A group of Phish fans mailed an unsolicited check for $1,500 to Directions for Youth & Families. The money is intended to assist in recovery from flooding last year that caused significant damage to its Ohio Avenue Youth Center, including damage to and destruction of instruments in its basement music room. While this nominal amount will make only a dent in the challenges faced by this important community gem, the intent of the grant is to bring more attention to the center’s important programs, help shift the dialogue from damage to recovery, and encourage others to join in supporting the recovery, as well as supporting music education more generally.

These funds come from The Mockingbird Foundation’s Emergency Grants Fund, started in February of 2004 as a three-percent (3%) set-aside from 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, outside of the normal two-tiered competitive application process used by the Foundation for general grants.

The Mockingbird Foundation is an all-volunteer, fan-founded and -managed 501c3 supporting music education for children. It has been operated entirely by volunteer fans of the band, without any salaries or paid staff, since its inception in 1996. The Foundation is the leading provider of historical information about Phish and its music, having cultivated intellectual property through phish.net since 1994. Also a leading grantmaker in music education for children, the Foundation has now made 492 grants in all 50 states, totaling more than $1.8M. Funds for grants are generated through generous donations from a loyal base of fans, as well as through books,  recordingsartworkmerchandise, and special events.