Episode 40: Feel Good About Giving with The Mockingbird Foundation

What happens when a group of Phish fans with a common purpose get together and start a non-profit? The Mockingbird Foundation! Taraleigh and Dr. Leah talk with Liora Sponko and Drew Hitz, board members of the Mockingbird Foundation, about the incredible impact the organization has had on music education for children over the past 25 years. Liora shares her experience as a new member and Drew as a seasoned member for over a decade. Listeners learn about specific tour grants that go to each city Phish tours in to give back to the community as well as special projects in store. For the “Did you Know,” Leah shares the positive impact of early music education and Taraleigh gives detailed instructions in how to donate now for the “Daily Jam.”

The Mockingbird Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by Phish fans in 1997 to generate charitable proceeds from the Phish community and beyond. Since they’re entirely volunteer, administrative costs are less than 5% of revenues! So far, they’ve distributed over $1.9M to support music education for children – 534 grants in all 50 states! For more information about The Mockingbird Foundation, visit www.mbird.org.


Liora Sponko leads interactive workshops and speaking engagements to help entrepreneurs, changemakers and creative professionals build an empowering mindset and harness energy to manifest their desires. She is a certified life coach and spiritual coach and has worked in the personal development industry for over 10 years. Liora also serves as the Senior Program Manager for the Oregon Arts Commission and Oregon Cultural Trust, the state agencies that help individuals and communities thrive through arts and culture. Liora is proud to be The Mockingbird Foundation’s newest member of their Board of Directors as it combines her passion for music, philanthropy, Phish and service. In her free time, she enjoys everything outdoors and rockin out to live music as much as possible.

Andrew Hitz is an internationally renowned soloist, clinician and speaker having appeared in over 40 states and 30 countries including Japan, Brazil, Russia and Singapore. He is probably best known for his time as the tuba player and co-owner of Boston Brass. Andrew has also appeared with the National Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Utah Symphony Orchestra, U.S. Army Blues, Alarm Will Sound and the Marine Band of Mexico. 

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