15 Grants, Celebrate Braille’s Birthday

In connection with today’s celebration of the birthday of Louie Braille (1809-1852), The Mockingbird Foundation has announced a $3,500 award to the National Braille Press of Boston. The gift will partially sponsor a Spring 2006 braille production of the instruction book Who’s Afraid of Braille Music? Aimed at every teacher of braille, teacher of music, and parent who wants to help a blind child acquire music literacy, the book introduces the concepts of reading, writing, singing and playing braille music.

“The Braille System revolutionized print communication for the blind,” said Ellis Godard, Executive Director, The Mockingbird Foundation. “The Mockingbird Foundation is proud to support Louis Braille’s legacy through this grant to National Braille Press.”

The Foundation announced a total of 15 new grants, totaling $68,612, to support music education for children. The funds will provide a wide range of support (instruments, instruction, instructional space, support materials, and general operating funds) to a wide range of institutions (schools, churches, youth groups, and community centers). This round of Mockingbird grantees include the Foundation’s first in Arkansas, Hawai’i, and Montana, as well as four affected by recent hurricanes (two in Florida and two in Louisiana):

Mockingbird funds are distributed twice per year through a two-tiered application process that is one of the most competitive in the country, able to fund fewer than one percent (1%) of the initial inquiries received. The process has provided 130 grants so far, in 36 states, totaling over $495,134. The next round of grants will be announced by June 2006.

The National Braille Press is a nonprofit organization with two core missions: (1) to promote and nurture the braille literacy of blind children and youth across the U.S. and (2) to print and publish the reading material that blind people of all ages need to fully pursue their chosen endeavors in education, work, and life. “Who’s Afraid of Braille Music?” is published in print by Dancing Dots Software (Valley Forge, Pennsylvania), a leader in the field of computer-based braille music transcription. Under an agreement with Dancing Dots, the Press produces and sells a braille edition.

The Mockingbird Foundation is the leading provider of historical information about the band Phish and its music. Since its inception in 1996, the Foundation has been operated entirely by volunteer fans of the band, without any salaries or paid staff. It fundraises for music education for children by celebrating the music of Phish through books, innovative recordings, creative donation premiums, and special events for the Phish fan community.

The second edition of The Phish Companion (the Foundation’s 928-page authoritative encyclopedia) is available from major book outlets nationwide. The Foundation’s double-disc tribute album Sharin’ in the Groove is available in CD format through Amazon, CDBaby.com, and Homegrown Music Network, as well as in digital format from nugs.net/livedownloads.com, iTunes, MSN Music, Rhapsody, Napster, BuyMusic, MusicMatch, Sony Connect, MusicIsHere, Liquid Digital Media, PassAlong, MusicNet, Puretracks, MusicNow, and LoudEye! For more information about Mockingbird, or to make a donation, please visit www.mbird.org.

Phish is a rock band that started in 1983 and has not performed since August 15, 2004, then deemed its final show. For more information about Phish, please visit the official Phish.com and the fan-managed Phish.net.

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