March 25, 2020

In an effort to support traditional artists and organizations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting loss of bookings, programming, and income, ACTA has compiled a shortlist of funding and readiness resources. This page will be updated as new funding and support resources become available.

If you haven’t already, please make your voice heard by filling out the Economic Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the Arts and Cultural Sector survey from Americans for the Arts. It takes five minutes, and the information will directly impact emergency funding advocacy efforts at the national level.

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)

The CARES Act offers many funding opportunities for small businesses, non-profits, sole proprietorships, freelancers, contract workers, and gig economy workers.

View an online ACTA roundtable with speakers from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and Fiscal Management Associates (FMA) answering questions on how traditional arts organizations can apply for federal funds.

Watch the Roundtable

Here is a breakdown of key opportunities compiled  by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation:

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) — please see 4/22 update below!

Applications open FRIDAY APRIL 3 for the Small Business Administration (SBA)’s Paycheck Protection Program for nonprofits and small businesses (those organizations with fewer than 499 employees). The program will also be available to sole proprietors, independent contractors and self-employed individuals starting next Friday, April 10.

The Paycheck Protection Program loans will be completely forgiven (turned into grants) so long as 75% of the borrowed amount is used for payroll, and the recipient does not lower salaries or lay off staff (or rehires staff within a prescribed timeframe if those individuals have already been laid off).

Importantly, the program is first-come, first-served, so it is important to get your application in as soon as possible. The SBA estimates the application, including information gathering, will take less than 10 minutes to complete. The SBA has posted a sample application and instructions on its website.

These loans can be used for payroll costs, costs associated with vacation, sick leave, and healthcare benefits, as well as things like mortgage and utility payments, with at least 75% of the forgiven amount of the loan used for payroll. Loan amounts for each applying organization are based on 250% of average monthly payroll from February to June 2019 and capped at $10 million.

Organizations will apply through existing SBA lenders or participating financial institutions. You should start by consulting with your organization’s current bank to see if it is participating in the program, but you can also apply at any SBA-approved bank even if your organization doesn’t have an account there. Already there is news that today’s rollout of the program has been rocky, so you may need to be both patient and persistent as the bumps get smoothed out.

To apply, organizations should:

  1. Review the additional resources provided below.
  2. Check to see if the bank your organization currently works with is participating in the program, or identify a lending institution on this approved list.
  3. Refer to the sample calculation document to calculate your organization’s payroll costs, which will help you estimate your total loan request.
  4. Gather internal decision makers (executive director, board members, finance team, etc.) to review governance processes and reach consensus on the decision to apply for a loan.
  5. Complete the sample application for submission to lender as soon as possible; ideally today: Friday, April 3.

Check out the Paycheck Protection Program Toolkit by Fiscal Management Associates for more details.

ACTA has applied for these funds, and our Director of Administration Amy Lawrence is happy to share her experience with you! Just reach out to her:

UPDATE on PPP (4/22/20):

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) available to non-profits and small businesses is anticipated to reopen within days and, as experience showed us, most likely to run out of funds very quickly. The biggest barrier to entry to the program is finding a lender. If you are a California non-profit (or know of one) planning to apply for the second wave of funding, please take a look at the information linked in ACTA’s April 22 email here sent on behalf of Self-Help Credit Union.


Emergency Economic Injury Grants & Economic Injury Disaster Loan

This program is administered directly by the SBA, offers low-interest (below 4%) loans of up to $2 million, but importantly these loans must be repaid (except for an initial advance of $10,000, payable within three days of the application date, which does not have to be repaid). Applicants to this program may also apply for the Paycheck Protection Program described above. Learn more here.


*NEW* Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

>>> Mark your calendars: The state Employment Development Department (EDD) will be accepting online applications for the PUA program beginning on TUESDAY, April 28. <<<

As part of the federal CARES Act, the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program helps unemployed Californians who are business owners, self-employed, independent contractors, have limited work history, and others not usually eligible for regular state UI benefits who are out of business or services are significantly reduced as a direct result of the pandemic. Details on this new program can be found here.

For Individual Artists

East Bay/Oakland Relief Fund for Individuals in the Arts
Distributing $625,000 to help the region’s artists, teaching artists, culture bearers, and nonprofit arts workers who comprise the various and diverse cultural communities of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, with dedicated support for those in the City of Oakland.
Deadline: June 5, 5 p.m.

Sweet Relief COVID-19 Fund for musicians + music industry workers
Funds available to be used specifically for musicians and music industry workers affected by the Coronavirus, who make at least 50% of their income from working within the music community.
Deadline: rolling

Bay Area Art Workers Relief Fund
The Bay Area Arts Worker Relief Funds are resources for arts workers who are facing a loss of income due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. This application is specifically for people working within the visual, literary, media, film and video arts.
Deadline: rolling

Street Vendor Emergency Fund
Inclusive Action has reopened applications for direct cash assistance ($400 cash cards) through The Street Vendor Emergency Fund! If you are a street vendor or know one who is in need, encourage them to contact Inclusive Action directly ( to receive the application.
Deadline: They will close the application once they’ve reached the funding limit for this round.

Artist Relief
A coalition of national arts grantmakers have come together to create an emergency initiative to distribute $5,000 grants to artists facing dire financial emergencies due to COVID-19.  Traditional artists are eligible to apply.
Deadline: Cycle 1 deadline is April 23

NDN Collective’s COVID-19 Response Project
Designed to provide immediate relief to some of the most underserved communities in the country. NDN’s intent is to quickly distribute resources to frontline organizations, Tribes, and individuals who are providing essential services to Indigenous communities within the next 15-45 days to provide gap resources during this health crisis.
Deadline: rolling through the end of May 2020

Los Angeles Dept. of Cultural Affairs COVID-19 Arts Emergency Relief Fund
This program provides emergency relief grants to City of Los Angeles-based dance, music, and theatre artists, as well as small ensembles who have had their public performances, shows, or concerts cancelled. Solo artists are eligible for up to $400 and ensembles up to $1,200 to cover losses in time and/or materials that were committed toward events, which were to have taken place at a venue within the City of Los Angeles and were to be open to the general public.
Deadline: May 1, 2020 for Round One – Performing artists and ensembles in dance, music, or theater

Laguna Beach Artists’ Benevolence Fund
The Artists’ Benevolence Fund is a unique source of financial assistance to artists living in Laguna Beach, who have suffered a catastrophic event, leaving them unable to work.
Deadline: rolling, monthly

Rauschenberg Emergency Grants
NYFA has partnered with the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation to administer a new medical emergency grant program called Rauschenberg Emergency Grants. Beginning in late May/early June 2020, the program will provide visual and media artists and choreographers with one-time grants of up to $5,000 for medical emergencies including but not limited to: hospital and doctor bills (including insurance co-pays), tests, physical/occupational therapy, prescription drugs specifically for the emergency medical condition, and emergency dental work.

Artists Now
Helping Bay Area artists in need get an immediate $500.
Deadline: Current round closed, but sign up for email to be notified of next round

MusiCares Relief Fund
Basic living assistance (rent or mortgage) for music industry professionals. Initial grant requests can be made up to $1000 to compensate for cancelled work that was scheduled and lost
Deadline: rolling

Emergency funding available to established artists working in a craft discipline.
Deadline: rolling

Bay Area Safety Net Fund
Supports artists in the Bay Area, up to $500 per person per month
Deadline: rolling

Arts and Culture Leaders of Color Emergency Fund
Fund for US-based BIPOC artists and administrators, $200 per person, first-come-first-served
Deadline: rolling

The Creator Fund
Assistance with medical needs, groceries, childcare, and mortgage/rent for active creators, up to $500
Deadline: rolling

LA Dance Emergency Fund
Grants of up to $500 for dancers/dance companies (residents of Greater Los Angeles)

COVID-19 Performing Arts Worker Relief Fund (Bay Area)
From Theatre Bay Area. While its website doesn’t specify how much aid is available, they encourage those seeking support to email to apply

The Blues Foundation HART Fund
The HART Fund offers financial assistance to blue musicians for health-related expenses, and artists need to call or email directly to apply

New Music Solidarity Fund
Helps new/creative/improvised music freelancers whose livelihood has been threatened as a result of performances which have been canceled

Soze Foundation Artist and Activist Relief Fund
For artists + activists whose work has been impacted by COVID-19 (currently on waitlist)

Bay Area Arts Crisis Navigator
The Hewlett Foundation’s Bay Area Arts Crisis Navigator newsletter provides a carefully curated set of resources and advice for artists and small arts organizations to help them find their way through the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Artist Relief Fund List
List of resources compiled by the SF Symphony

TRAIN: Teachers of Remote Arts Instruction Network
Our friends at Virginia Folklife Program have offered to open up this resource, TRAIN: Teachers of Remote Arts Instruction Network, to California-based artists. Created in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating impact on the livelihoods of artists, TRAIN connects interested students of all skill levels with a diverse range of master musicians, craftspeople, and tradition bearers offering online instructional opportunities. Become a TRAIN instructor today.

Resources for Teaching Artists
Webinar and resources for teaching artists

Free Online Workshops for Artists: Coping with COVID
Series of free online workshops designed to help artists mitigate the effects of the pandemic and economic situation

Women’s Center for Creative Work COVID-19 Emergency Health Grant For Artists
$1,000 grants with a weekly rolling deadline
Update: WCCW has temporarily closed applications but may reopen again with more funding.


For Organizations

LA Regional Covid Relief Fund
The Fund will deploy $3 million in grants available at $5,000 for micro-entrepreneurs and $15,000 for small businesses and non-profits over the course of 4 months.
Deadline: rolling (next deadline August 7, 2020)

Arts Loan Fund from Northern California Grantmakers
The Arts Loan Fund announced a COVID-19 Emergency Loan product to support arts and culture nonprofits and fiscally sponsored organizations in the eleven Bay Area counties. Organizations can apply for these low-interest loans to cover basic expenses such as staff salaries, artist payments, rent and other operating costs during this challenging time. Learn more and apply here.

National Endowment for the Arts’ CARES Act Funds
The NEA announced its guidelines to swiftly distribute funding to nonprofit arts organizations from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to preserve jobs and help support organizations forced to close operations due to the spread of COVID-19. You must have been a NEA award recipient within the past 4 years to be eligible for these funds!
Deadline: April 22 with the earliest announcement of grant award or rejection by June 30.

NDN Collective’s COVID-19 Response Project
Designed to provide immediate relief to some of the most underserved communities in the country. NDN’s intent is to quickly distribute resources to frontline organizations, Tribes, and individuals who are providing essential services to Indigenous communities within the next 15-45 days to provide gap resources during this health crisis.
Deadline: rolling through the end of May 2020

Business Continuity for Nonprofits
from Nonprofit Risk Management Center

Loss of Income Calculator from Performing Arts Readiness

Preparing for for Potential Impact of Coronavirus
Temporary closure readiness steps from ArtsReady

San Francisco Foundation Emergency Response Fund
Limited number of one-time grants ($3,000 – $25,000) to SF Bay Area nonprofits addressing racial bias, worker protection, homelessness and renter protection/housing security, and food security.

COVID-19 Emergency Loans
Low-interest loans supporting arts and culture nonprofits and fiscally sponsored organizations in eleven Bay Area counties

Fundraising in Difficult Times handbook from Fractured Atlas

Principles for Ethical Cancellation from Springboard


For Families

Families First Coronavirus Response Act
The FFCRA contains several separate Acts, including Acts to expand family and medical leave and guarantee emergency paid sick leave for employees who work for public and private employers. Certain employees are now entitled to paid family and medical leave and emergency paid sick leave.


More Resources

California Immigrant Resilience Fund
On Wednesday, Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR) and 12 philanthropic partners launched the California Immigrant Resilience Fund, an effort to provide cash assistance to undocumented Californians and their families who are ineligible for COVID-19 federal relief and state safety-net programs. The Resilience Fund’s initial goal is to raise $50 million.

Office Hours with Nina from Americans for the Arts
Beginning April 10th between 11:00 am and 12:00 pm EST, Monday through Friday, over the next two weeks, drop in to Zoom for “Office Hours with Nina” with Nina Ozlu Tunceli, Executive Director of Americans for the Arts. Nina will be available to help you navigate the complex web of funding opportunities, federal regulations, and deadlines related to the $2.3 trillion federal aid package in the CARES Act.

California Coronavirus Response

Freelance Artist Resource List

SF Arts and Artists Relief Fund
For artists and organizations

Los Angeles City Arts Emergency Relief Fund
For artists and organizations

National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures Arts Resources List

Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Cultures Resource List

San Francisco Arts Commission COVID-19 Resource List

National Endowment for the Arts Resource List

Californians for the Arts Resources

Resources for Businesses and Employees Impacted by COVID-19
San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development

List of Grant Funding Opportunities from GrantForward

Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative Resource Hub

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