As the COVID-19 public health emergency began to develop, The Mockingbird Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving access to music education, began fundraising efforts to grant money to programs that were actively developing strong responses to challenges presented by the pandemic. In the past, the Foundation had issued Emergency Response Grants on a regional basis, such as in the aftermath of a natural disaster. But the pandemic presented a national-level crisis with both immediate and long-term effects, and we knew it would cause seismic shifts not only in musical teaching techniques, but also in governmental and charitable funding of music programs nationwide.
Mockingbird announced the COVID-19 Relief fundraising effort at the end of May. We allocated $25,000 of existing funds to launch this effort, while asking the Phish fan community to donate $25,000, which we pledged to match, totaling $75,000. Not only did the community help us reach the goal within only two months, their collective donations were double that goal! We are thus able to fund $100,000 in grants for this round of emergency giving. We cannot thank all of our donors enough for your amazing support of music education!
Hundreds of individual donations were made through our fundraising channels over the summer. Many of the donations were exceptional and substantial, and there were sizable donations not only from new donors but from long-time donors as well. Among the donations, sadly, were numerous tributes to family members and friends lost to COVID-19, dramatizing its impact on our community and the communities of many other music fans nationwide.
Our community’s spectacular fundraising response inspired us to promptly identify needy programs that were facing new challenges arising from the pandemic. We developed different criteria to review previous applicants and grantees, and also examined inquiries submitted for our 25th Round of annual giving within approximately the last year, the application period for which concluded on August 1st. In addition, we researched outside our customary channels for organizations that were creatively providing - or seeking funds to try to provide - musical education to students in this time of unprecedented challenges.
Mockingbird announced our first COVID-19 Relief Response grant to Girls Rock Detroit on June 25th, one month after launching the campaign. The $5,000 grant helped their summer camp to continue virtually after they lost the ability to host in-person fundraising events. One week later, we announced that Heartbeat Music Project in Crown Point, New Mexico, would receive $5,000 to support their music education program for Navajo (Diné) children living in the Navajo Nation, which suffered COVID-19 related illnesses and deaths disproportionately to other regions.
Our next grant for COVID-19 Relief, announced on August 7th, was for $5,000 to A Place Called Home, who is offering 45 online classes a week for families in South Central Los Angeles. The grant will assist them in providing virtual music instruction by ensuring that South Central Los Angeles students have the technology and materials to access the classes. Two weeks later, we announced a $5,000 grant for Harmony, Hope, and Healing, an organization in Chicago that was able to quickly move all of its music classes online. Focused on supporting individuals as they heal from traumas associated with homelessness, violence, incarceration, and addiction, Harmony, Hope, and Healing will use the funds for technological investments and to acquire additional instruments for their participants.
Then, on Saturday, August 29th, Phish’s charitable organization, The Waterwheel Foundation, announced that The Mockingbird Foundation would be the recipient of donations generated by the Dinner And A Movie Episode 23 triple-feature of webcasts from Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado, over Labor Day weekend. This gracious gesture by Phish and WaterWheel presented us with a unique opportunity to shine a brighter light on many remarkable music education programs and amplify their powerful messages more resoundingly than we could have ever hoped.
Mockingbird Board members - all volunteers - then proceeded to work on an expedited basis with numerous grantees to complete the necessary paperwork to issue more grants. Everyone acknowledged the need for speed, because we wanted to announce them during the course of the weekend’s webcasts.
With great thanks to the efforts of our volunteers and grantees, The Mockingbird Foundation is honored to announce the remaining 20 grantees chosen to receive an unsolicited Emergency Grant as part of our COVID-19 Relief Response. Please join us in recognizing the unique visions of the following organizations and their genuine dedication to high quality music education:
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Phish.net is a non-commercial project run by Phish fans and for Phish fans under the auspices of the all-volunteer, non-profit Mockingbird Foundation.
This project serves to compile, preserve, and protect encyclopedic information about Phish and their music.
The Mockingbird Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by Phish fans in 1996 to generate charitable proceeds from the Phish community.
And since we're entirely volunteer – with no office, salaries, or paid staff – administrative costs are less than 2% of revenues! So far, we've distributed just about $1,500,000 to support music education for children – hundreds of grants in all 50 states, with more on the way.