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News from Gale Brewer

Help Available for Freelancers

Here’s a list of active grant programs available to freelancers:

Freelancers Relief Fund:

Launched by Freelancers Union, this program offers financial assistance of up to $1,000 per freelance household to cover lost income and essential expenses not covered by government relief programs. This includes: food/food supplies, utility payments, cash assistance to cover income loss. Eligibility:

  • Primarily reside in the US
  • Must have performed freelance work as their primary source of income for at least one year prior to their application
  • Eligible freelance businesses: sole proprietors, LLCs, or other entity provided there is no more than one employee
  • Experience a sudden decrease of at least 50% of income as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, including those experiencing contract cancelations or loss of work due to social distancing measures, experiencing COVID-19 illness or caring for immediate family members infected with COVID-19.
  • Your application must include a narrative and provide tangible documentation of income loss. The following document sets are sufficient: 2019 tax filings or annualized financial statements, two consecutive months of 2020 financial statements, and/or canceled contracts or relevant client communications.
  • Financial documents can include: tax returns (including schedule C statements if applicable), bank statements, or CPA-certified profit & loss statements.
  • Freelancers Union members may be given priority.

Link to Freelancers Relief Fund application here.

The Red Backpack Fund

The foundation donated $5 million to GlobalGiving to establish The Red Backpack Fund, providing at least 1,000 grants of $5,000 each to female entrepreneurs including freelancers in the U.S. to help alleviate immediate needs and support the long term recover of those impacted by this crisis. Eligibility:

  • At least 51% majority-women owned
  • Registered in the U.S. and its territories as a legal entity
  • Annual revenues did not exceed $5 million in any of the past three years
  • At least 18 years of age

Link to Red Backpack Fund application. Deadline: May 11 at 12:00 pm ET.

TRANS LAB Covid-19 Relief:

TRANS LAB is a NY based fellowship program for trans and gender nonconforming theater artists. They are offering 20 $100 stipends to help off-set the costs of whatever line item on your budget is needing a little extra cash, and are sending out financial aid via Venmo or PayPal. Recipients will be notified on Friday May 10.

Link to TRANS LAB Covid-19 relief fund application.

The Actors Fund:

The Actors Fund has partnered with other entertainment industry organizations to provide emergency financial assistance to those in immediate financial need. Funds are available to union and non-union workers in entertainment and the performing arts. Website has 12 funds listed and will help you apply to each one you’re eligible for. You may be eligible for more than one fund. Some funds are only for Southern California based workers.

Link to Actors Fund application.

Arts and Culture Leaders of Color Emergency Fund:

This fund is for US-based BIPOC artists and administrators, and makes a one-time micro grant of $200.

Link to Emergency Fund application. (Google form)  Email documents you would like to attach to your application to

Foundation for Contemporary Arts:

The Foundation for Contemporary Arts is creating a temporary fund to meet the needs of experimental artists who have been impacted by the economic fallout from postponed or canceled performances and exhibitions. The Foundation will disburse one-time $1,500 grants to artists who have had performances or exhibitions canceled or postponed because of the pandemic. Eligibility Requirements:

  • FCA will continue to focus its support on artists making work of a contemporary, experimental nature.
    Relief will be provided to artists who can demonstrate that they have had an engagement canceled or postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Applicants must be individual artists, or an individual representing an artist collective, ensemble, or group. Curators, producers, workshop organizers, organizations, or arts presenters are not eligible to apply.
    Applicants must be living in the United States or U.S. territories and have a U.S. Tax ID Number (SSN, EIN, ITIN, or other)
  • For the purpose of providing COVID-19 relief, they are temporarily suspending the three year waiting period between grants. If you have received a grant from the Foundation in the past three years you may apply for COVID-19 relief.

Link to Foundation for Contemporary Arts application.

NYC Dance/NYC Relief Fund:

The NYC Dance/NYC Relief Fund offers monthly awards of $500 (with a max of $1500 across the grant period) for freelance dance workers. Funds will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis until all funds are exhausted for a given month.  Eligibility:

  • Are an individual dance worker, as defined by the following: dancer, dance performer, choreographer, dance photographer, dance videographer, teaching artist, and related artistic and technical personnel such as: technicians (lighting, stage management, production, etc.), dance musicians/accompanists, independent presenters, producers, agents and/or managers, dance theatre personnel (ushers, in-house vendors, etc.).
  • Based in the metropolitan NYC area.
  • Are able to provide the following information to process digital payment.
  • A Tax Identification Number, which can include any of the following: social security number (SSN), employer identification number (EIN) or an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN).
  • Bank Account Number and Routing Number.

Priority given to applicants who:

  • Demonstrate need, defined as the amount of income lost in confirmed employment or “gigs” taking place from March 1, 2020, through June 30, 2020, as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus and/or related City mandated cancellation of activities that equals or exceeds $1,000/month.
  • Are able to provide proof of the aforementioned losses.
  • The Fund will prioritize supporting communities most impacted by COVID-19 including African, Latina/o/x, Asian, Arab, and Native American (ALAANA), disabled, immigrant, and women-identifying artists, as well as those at high risk including elderly and immunosuppressed artists.

Link to NYC Dance/NYC Relief Fund application. May’s applications open Friday, May, 8, 2020 at 10 am.

NYC Wing Space Theatrical Design:

Micro-grants for NYC-based freelance theater designers or dramaturges are is not affiliated with an institution and does not have access to unemployment insurance benefits or a financial safety net. A project of Wingspace Theatrical Design and is fiscally sponsored by Notch Theatre Company.  The application is currently at capacity and another round of disbursements will be made as soon as they reach their next fundraising goal of $60,000 (note: they are very close). Will continue to fundraise and release micro-grants of $100-$500 through summer 2020. Grant size is based on the number of people who apply.

Link to NYC Wing Space waiting list application.

NYC Ghostlight Fund:

Intended for short-term financial assistance for personal needs that have arisen due to Covid-19. Funding may be awarded for needs such as rent, utilities, medical expenses, psychotherapy, and other personal expenses. Eligibility:

  • Applicants must be at least 18 years or older at the time of application.
  • Applicants must have been employed in the Theater District of New York City and laid off due to Covid-19 concerns.
  • Applicants must have been considered a paid intern, part time, or freelance employee for at least 3 months during the last year. (Those full-time employees represented by a union will be considered on a case by case basis.)

Link to NYC Ghostlight Fund application.

NYC Dancers Relief Fund (Covid-19):

Next application deadline will be announced soon (likely in early June). This fundraiser is run by The Dance Union, an organizing group facilitated by J Bouey and Melanie Greene. Prioritizing the needs of freelance BIPOC, disabled, trans/NB/GNC/queer, dance artists as well as those who will not have access to emergency funds due to immigration status. This fund offers urgent relief to freelance dance artist that have suffered financial losses in the dance field due to the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus and the government enforced social restrictions.

Link to NYC Dancers Relief Fund application.

Click here to donate.

Crew Nation Global Relief Fund for Live Music Crews:

Crew Nation is powered by Music Forward Foundation, a 501c3 that will be administering the fund. Live Nation has committed $10 million to Crew Nation – contributing an initial $5 million then matching the next $5 million given by artist, fans, and employees dollar for dollar.

Link to Crew Nation application. Application window will open the week of May 18, 2020.

Passim Emergency Artist Relief Fund:

To assist musicians who are in dire need of financial aid due to the COVID-19 pandemic, where a huge amount of musicians are losing income due to relying on a gig economy. Artists who have lost a gig due to COVID-19 precautions can apply; they will be asked if they have another reliable source of income & what percentage of their income comes through gigging. The ask of the artist must not exceed $500. Prerequisite for applying: artists must have played a gig for Passim (or taught in the School of Music) in the last 10 years, and must be willing to participate in “KEEP YOUR DISTANCE Fest” and share to their network of fans.

Link to Passim Emergency Artist Relief Fund application.

Pinetop Assistance League

The Pinetop Perkins Foundation encourages young people at the beginning of their musical career; and helps provide for elderly musicians at the twilight of their career. The Pinetop Assistance League Fund will provide emergency financial assistance to elderly musicians for medical and living expenses such as:
temporary home care services, transportation to and from doctor’s appointments, health and/or social services such as (but not limited to) dialysis, chemotherapy, radiation, transport to and from grocery/pharmacy stores, doctor visits and procedures, emergency services, financial aid for household utilities or other basic living expenses, assistance with burial costs. Eligibility:

  • Must be 50 years or older
  • Plays professionally on stage on a local, regional or national level
  • Has played on professional albums/CDs
  • Household adjusted gross income is less than $30,000
  • During this time of heightened need they are limiting their grants to $500, paid directly to creditors.

Link to Pinetop Assistance League application.

Mayer Foundation

The Mayer Foundation makes economic relief grants to needy individuals who are distressed or suffering as a result of poverty, low income or lack of financial resources, including as a result of natural or civil disasters, or from temporary impoverishment, loss of employment, death or incapacity of a family wage earner or damage to home and property. They provide health care to those who cannot afford health care or whose health insurance or financial resources are insufficient to cover medical needs; makes grants to other IRS 501(C)(3) organizations for educational, literary, cultural, humanitarian, scientific, health-care related and other charitable purposes; and awards scholarship benefits and student aid to high school, college or graduate school students to enable completion of an undergraduate or graduate education. Grant sizes vary but generally range around $2,000 per grant, and are focused on New York City.

Link to Mayer Foundation application.

Categories: News from Gale Brewer