A group of Phish fans has sent $1,500 to the East Ridge High School Band Parents Association in Clement, FL, to help instrument replacement following a devastating fire September 5th. Supporters in the community and beyond fully funded a GoFundMe effort for $15,000 – but we know how quickly that will go, given the extent of damage: By one estimate, “90 percent of band equipment for about 100 students was damaged.”

This contribution will only make a dent in the recovery costs, but is also intended to help shift the dialogue from damage to recovery. We encourage others to join in supporting the recovery of this program in particular, as well as supporting music education more generally. Band programs everywhere face many challenges, unexpected as well as routine, while providing connections both among students and with music. As the Orlando Sentinel quotes band director Jack Hart as saying, “To many of them, the band room is their 2nd home and their instruments are an extension of themselves.”

The funds come from The Mockingbird Foundation’s Emergency Grants Fund, started in February of 2004 and fueled by three-percent (3%) of the Foundation’s net proceeds. Disbursements are made to help call attention to the needs of music education programs which have been impaired by environmental damage (such as fires, floods, and hurricanes) or moral outrage (such as vandalism, theft, or political conflict). Awards are made by decision of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, outside of the normal two-tiered competitive application process used by the Foundation for competitive grant rounds. Mockingbird has now made $37,190 in Emergency Grants.

The Mockingbird Foundation is an all-volunteer, fan-founded and -managed 501c3 supporting music education for children. It is the leading provider of historical information about Phish and its music, having cultivated intellectual property through phish.net since 1994. A leading grantmaker in music education for children, the Foundation has now made 413 grants in all 50 states, totaling more than $1.4M. Funds for grants are generated through donations from a loyal base of fans, as well as through booksrecordingsartworkmerchandise, and special events. The Foundation has been operated entirely by volunteer fans of the band, without any salaries or paid staff, since its inception in 1996.