue to meet or exceed our budget.


1. Donations and planned giving to fund an increasing annual of bluegrass music-related educational grants 2. Sponsorships for specific IBMA Foundation programs and grants are available.3. Increased publicity and promotion of our mission and activities 4. Funding for the new bluegrass music academic scholar annual prize 5. Funding for the new IBMA Bluegrass College Scholarship for students studying bluegrass on the college level. 6. Funding for Sally Ann Forrester College Scholarship for female bluegrass musicians 7. Funding for Songwriting college scholarship 8. Funding for The Arnold Shultz Fund, which encourages participation in bluegrass music by people of color, 9. More bands interested in presenting educational programs on bluegrass music at schools and increased funding for Bluegrass in the Schools Mini-Grants which support this effort 10. . Funding for increased part-time staff hours, 11. Funding to support third national/international academic Bluegrass Music Symposium

CEO Statement

At the IBMA Foundation we are focused on supporting the future of bluegrass music. Our grants and programs help introduce the next generation of musicians and fans to this uniquely American genre of music that has now spread literally around the world. In a nation and a world that is divided in so many ways, music is something that unites us. Scientific research also shows that studying music can have a positive impact on brain development and academic success, as well as helping older individuals remain active and engaged--both mentally and socially in the bluegrass music community--which begins locally and regionally, and stretches around the world. In short, we've found bluegrass music to be a very positive force in our lives and in the world, and we are passionate about sharing it with others. In recent years we have become more proactive about encouraging diversity in the programs and initiatives we support, including a college scholarship for female bluegrass musicians and the Arnold Shultz Fund which was established to encourage participation in bluegrass music by people of color. We want to make the world a better place with bluegrass music. Come join us! --Nancy Cardwell, IBMA Foundation Executive Director

Service Categories

Primary Category: Arts, Culture & Humanities  - Music 
Secondary Category: Arts, Culture & Humanities  - Arts Education 
Tertiary Category: Education  - Fund Raising & Fund Distribution 

Areas Served

In 2018-19 we hosted two Bluegrass College Band Showcases in NC, and we worked with the Swiss Bluegrass Music Association to have our 'Discover Bluegrass' educational DVD translated to German for use in Europe. In 2020 we funded a project grant for a kindergarten program in the Czech Republic. Our 2021 project grants went to KY, MN, NM, OH, TN, VA, VT and WA. An April 2021 teacher workshop for professional development will take place in TN. We opened a NC-based chapter office, in addition to TN.

TN - Davidson