Grants for Freelancers and Artists During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Friday, April 03, 2020

If you freelance for print magazines and publications, you may have seen publishers suspending their print issues due to printers closing and a decline in media advertising. Maybe you've had contracts or projects canceled. While there are still plenty of freelance opportunities online, and a sudden surge of publishers looking for COVID-19 stories (including some we published in a recent WOW Markets Newsletter), the competition is fierce. For those who need help, there are grants and fellowships to support freelance writers and artists. (Note: many of the art grants are for all disciplines of the arts, and that includes creative writers.) See the huge list below.

There is also the CARES Act. One stipulation in the federal stimulus bill, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law in late March, involves extending additional unemployment benefits to certain self-employed freelancers and independent contractors who previously would not have been eligible for such coverage, though some restrictions apply. Those interested in determining whether they’re eligible should check the website of their state government’s Department of Labor. Find your state's links here.

Also, you might want to check out the Small Business Administration's SBA website to find out about loans for freelance 1099 contractors.

Here are some other funds for writers and artists:

The International Women’s Media Foundation
The International Women’s Media Foundation’s Journalism Relief Fund is open to female journalists who are in urgent need of assistance, including freelancers with no other sources of income or those who have been recently laid off, providing grants of up to $2,000 on a case-by-case basis. Details

The Freelancers Union
The Freelancers Union has established a Freelancers Relief Fund offering assistance of up to $1,000 for independent contractors who have “experienced a recent, sudden, and unforeseen hardship or loss of income as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Details

Pen America
PEN America will distribute grants of $500 to $1,000 based on applications that demonstrate an inability to meet an acute financial need, especially one resulting from the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. Details

National Geographic Society
The National Geographic Society is accepting applications for grants ranging from $1,000 to $8,000 to journalists covering the COVID-19 pandemic, prioritizing those delivering news to underserved communities. Details

The newsletter platform Substack is offering grants ranging from $500 to $5,000 for independent writers facing economic hardship due to the pandemic. Applications are being accepted through Tuesday, April 7. Details

Queer Writers of Color Relief Fund
Queer writers of color can apply for the Queer Writers of Color Relief Fund. Their goal is to make disbursements once every day after receiving $5,000. Details

FIJ Coronavirus Rolling Grant for US Freelancers
The Fund for Investigative Journalists is looking for stories on the coronavirus that break new ground and expose wrongdoing – such as corruption, malfeasance, or abuse of power – in the public and private sectors. Grants average $5,000 but can be as high as $10,000. Details

516 Arts Coronavirus/COVID-19 Emergency Grants for Artists via the Fulcrum Fund
Fulcrum Fund to award $60,000 in emergency relief grants, providing $1,000 to 60 individual artists living and working within an 80-mile radius of Albuquerque that have lost income, or anticipate losing income as a result of cancellations caused by the  coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. Details

American Society of Journalists and Authors Emergency Assistance Fund
The Writers Emergency Assistance Fund helps established freelance writers who, because of illness, disability, a natural disaster, or an extraordinary professional crisis are unable to work. Coronavirus-related WEAF funds are only available to those who cannot work because they are currently ill or caring for someone who is ill. Funds are not available to those who have lost work because publishers and/or clients are no longer assigning due of the pandemic. Maximum grant: $3,500. Details

COVID-19 Artist Trust Relief Fund
The COVID-19 Artist Trust Relief Fund provides rapid response grants supporting critical needs of artists whose livelihoods have been impacted by COVID-19. Grants range from $500-$5,000 based on artists’ needs. Details

4 Culture Cultural Relief Fund (King County, WA)
Grants up to $2,000 are available for emergencies related to the COVID-19 virus and to support the creative responses cultural workers offer in times of crisis. Details

Anonymous Was A Woman (AWAW) Emergency Relief Grant
The program will distribute $250,000 in unrestricted grants, up to $2,500 apiece, to artists who have experienced financial hardship from loss of income or opportunity as a direct result of the COVID-19 crisis. Open to women-identifying visual artists over the age of 40 in the United States and territories. Details

Arts and Culture Leaders of Color Emergency Fund
The Arts and Culture Leaders of Color Emergency Fund is intended to help those pursuing careers as artists or arts administrators whose income has been directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This fund is for those who self-identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color). Details

Arts for Illinois Relief Fund (Illinois)
A statewide effort that provides financial relief to artists and arts organizations with urgent need due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through AIRF, 3Arts will issue $1,500 unrestricted, one-time grants to as many eligible artists as possible, given the total funding available. Applications close on Wednesday, April 8Details

Arts Greensboro Emergency Relief Fund (Greensboro, NC)
Any artist in need of support due to cancellations from the outbreak of COVID-19. This fund is a money-in, money-out fund. ArtsGreensboro will disperse funds weekly, based on the amount donated. This fund is directed to working artists. Details

Artist Relief Project
Anyone pursuing the arts as a career (any discipline, any level of experience) can request financial support from the Artist Relief Project, which will provide applicants on a first-come, first-serve basis with a one-time emergency stipend of $200 and free resources and support to pursue alternative economic opportunities. Details

Behind the Scenes Grant 
Behind the Scenes will accept applications from anyone who has been hospitalized with Covid-19 and is in financial need. You may be eligible for a grant if you currently reside in the United States or Canada and have earned your living for at least five years in the entertainment technology industry. This means that your major source of income is from your work in this industry, which includes being directly involved with production: behind the scenes in any type of performance venue, or behind the camera, or on the road. Details

Boston Music Maker Relief Fund (Boston, MA)
The Record Co. has established a fund to provide financial relief to Boston area music makers experiencing lost income as the result of performance cancellations related to COVID-19. Small grants of up to $200 will be paid rapidly on a first come, first served basis to affected artists and groups. Details

Boston Singers' Relief Fund COVID-19 Emergency Relief (Boston, MA)
The Boston Singers' Relief Fund is offering a streamlined application process for grants up to $500. New England-based singers whose classical performances were cancelled due to concerns over COVID-19 are eligible to apply. Details

Bridgesong Fund (Western Massachusetts)
Emergency relief for western MA women, nonbinary, and genderqueer artists of color. Details

Cambridge Artist Relief Fund (Cambridge, MA)
Focused on lost income, current and into the foreseeable future, the Fund will provide one-time relief to arts organizations and artists who live, work, create, and/or perform in Cambridge. Only one grant per applicant is allowed. Details

CCI San Francisco Arts & Artists Relief Fund (San Francisco, CA)
An emergency relief fund to mitigate COVID-19 related financial losses that artists and small to mid-size arts and culture organizations have suffered. Details

City of Boston Artist Relief Fund (Boston, MA)
The Boston Artist Relief Fund will award grants of $500 and $1,000 to individual artists who live in Boston whose creative practices and incomes are being adversely impacted by Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Details

Arts Emergency Relief Fund (Los Angeles, CA)
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. Details

Creative Industry Relief Fund (Fort Worth, TX)
Hear Fort Worth and Film Fort Worth with assistance from United Way of Tarrant County have established a creative industry relief fund to help support musicians, artists, performers and filmmakers who have lost work due to COVID-19. Details

Crosshatch Artist Emergency Fund (Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska and Leelanau Counties, MI)
Funding for individual artists (not non-profits or institutions) who earn 33% or more of their income from their art, and who have lost income because of COVID-19 related cancellations. Details

Culture Connects Coalition (Santa Fe, NM) 
Culture Connects Coalition is a fund to support arts and culture in all their expressions. In response to COVID-19 pandemic and to reduce its greater impact on the community, they have partnered with Lannan Foundation to form the Artist Relief Fund to help those artists most dramatically affected. Details

Dallas Artist Relief Fund (Dallas, TX) 
Provides support for low-income, BIPOC, trans/GNC/NB/Queer artists and freelancers whose livelihoods are being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Dallas. Details

The Dance Union Podcast NYC Dancers Relief Fund (COVID-19) (New York City) 
This Fund will offer urgent relief to freelance dance artist that have suffered financial losses due to the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus and the government enforced social restrictions. Details

Durham Artist Relief Fund (Durham, NC)
Providing assistance to artists and arts presenters in Durham who have been financially impacted by cancellations due to COVID-19, with priority given to BIPOC artists, transgender & nonbinary artists, and disabled artists. Details

Emergency Relief Fund for Arizona Artists and Arts Professionals (Arizona)
A collaborative fund for emergency support for working artists, teaching artists, production personnel, and arts-based contract workers who have experienced canceled events and residencies or terminated contracts as a result of the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic crisis. Details

Equal Sound Corona Relief Fund
The Equal Sound Corona Relief Fund was set up on short notice to provide direct financial assistance to musicians who have lost work as a result of Corona-related event cancellations. Details

Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council (Greater Pittsburgh, PA)
The Emergency Fund for Artists will now provide up to $500 in assistance to artists experiencing loss of income due to the coronavirus outbreak. Details

Greater Columbus Arts Council COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grants for Artists (Franklin County, OH)
The program is designed to assist artists of all disciplines living in Franklin County with the financial impacts of COVID-19. Details

Indie Theater Fund Rapid Relief GRANTS due to Covid19 (New York City)
Rapid relief grants of up to $500 will be awarded to support the theater community, prioritizing the consortium of companies, venues, and individuals working in NYC independent theater (Off-Off-Broadway in theater houses of 99 seats or less), operating with budgets under $250,000. Details

Indy Arts COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund (Indiana)
The Indy Arts & Culture COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund was created for individuals working in the arts sector and impacted by the current public health crisis. Primary concern is for the health and well being of individuals: specifically independent artists and staff working for small-to-midsize nonprofit arts and cultural organizations. This fund will provide rapid response $500 grants to help bridge the severe lost wages that make many in our creative community vulnerable. Details

Kincade Family Foundation Emergency Grant for Curators
The program will provide one (1) one-time grant of up to $5,000 for unexpected emergencies related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Details

NC Artist Relief Fund (North Carolina)
This fund has been created to support creative individuals who have been financially impacted by gig cancellations due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Scroll down the page for the Apply button. Details

New Music Solidarity Fund
The New Music Solidarity Fund is designed to help new/creative/improvised music freelancers whose livelihood has been threatened as a result of performances that have been canceled during the COVID-19 crisis. Details

New Orleans Business Alliance Relief Fund for Gig Workers (New Orleans, LA)
As a result of the anticipated local economic impact of COVID-19, the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA) is standing up a relief fund to meet the needs of gig economy workers who have been directly impacted via loss of income. Details

Oolite Arts Relief Fund for artists for COVID-19 (Miami-Dade County, FL)
Visual artists who live in Miami-Dade County can now request funds to compensate for the cancellation of specific, scheduled employment (whether in the cultural sector or not) or a professional artistic opportunity, including commissions and exhibitions. Details

The Photographer Fund
A $25,000 fund to help photographers impacted by COVID-19. Assistance of up to $500 per person will be offered at the organization's discretion to determine who gets the funds. Details

Recording Academy and MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund
The Recording Academy® and its affiliated charitable foundation MusiCares® have established the COVID-19 Relief Fund to help their peers in the music community affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. Details

Red Dirt Relief Fund COVID-19 Emergency Grant Program (Oklahoma)
To be eligible for this aid, an individual must currently reside in Oklahoma and provide evidence he/she has been working the music industry for at least 5 years. Details

The Safety Net Fund (Bay Area, CA)
The Safety Net Fund is a non-profit designed to help support artists in the Bay Area during the COVID-19 crisis. Details

An artists helping artists network. With 10,000 subscribers at $10 a month, they can give $10,000 to 10 different artists affected by the Covid-19 cancelations. And every month 10 new artists in need will get $10,000. If the goal is surpassed, more people will get help. Details

Twenty Summers Emergency Arts Fund
An Emergency Arts Fund for artists (up to $500) and arts organizations (up to $1k) suffering from unexpected and unmanageable financial loss as a result of the Coronavirus. Details

VoxCorona (Washington, DC)
Supporting Washington, DC area vocalists whose primary source of income comes from contract work, much of which has been canceled as arts organizations shutter operations in the wake of COVID-19. Details

Wherewithal Grants (Washington, DC)
In March 2020, The Warhol Foundation authorized its re-granting partners to re-allocate their $100,000 grants to create and administer COVID-19 emergency relief funds in their communities. WPA has responded to this by providing two separate opportunities: Recovery Grants and Research Grants. Details

Women’s Center for Creative Work COVID-19 Emergency Health Grant For Artists (Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties, CA)
Low-income artists who work in any genre or medium, who identify as a woman, as trans or nonbinary, and/or as a person of color, who live in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside or San Bernardino Counties are eligible to apply. Details


If you're currently available for freelance work and would like to receive opportunities via email, we welcome you to sign up for our free Markets Newsletter here.

~ Compiled by Ang


Renee Roberson said...

What an incredible round-up! Thanks for putting together, Ang. Sharing on my social media channels.

Marcia Peterson said...

This is a great resource! Thank you for compiling all the info for WOW readers.

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