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 funding should complete the Initial Inquiry Form via our website, to provide organizational details and some brief narrative elements. No inquiries submitted via any other channel, including postal mail, will be considered.
  • Supplemental Materials: Nothing received outside of the regular process is read or reviewed by anyone. Any supplemental materials (brochures, newsletters, books, recordings, postcards) are a waste of your valuable resources. Do not put the Foundation on any mailing list.
  • Acknowledgment: Due to the large volume of inquiries we receive, we are unable to provide any updates on the status of an inquiry, nor on other aspects of the funding process, prior to the invitation of full proposals.

Funding Cycle

  • Inquiries open each year by January 1st via an online form that closes August 1st, at 11:59 p.m. PDT.
  • Final funding decisions are typically announced between Christmas and New Year’s, but not infrequently during January.

Further Information

Questions not answered here may be sent to [email protected] Questions regarding the likelihood of funding cannot be answered, as the Foundation’s decision-making process is multi-staged, variously collaborative, and extremely competitive. We recommend that you consider the funding guidelines and past recipients, and remember that we are an all-volunteer organization with no paid staff.