Working with bluegrass associations and music teachers, Play It Forward!, the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation Instrument Lending Program, helps foster music literacy and performance skills in deserving young people (ages 8-21) by providing no-cost access to the primary bluegrass musical instruments such as mandolins, fiddles, banjos, guitars, and resonator guitars. Here’s a short video about the program:

As part of the Play It Forward! program, the Foundation works with local bluegrass clubs and associations to find musicians and music teachers who are willing to become mentors for young people who wish to borrow starter instruments under the program. 

The Play It Forward! program operates much like your public library:

• Young people are asked to complete an application and provide parental consent to participation

• The estimated value of the instrument will be stated in an agreement that encourages responsibility for the instrument by the borrower.

• Participants are expected to send a thank-you note to the instrument donor, if applicable, or to the Foundation.

In addition, participants are asked to locate a mentor in their area who will assist them in learning the basics of their instrument and the etiquette of playing with others in a disciplined musical environment.

Because maintaining instruments is necessary to keeping them easy and fun to play (and to keeping them viable for many years), the Foundation maintains a fund for the maintenance and upkeep of program instruments.  The Foundation coordinates with the participants and with their mentors to make sure that the instruments are properly cared for over time.

Loan periods are for one year, with additional annual renewals possible following an inspection of the instrument by the participant’s mentor, teacher, or the Foundation.  When the borrower is ready to acquire an instrument of their own, they must return the borrowed instrument to the Foundation so that it can be “played forward” to another deserving young person.

You can participate in this program by donating cash or bluegrass musical instruments. The Foundation will make sure that donated instruments are in good working order before they are offered for use by a young person.  Donors will receive a receipt for their donation and the assurance that their donation will benefit a deserving young person.

For more information or if you would like to make a donation, please contact the Foundation.
The Bluegrass Heritage Foundation is a non-profit organization, run by volunteers,
promoting bluegrass music in Texas. While it's free to get in the door to many of our events,
keeping the doors open isn't free. All contributions are greatly appreciated.


The Minnesota Play it Forward program is an affiliate of the Bluegrass Heritage Foundations program. With a local board that administers the program locally by folks who are part of the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old Time Music Association. Denny and Tom are the Chairpersons of the Minnesota affiliate program here, with Marilyn Burgum, David and Renee Anderson, Dan Cook, Sarah Birkeland as advisory board members. David and Renee will be warehousing the instruments we receive. We got 2 Violins from the parent organization in Dallas to get us started and we have more local donations on the way.

Please consider donating any instruments that you are no longer using so that someone who can’t afford and instrument can have one loaned to them. Contact us at to have us pick it up or bring it to one of the MBOTMA festivals just let us know your intentions so we make sure we have someone to take care of your donation when you bring it in.  We can also use cash for purchasing entry level instruments and repairs on used instruments that need some TLC. Also consider being a Mentor not a teacher but one who can encourage the younger generation to pick up and play Bluegrass & Old Time Music.

Make donations payable “Play it Forward” and write Minnesota in the Memo line. We opted to have the National handle the money. The National is monitored by a CPA and Tax Attorney and keeps us from have having to worry about it. We just submit purchases and repair bills and they are paid out of the National office in Dallas. TX.

Please feel free to take the time and check out the National’s website at There are many events that take place and listen on the net to the Bluegrass Heritage Radio show, there is a link on the website.

    Minnesota Play it Forward!

Please go to contacts page to email about Instruments Donations