The Foundation applies a rigorous review process to insure that your donations are used wisely to support high quality, innovative music education programs, where help is most needed. This is evidenced by the strength of the hundreds of organizations we have supported, and by the robust and comprehensive nature of our review process.
NOTE: The dates below have been the historical pattern of Mockingbird’s funding cycles. However, we are shifting the entire schedule six months, including an abbreviated and transitional Round 26, for which inquiries are open 8/2/20 to 1/15/21.
- Inquiries open each year by January 1st via an online form that closes August 1st, at 11:59 p.m. PDT.
- Final funding decisions are typically announced between Christmas and New Year’s, but not infrequently during January.
These details are provided to elucidate our thoroughness, and so that applicants know they aren’t being ignored. However, as an all-volunter organization with no staff, salaries, or office, 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. Moreover, these dates (current to review of Round 24 applicants in 2019) change a bit from year to year, as our process continues to evolve through refiniments and structural developments.
- Jan 1 – Inquiries open via an online form that closes Aug 1st, at 11:59 p.m. PDT. After a brief administrative vetting, each inquiry is randomly assigned to multiple reviewers.
- Aug 3 – First-Stage Review starts, with volunteers each receiving a docket of between 20 and 200 submissions. Each reviewer select three inquiries from their docket by Sep 6.
- Sep 10 – Second-Stage Review starts, as a subset of reviewers collaboratively considers all selections made. A final slate of ~15 applicants is due to the executive director by Oct 5.
- Oct 6 – Invitations are sent to submit full proposals, through a second online form, due Nov 1.
- Nov 2 – Proposal Review starts, with final dockets integrating the full proposals with elements from the initial inquiries. A subset of the Board’s Grantmaking Committee reviews all full proposals, with an eye towards due diligence and any warranted winnowing (by Nov. 16). Beyond that, board members review all vetted proposals through eight additional steps:
- A separate online thread, and shared commentable document, are created for each proposal, in addition to email and Slack discussion spaces.
- All board members vote yes/no on each proposal submitted, by the end of the second week (c.Nov 26).
- Proposals receiving more than several no votes are subject to particularly careful consideration and deliberation.
- Each board member submits quantitative scores to the executive director, who provides the board a non-qualified aggregation of yes/no votes and quantitative scores, by the end of the third week (c.Dec 3), which are shared with the full board in raw form (by c.Dec 4).
- After a week for discussion and reconsideration (including possible resubmission of scores), the executive director summarizes the yes/no votes, aggregate quantitative scores, and online discussions from three locales, and, barring any already-emerging consensus in various discussion spaces, proposes 3-6 potential conclusions, by the end of the fourth week (c.Dec 10).
- The board members discuss extant matters including, if warranted, on a conference call during the fourth or fifth week.
- The full board reaches a conclusion, from suggested resolutions or otherwise, including any board-approved deviations from proposals, and finalizes which grants receive matching and/or doubling funds from funding partners, by the end of the fifth week (c. Dec 16).
- Year-End – Final funding decisions are typically announced between Christmas and New Year’s, sometimes early January.