Internet-based Foundation’s Grants Top $184K

Moorpark, CA, Mar 7 — An online group of Phish fans announced today that it will make four new grants in music education. The group is giving $13,000 to fund new instruments, instructors, curricula, and professional development for teachers to a wide range of settings:

  • A $5,000 grant to Play It Again Memphis will purchase musical instruments for economically disadvantaged students from Memphis and Shelby County in Tennessee, help expand the program’s outreach to low-income youth in both public and private schools, and help provide a local coordinator for a partnership with the national Little Kids Rock organization which will introduce guitar classes in Memphis City Schools.
  • A $5,000 grant to Little Kids Rock in Montclair, NJ, will help provide instruments and training as part of an effort to put 20 new guitar workshops into New York City Schools by September of 2003.
  • A $2,000 grant to the Music Resource Center in Charlottesville, VA, will support Imagination to Fruition workshops at a drop-in center for at-risk youth. The center serves nearly 500 youths annually.
  • A $1,000 grant to A Placed Called Home, in South Central Los Angeles, CA, will help provide access to instruments and practice space for inner-city Latino and African-American youth.

The funds come primarily from sales of a 928-page book (The Phish Companion), a double-CD tribute album (Sharin’ in the Groove), and generous donations from both individual contributors and larger foundations. Donations are tax deductible and help finance future grants currently under consideration.

The funds are disbursed by the Mockingbird Foundation, an entirely unconventional organization with no salaries, paid staff, or office, that donates virtually all of its income directly to worthy charities. While its works are manifested through its products and grants, at an organizational level the Foundation exists solely online, utilizing the Internet to avoid travel and other expenses typically associated with grant-making entities.

The foundation has received over 600 new inquiries in the last several months alone. “There’s a tremendous amount of need, and tremendous energy among Phish fans,” according to funding director Kristen Godard. By putting those together, the Foundation has disbursed over $184,000 so far, and anticipates new projects in the coming year. Additional details about the Foundation are available on its website,