Program Areas

The Mockingbird Foundation, Inc. (“Mockingbird”) offers competitive grants to schools and nonprofit organizations that effect improvements in areas of importance to the Phish fan community. Our programmatic focus is music education for children, defined as follows:

  • Music: Mockingbird is particularly interested in projects that encourage and foster creative expression in any musical form (including composition, instrumentation, vocalization, or improvisation), but also recognizes broader and more basic needs within conventional instruction. Mockingbird encourages applications associated with diverse or unusual musical styles, genres, forms, and philosophies.
  • Education: Education may include the provision of instruments, texts, and office materials, and the support of learning space, practice space, performance space, and instructors/instruction. Mockingbird is particularly interested in projects that foster self-esteem and free expression, but does not fund music therapy which is neither education nor music appreciation which does not include participation.
  • Children: Mockingbird is interested in targeting children eighteen years of age or younger, but will consider projects which benefit college students, teachers, instructors, or adult students. Mockingbird is particularly (though not exclusively) interested in programs which benefit disenfranchised groups, including those with low skill levels, income, or education; with disabilities or terminal illnesses; and in foster homes, shelters, hospitals, prisons, or other remote or isolated situations.


  • Funding Amount: Grants range in size from $100 to $10,000, are made on a one-time basis, are are non-renewable and non-transferable.
  • Geographic Focus: U.S., with an interest in geographic diversity throughout the U.S. (We cannot fund organizations outside the U.S., and we have funded within 43 U.S. States – so far!)
  • Recipient Restrictions: Grants are typically made only to nonprofit organizations with tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service code, or who have a sponsoring agency with this status. Organizations selected to submit a full proposal will be required to submit documentation of their status as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt institution or as a public school. Public schools are tax-exempt and thus eligible for funding, although school-based grantees cannot be independent of the school, must take place at the school, and must be supervised by the applicable municipality. Mockingbird does not normally consider grants to individuals or to fund research, fundraising organizations or events, programs that promote or engage in religious or political doctrine, or organizations outside the United States. It is hoped that nonprofit organizations who apply for support are operated and organized without discrimination in hiring staff or providing services on the basis of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, national origin or disability.
  • Special Interests: Mockingbird is particularly interested in organizations with low overhead, innovative approaches, and/or collaborative elements to their work, but these are not restrictive.

Application Process

Full proposals are by invitation only, and will not be considered if unsolicited.

  • Initial Inquiry: Those interested in submitting a proposal should first complete the online Initial Inquiry Form via our website. That form requests organizational details and allows for approximately two pages of narrative description. We prefer that a responsible officer from the applying organization fill out the form. Initial inquiries submitted via any other channel will not be considered. Submissions by postal mail will not be reviewed and cannot be returned.
  • Supplemental Materials: We are unable to review any supplemental materials accompanying either your Initial Inquiry or Full Proposal submission, such as books, videos, cassettes, etc. Please do not send any materials beyond those specifically requested by the Mockingbird Foundation.
  • Acknowledgment: After submitting your letter of inquiry through our online form, and once review of inquiries has begun, you will receive an automated response acknowledging receipt. Due to the large volume of inquiries we receive, however, we are unable to provide you with any additional updates on the status of your inquiry, nor to confirm submission prior to review of inquiries. You will be contacted beyond acknowledgement ONLY if your project is selected for further consideration, at which point you will be invited to submit a full and formal proposal. Please do not contact the Foundation asking for an update on our review process.

Deadlines: Initial Inquiries may be submitted at any time, though they are considered in cycles. The current cycle is as follows, and details (including deadlines) for future funding rounds will be appended here at the completion of this round:

    • Submission of initial inquiries occurs via an online form which opens by January and is due by August 1st at 11:59 p.m. PDT.
    • The Funding Committee begins review of inquiries immediately and identifies a select subset by late September. Nothing is known or can be reported until those selections are made.
    • By October, that subset is invited to submit a full proposal, through a second online form, typically due by November. Only those selected to submit a full proposal will be contacted.
    • Through December, the Board of Directors reviews all full proposals which have been both invited and submitted through the prescribed form.
    • New grants are typically announced between Christmas and the end of January, at which time the next round of inquires opens. (There have been exceptions, such as Round 20.)

Further Information

Please remember that we are an all-volunteer organization with no paid staff, so we would appreciate if you would keep additional correspondence to a minimum. Questions regarding the grants process may be sent to Ellis Godard at [email protected] However, questions regarding the likelihood of funding cannot (and will not) be answered by an individual, as the Foundation’s decision-making process is collaborative. We instead recommend that you fully consider the funding guidelines and past recipients.