Different: The Mockingbird Foundation, Inc. is an unconventional organization, in many regards. It is an all-volunteer non-profit organization of Phish fans, founded to raise money for charity. The original project was the compilation of the most factually accurate and delightfully literary book on Phish’s music available, with contributions from as many fans as possible. The Foundation now produces a wider range of resources and diversions for fans, including a Phish cover album.
Decisive: The Mockingbird Foundation is entirely volunteer, with no salaries, paid staff, office space, or endowment — thus distributing all possible funds to charity. No member or volunteer benefits financially from the Foundation in any way, and all proceeds from Mockingbird projects are donated to tax-exempt organizations. The Foundation’s primary purpose is charitable, out of love for and thanks to Phish for their inspiring music.
Determined: The Mockingbird Foundation exists almost exclusively online, using the Internet to avoid travel and other expenses typically associated with grant-making entities. Nonetheless, we are a formally recognized nonprofit, with 501(c)3 tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service. (Donations are thus tax-deductible, and contributions are applied to the next round of regular grants.) We attempt to remain as transparent as possible, and welcome you to review these formal Foundation documents:
- 501(c)3 “Determination letter” from the IRS
- 2007 Confirmation of 501(c)3 Determination
- Articles of Incorporation
- Bylaws (amended 4/7/15)
“It’s nice to see how a real charity works.” – MusicDish
Brief bio (editable for publication): The Mockingbird Foundation, Inc. was founded in 1996 by fans of the band Phish to raise funds for music education. With no salaries, staff, office, or endowment, the 14 directors live in 8 states, have supported grantees in 47 states, and work with volunteers worldwide. It exists almost exclusively online, using the Internet for publicity, fundraising, all internal communications, and even to develop, produce, and distribute intellectual property. Borne from a Usenet newsgroup, and started in a mailing list, Mockingbird now utilizes blogs, forums, RSS feeds, Twitter, and Facebook; publishes content to a dozen other sites through a set of APIs, and to four mobile device “apps” through strategic partnerships; and develops internal guidelines and draft content in Google Docs. The Foundation has distributed more than $1.1M via more than 330 grants in all 50 states.