A group of Phish fans has mailed an unsolicited check for $2,500 to the Terrebonne Parish School District in Houma, LA. The parish was devastated by Hurricane lda on August 29, 2021. Several schools sustained significant damage; two high schools suffered catastrophic damage and are still unable to open. Because so many schools sustained roof damage, the contents in those schools were damaged, including most of the band instruments. The school district is working with FEMA to replace buildings, furniture, and contents, and FEMA will fund 90% of the cost of most replacement and rebuilding efforts, with the school district responsible for 10%. But because the estimates of damage exceed $250M, the local expenses will exceed $25M, and instruments regrettably get a low priority.
So, we’re sending $2,500 to support rebuilding the music program at South Terrebonne High School. While this nominal amount will make only a dent in the challenges faced by this school and community, the intent of the grant is to bring more attention to the need for recovery and the uncovered expenses, and to thereby 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 549 grants in all 50 states, totaling more than $2M. Funds for grants are generated through generous donations from a loyal base of fans, as well as through books, recordings, artwork, merchandise, and special events., including the upcoming Seventh Annual Runaway Open in Denver.