$5K Donated to UNCF Music Scholarships for Black History Month

A group of fans of the rock group Phish is commemorating the birthday of Ella Fitzgerald by donating funds to a scholarship fund named for the legendary “First Lady of Song.” The Mockingbird Foundation, an all-volunteer organization founded in 1996, has announced a $5,000 one-time grant to the Ella Fitzgerald Foundation to support the United Negro College Fund’s (UNCF) Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Scholarship Program. That program provides scholarships to students who are majoring in music at one of UNCF’s 39 member colleges, maintaining a 2.5 or higher GPA, and have a verified financial need. Application guidelines for the scholarship can be found at www.uncf.org/scholarships.

“Phish fans couldn’t pay a better tribute to Ella Fitzgerald than to help cultivate the musical talent of students at UNCF’s member historically black colleges and universities,” said Michael L. Lomax, Ph.D., UNCF’s president and CEO. “The Mockingbird Foundation’s generous donation joins Miss Fitzgerald’s love of young people and music with the community spirit that has always been the hallmark of Phish and its fans. The fact that the members of Phish met at college underscores the importance of education no matter what the future holds in store.”

The announcement comes as the world celebrates Fitzgerald’s birthday on April 25, and also recognizes a range of connections between Phish and Fitzgerald.

<>”Phish grew to jamband kings from their jazz training,” said Ellis Godard, executive director of the Mockingbird Foundation. “Their repertoire included instrumental versions of songs originally performed by Ella, such as ‘Night and Day’ and ‘Lullaby of Birdland’, as well as ‘Caravan’ and other standards that Fitzgerald also often performed.”

Additionally, though more trivially, Phish drummer Jon Fishman named his daughter Ella, in honor of Fitzgerald.

About UNCF

As the nation’s oldest and most successful minority higher education assistance organization, the United Negro College Fund’s mission is to provide financial support to its 39 member institutions and increase minority degree attainment by reducing financial barriers to college. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding 25 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF administers nearly 450 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship programs, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 65,000 students at over 900 colleges and universities across the country. Learn more about UNCF at www.uncf.org

About The Mockingbird Foundation

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. 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 so far provided 150 grants, in 36 states, totalling $500,134.

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.

About Phish

Phish started in 1983, announced its impending breakup on May 25, 2004, and has not performed since its farewell show on August 15, 2004. For more information about Phish, please visit the official Phish.com and the fan-managed Phish.net.