The Personal Emergency Relief Fund helps artists in Minnesota recover from personal emergencies by helping pay an unanticipated, emergency expense. As part of our response to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, we have expanded the guidelines to include lost income due to the cancellation of a specific, scheduled gig or opportunity (i.e. commissions, performances, contracts) due to Coronavirus/COVID-19 precautionary measures. Artists can request up to $500 to compensate for cancelled work that was scheduled and lost. At this time the fund is not available to compensate for future gigs or potential loss of business. Springboard for the Arts has committed an additional $10,000 from our budget to support this effort and is committed to working with partners to increase the fund based on demand.
Springboard for the Arts committed $10,000 of our budget to expanding the Personal Emergency Relief Fund, and in less than 24 hours, those funds were requested. We are actively fundraising and bringing on partners to expand the fund, and encourage requests to keep coming in. We will fulfill requests as we are able in the order they were received.
Thanks so much to everyone who has applied for the Personal Emergency Relief Fund, and to everyone who has donated to expand the pool. If you want to donate, please follow this link: https://www.givemn.
As demand is also outpacing our total funds available, we wanted to offer these notes of clarification:
-We are focusing on funding needs related to gigs that have been outright cancelled, not just postponed.
- Artists may apply for lost income due to any cancelled gigs, and not just arts-related opportunities.
-The fund is limited to artists in Minnesota.
-If you have already applied, please do not re-apply. We are working through all our received applications as we are able.
-We are working to release funds in blocks of $10,000, so that Springboard's staff can adequately respond to needs and process payments.
Last Thursday, we opened our Artists Emergency Relief Fund to creative workers impacted by Coronavirus related cancellations with $10,000 from our reserve fund. Since then we have been able to raise an additional $25,000 from individuals and other nonprofit organizations. We are so grateful for the many ways that our community is stepping up to help in this complicated, confusing and scary time.
We know that in this moment, artists and creative workers are facing the impact of job and project cancellations and the need is real and immediate – for many artists $500 now is the difference between making rent on April 1 and not. This is a reality for many Americans. The stories we are hearing from creative workers are heartbreaking: artists who put together a living from teaching in schools, working with elders, performances, markets and community events had the bottom fall out in a matter of hours. These stories are also a powerful reminder of the many vital roles that artists, creative workers, and culture makers play in our communities. We will need them to get through this difficult time and we will need them to help our communities recover.
As of Wednesday, 3/18, we have 288 applications for support (compared to the typical pace of the ERF, which is about 2 applications a month), and we are fundraising to meet all those demands. Please help us by sharing the fundraising page with your networks: https://www.givemn.org/story/Epf3ag
Right now we are able to work through about 20 applications a day and are working hard to get payments to people as quickly as possible. We encourage people to keep applying, and know that we are working to be in touch in a timely and efficient way.
This crisis will exacerbate existing systemic disparities in access to funding and making a living and a life, and we know that artists who are already systemically disadvantaged will be hardest hit by loss of income. Moving forward, past this first group of 288 applicants, we will work to prioritize our available funding to reduce those structural disparities. This means we will prioritize:
-Applications from artists who identify as Black, Indigenous, Native and/or People of Color
-Applications from artists who live in rural communities
-Applications from artists in the disability community, including immunocompromised artists
-Applications from artists who identify as LGBTQIA+
Emergency Relief Funds are a short-term, stop-gap measure. The disruption across the whole economy, which has specifically and catastrophically affected the creative, entertainment, service, and retail industries, requires a response larger than any one donor, organization, or foundation. In the upcoming relief packages, independent contractors, freelancers, small businesses and nonprofit organizations will need specific and targeted support. In the long-term, we need to re-imagine how we support each other, creative work, and our mission-driven organizations.
As the humans who make up Springboard’s staff of artists, we are feeling the same things that many of you are feeling; worried, overwhelmed, anxious, grateful, and inspired. Mostly, we feel lucky to have work that puts us in a position to feel useful and helpful right now.
This is a moment we will get through together, taking care of each other. It is also a moment for us to shape a future that supports all of us making a living and a life.
-Springboard for the Arts
P.S. We are also inspired by and grateful to the many people across the country and the world who are setting up emergency funding for artists. We put together a fast set of tools and resources to help people in other places set up emergency funds and we are collecting a list of active funds on our website. See the emergency resource list here: https://springboardforthearts.org/coronavirus/emergency-relief-fund-resources/
Personal Emergency Relief Fund Guidelines
The Fund supplies monies to help cover unexpected expenses directly resulting from a catastrophic, career-threatening event such as theft, fire, flood and health emergency. Emergencies must have taken place within 6 months of the application date.
The intent of the Emergency Relief Fund is not to supplement income due to unemployment or underemployment. However, artists may apply to cover lost income due to the cancellation of a specific, scheduled gig or opportunity (i.e. commissions, performances, contracts) due to Coronavirus/COVID-19 precautionary measures.
The Fund does not cover rent/fees to landlords, home mortgage, utilities, dues to financial institutions (i.e. credit card companies, banks), or any other anticipated expenses. The fund does not cover equipment or automobile repair or replacement unless the loss is a result of theft or natural disaster.
Funding: Artists may apply for up to $500. Applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis, and are subject to approval and available funds. While repayment is not required, an artist who receives $500 funding through the Emergency Relief Fund is not eligible to apply to the Fund again unless they replenish the Fund. Started in 2001 through a $10,000 endowment by theater artist Bob Malos, funds are sustained through donations and repayment by past Relief Fund recipients.
Artists can choose one of one of several options when applying for funds*:
- The Fund can make a direct donation to a GoFundMe, Modest Needs, YouCaring, or other online fundraising mechanism.
- The Fund can issue a prepaid credit card to help cover the emergency expense.
- The Fund can directly pay an unpaid bill that has resulted from the emergency (the applicant must provide a copy of the outstanding bill and, if funded, the Emergency Relief Fund makes payment directly to the business that the artist owes money to).
- In some instances, the Fund can issue a check to the artist applicant or to the business the artist owes money to. Issuing a check may take up to 7 days longer than the options listed in the previous options.
*Artists may need to claim the contribution as income; please consult with a tax expert.
- For a medical emergency, an artist supplies an unanticipated, unpaid medical bill. If funded, Springboard will send a check to the hospital on that artist’s behalf.
- For theft, an artist locates a retailer to replace their stolen items, and verifies that the retailer issues gift cards. If funded, Springboard will purchase a gift card for the artist to make that purchase.
- For a natural disaster, the artist requests funds to help offset expenses they’ve already paid to a contractor to help repair their home (expenses that are not covered by their liability insurance). If funded, Springboard sends a check to the artist.
The examples provided above are intended to give you an idea of qualifying expenses and how they must be 1) unanticipated, and 2) directly related to the emergency. If you would like help determining your own eligibility, please email email@example.com before applying.
Don’t qualify for Springboard’s Emergency Relief Fund or need additional assistance? Please consult this list of emergency resources [PDF] or see the emergency resource list here: https://springboardforthearts.org/coronavirus/emergency-relief-fund-resources/
We have set up a fundraiser to expand the Personal Emergency Relief Fund, so that we can continue to support artists, contractors, and freelancers in Minnesota who have lost income due to Coronavirus/COVID-19. Please click below to give online, or send a check to:
Springboard for the Arts
Attn: Individual Giving
262 University Avenue West
Saint Paul, MN 55103
If you have any questions about individual giving, please contact Katie Hae Leo, Development Director, at katiehl@springboardforthearts, or 651-292-4381.
We've fielded a lot of inquiries about Emergency Relief Fund and how we've managed it, and so we've put together a quick overview resource, "So You Want to Start an Emergency Relief Fund." We're sharing our program structure and big picture thoughts about running an emergency relief fund since 2001. We hope it's useful to you as you plan your response for your community.
Thank you to our Coronavirus/COVID-19 Response Emergency Relief Fund donors!
A Simso Dean
Amy Braford Whittey
Anil B Hurkadli
Anonymous x 124
Arrowhead Regional Arts Council
Carol Daul Elhindi
Cecelia & Arun Caspram
Colleen Carey and Pam Endean
David and Mary-Suzanne Lamkins
Don't You Feel It Too?
Forecast Public Art
Heidi Jedlicka Halvarson
J W Petkau
Jelena and Joe Song
Jeremy Szopinski & Erin Bowley
Joan Bechtold & Brian Balleria
Joni Van Bockel
Katie Hae Leo
Katie Ka Vang
Lindsay & Zach Kacey
Margaret and James Wirth-Johnson
Mary and David Miklethun
Mary K Dew
Mary Kay Zabel
Mike & Laura LaFave
Minnesota Jewelry Arts Guild
Nora Hart McInerny
Norma Jean Falink
Patricia A Canney
Phyllis C Brashler
Reginaldo Reyes Jeffry Lusiak
Robert E Cudahy
Sara Van Norman
Sean & Anne Byrd
Susan and Warren Huhn-Bowles/Bowles
Tanya M Schmitt
Thomas R Loftus
Tricia Van Ee Molbert