Mockingbird Foundation: Grants for K-12 Education

OVERVIEW: Founded and maintained by fans of the rock band Phish, the Mockingbird Foundation supports innovation in music education. It also provides monetary aid to schools whose music programs have suffered physical losses after disasters.

IP TAKE: Run by fans of the rock band Phish, the Mockingbird Foundation funds innovative music programs at schools and nonprofits across the United States and schools whose music programs have suffered losses after natural disasters.  

PROFILE: The Mockingbird Foundation was founded in 1996 by Craig DeLucia and some other fans of the rock band Phish to raise money for music education. Supported entirely with  fan donations and run by volunteers, the foundation has no physical headquarters or salaried employees. It operates from the belief that direct experience with music can contribute to the general wellbeing of children and youth, emphasizes underserved populations and unconventional forms of music and acknowledges that positive outcomes are not always measurable.

The Mockingbird Foundation funds projects in three separate categories: competitive grants, emergency grants, and tour-related grants. Competitive grants are awarded to music programs at schools or nonprofit organizations through a selection process in which Mockingbird board members vote for projects based on their quality and innovation. One past grantee, an afterschool harp program at Clinton Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois, used funding to purchase harps for beginner players, thereby expanding its program’s reach.  Emergency grants aim to help music programs schools that have suffered losses due to disasters such as flooding or fire, while tour-related grants are generally directed toward schools in communities where Phish performs.

Mockingbird Foundation grants range from $100 to $10,000 and are limited to schools and nonprofits in the U.S. Inquiries and applications are accepted between January 1 and August 31 each year, with grantees generally receiving notifications by January. A list of recent grantees by state is available on the foundation’s website.  

The initial step in applying for Mockingbird Foundation grants is completion of the online inquiry form. General inquiries may be directed to Ellis Goddard.


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