Over the past three decades, I have been an active member of the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA). I’ve been on several committees, given a keynote speech, led workshops, produced awards shows and more. But the most gratifying job I’ve had has been serving on the board of the IBMA’s Bluegrass Music Trust Fund. The Trust Fund provides financial assistance to people inside the bluegrass music industry who find themselves in a serious financial crisis. Recipients of financial help from the Fund have included everyone from hall-of-fame recording artists to little-known side musicians and concert promoters. Sonny Osborne (hall of fame banjo player) once told me “You’ve got the best job in bluegrass” and he’s right. It’s an honor to be part of this effort by the bluegrass music community to give back to those who have blessed their lives with so much great music over the years.
The Trust Fund is supported by donations by individuals and organizations and shares proceeds from the annual Wide Open Bluegrass Festival which takes place on the weekend following the business conference. The IBMA is itself a non-profit charitable organization which provides the infrastructure for the bluegrass music industry and helps advance the careers of bluegrass music professionals. A third non-profit is the Bluegrass Music Foundation, which promotes bluegrass music education for children, youth and the general public.
The IBMA is now requesting bluegrass music lovers to include either of these organizations into year-end giving plans. With much gratitude for the positive role that bluegrass music has played in my life, I support these organizations and am happy to recommend them to you for your financial consideration. Here’s a statement from the IBMA:
“At IBMA, we believe bluegrass is more than music. It is emergency assistance, music education, career development, and so much more. It is real impact for real people made possible by your support. Please donate now to the combined giving campaign of the IBMA, IBMA Trust Fund, and IBMA Foundation. In addition to your donation, we want to know what bluegrass is to you. Share your own story by posting a video, picture, or statement on social media using #MoreThanMusic.”