Saturday 09/05/2020 by phishnet


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 basiArtwork by <a href=''>Josean Rivera</a>, used with permissions, 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.


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