Inquiries for Round 29 closed Jan 15th; grants will be announced in June.
Inquiries for Round 30 will open June 15th.

Program Areas

The Mockingbird Foundation, Inc. (“Mockingbird”) offers competitive grants to schools and nonprofit organizations that effect improvements in areas of importance to the Phish fan community. Our programmatic focus is music education for children, defined as follows:

  • Music: We recognize broad and basic needs within conventional instruction, though are particularly interested in projects that foster creative expression (whether in instrumentation, vocalization, composition, or improvisation) and encourage applications associated with diverse or unusual musical styles, genres, forms, and philosophies.
  • Education: Education may include the provision of instruments, texts, office materials, or equipment; the support of learning, practice, and/or performance spaces; and the provision of instructors or instruction. We appreciate the fostering of self-esteem and free expression, but have never funded music therapy separate from education nor music appreciation which does not include participation.
  • Children: We primarily fund programs serving children eighteen years of age or younger, but will consider projects which benefit college students, teachers, instructors, or adult students. We are particularly (though not exclusively) interested in programs which benefit disenfranchised groups, including those with low skill levels, income, or education; with disabilities or terminal illnesses; and in foster homes, shelters, hospitals, prisons, or other remote or isolated situations.


  • Funding Amount: Grants range in size from $100 to $10,000, are made on a one-time basis, and are non-renewable and non-transferable.
  • Geographic Focus: U.S., with an interest in geographic diversity throughout the U.S. (We cannot fund organizations outside the U.S., but have funded programs in all 50 U.S. States and Washington, D.C.)
  • Recipient Restrictions: Grants are made only to nonprofit organizations with tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service code, or which have a sponsoring agency with this status, or which are government entities, such as a public elementary school. (Public schools are tax-exempt and thus eligible for funding, although school-based grantees cannot be independent of the school, must take place at the school, and must be supervised by the applicable municipality.) Organizations selected to submit a full proposal will be required to submit documentation of their status as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt institution, a sponsored institution, or a public school.  We do not normally consider grants to individuals or to fund research, fundraising organizations or events, programs that promote or engage in religious or political doctrine, or organizations outside the United States. It is expected that nonprofit organizations who apply for support are operated and organized without discrimination in hiring staff or providing services on the basis of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, national origin or disability.
  • Special Interests: We are particularly interested in organizations with low overhead, innovative approaches, and/or collaborative elements to their work, but these are not restrictive.

Application Process

Full proposals are by invitation only, and will not be considered if unsolicited.

  • Initial Inquiry: Those interested in funding should complete the Initial Inquiry Form, to provide organizational details and some brief narrative elements. No inquiries submitted via any other channel, including postal mail, will be considered.
  • Supplemental Materials: Nothing received outside of the regular process is read or reviewed by anyone. Any supplemental materials (brochures, newsletters, books, recordings, postcards) are a waste of your valuable resources. Do not put the Foundation on any mailing list.
  • Acknowledgment: Due to the large volume of inquiries we receive, we are unable to provide any updates on the status of an inquiry, nor on other aspects of the funding process, prior to the invitation of full proposals.

Inquiry Submission

Please be sure to read the above funding guidelines in their entirety before completing this form, and to keep these points in mind:

  • Only inquiries submitted through this form will be considered. Inquires and materials sent via any other means will not be considered. Please do not send any additional materials, and do not put the Mockingbird Foundation on any mailing list. All such mailings go directly into a recycling bin, unopened. They are neither seen nor read by anyone, and so are a waste of your resources.
  • We are unable to answer questions regarding the likelihood of funding, because the Foundation’s funding process is both collaborative and two-tiered. The best guidance we can give is via our guidelines and past recipients.
  • We are unable to provide an update on the status of your inquiry, because of the high volume of inquiries and because we are entirely volunteer, with no paid staff. We will contact you via email only if your project is selected by the funding committee for further consideration by the board of directors, at which point you will be invited to submit a full and formal proposal.
  • From past experience, we know of two problems that are predictable and which you can avoid: Don’t complete the form using Firefox on a Mac, and don’t include any punctuation when asked for amounts.
  • When ready and appropriate, click the following…

I have read the funding guidelines and am ready to submit an inquiry…

Key Deadlines

  • Inquiries open June 15th via an online form that closes January 15th.
  • Full proposals from a select few are invited in March for submission in April.
  • Final funding decisions will typically be announced in mid-June.

Full Schedule

As an all-volunteer organization with no staff, salaries, or office, frequently engaged in refinements and structural developments, these dates are subject to change. Meanwhile, we are unable to provide any update on the status of any inquiry or proposal, other than as detailed here and announced at the end.

  • June – Inquiries open via an online form that closes Jan 15.  After a brief administrative vetting, each inquiry is randomly assigned to multiple reviewers.
  • Jan-March – Two-stage Review of ~900 inquiries by scores of volunteers, first selecting favorites from overlapping dockets, then ranking those favorites.
  • March – Proposal Invitations sent to a tentative slate of several dozen applicants.
  • May – Two-stage Review of dockets with integrated inquiries and proposals by a board committee and then the full board.
  • Mid-June – Final funding decisions and announcements

Further Information

Questions not answered here may be sent to [email protected]. However, few answers can be given. In particular, questions regarding the likelihood of funding cannot be answered, as the Foundation’s decision-making process is multi-staged, variously collaborative, and extremely competitive. We recommend that you consider the funding guidelines above and our list of past recipients, and remember that we are an all-volunteer organization with no paid staff and no capacity for discussing, considering, or evaluating your inquiry or proposal outside of our formal process.

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