Arts Alert: Helpful COVID-19 Grants + Resources for Artists and Arts Nonprofits in MN

The situation created by the coronavirus crisis is fast moving and confusing. You know that there are opportunities for help for both artists and arts nonprofits, but how do you wade through it all? Here are the best centralized resources for both that we’ve found.

Note that this information and more is on our coronavirus resource page www.artsMN.org/coronavirus, where we have also included statements from Minnesota’s arts supporting organizations and each of their responses to the crisis, which include flexibility for grantees and a push towards operating support to help organizations keep the lights on until the crisis is over. We will continue to share useful information for you as we find it. Hang in there, everyone.


CENTRALIZED RESOURCES
FOR ARTISTS & CREATIVE WORKERS


SPRINGBOARD FOR THE ARTS has expanded the guidelines of its Emergency Relief Fund to include lost income due to coronavirus/COVID-19 and has established a coronavirus resource page for artists. If you are an artist or creative worker, this central hub is for you.



RESOURCES
FOR ARTS NONPROFITS:

FEDERAL AND STATE GOVERNMENT RESOURCES

Both the federal and state governments have passed legislation intended to help small businesses (including nonprofits) and the unemployed during the COVID-19 crisis. Here are a few places with very good, centralized information for arts nonprofits to help you navigate the opportunities that are being offered:

THE INDEPENDENT SECTORVERY GOOD centralized information center for nonprofits (national):
CARES Act: How to Apply for Nonprofit Relief Funds



NATIONAL COUNCIL OF NONPROFITS
VERY GOOD explanation of resources for nonprofits
Recording of Webinar: Federal Coronavirus Relief Bills: What Do They Mean for Nonprofits?

and Slide deck from webinar: “Federal Coronavirus Relief Bills: What Do They Mean for Nonprofits?”

Other good information from the National Council of Nonprofits on specific topics:



MINNESOTA COUNCIL OF NONPROFITS: CENTRALIZED INFORMATION FOR NONPROFITS IN MINNESOTA(***keep scrolling down on their page for many useful links***)Unemployment Insurance Information and Updates


WHERE TO LOOK
FOR SPECIAL COVID-19 GRANTS
FOR ARTISTS AND NONPROFITS
IN MINNESOTA:

MINNESOTA’S REGIONAL ARTS COUNCILS 

(Info. updated 4.2.20)“This is a partial list. All of the arts councils are working with grantees to be flexible with existing grants and to turn project grants into operating support where appropriate. Most of the arts councils are developing some kind of emergency grant program. In general, we also think our role is to help direct artists and arts organizations to other resources, such as the SBA suite of loans and the expanded Pandemic Unemployment Assistance programs. We’re also watching the multi-foundation Minnesota Disaster Recovery Fund to help arts organizations navigate that process.”  -Drew Digby, Chair of the Forum of Regional Arts Councils.


ARROWHEAD REGIONAL ARTS COUNCIL
(Counties: Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake, Saint Louis)Past: COVID-19 Emergency Grant for Individuals. $750 grants for projects for artists who had projects or events canceled to do a project that’s possible under the current circumstances. 12 grants awarded. We had a total of 30 applications in the 8 days we had the program open.

Upcoming:
Organizational Stability Grants. Up to $2,000 to pay urgent expenses to keep an arts organization functioning during the COVID-19 shutdown and recovery. Some grants set aside to help organizations with teaching professionals adapt to new circumstances.
Art of the Crisis Individual grants. Up to $2,000 for artists to produce art in the next six months, including some grants set aside for teaching professionals adapting to the new circumstances.  



EAST CENTRAL REGIONAL ARTS COUNCIL
(Counties: Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Pine)The East Central Regional Arts Council (ECRAC) voted to approve a new grant program. ECRAC developed the COVID-19 emergency response grant to provide funding of up to $600 for artists and art organizations to do art projects online or in other forms during the current shut down of arts venues. This grant is for artists and art organizations who have had projects canceled or postponed due to COVID-19. We are striving to encourage the practice of social distancing sheltering at home. Projects may be in any form or discipline, including performance, dance, storytelling, photography, film, sculpture, painting, and more. Applicants must show that they can do the project without violating any public health guidelines. For example, no in-person activities are allowed at this time. Projects can be virtual or broadcasted events. 



CENTRAL MINNESOTA ARTS BOARD
(Counties: Benton, Sherburne, Stearns, and Wright counties )The Central Minnesota Arts Board has responded with Artist Emergency Grant Program and extending their current project grant round deadline to April 8th. The Artist Emergency Assistance Program was created to provide individuals up to $500 to assist with income lost due to isolation efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. Funding for this program is from the McKnight Foundation. 



METROPOLITAN REGIONAL ARTS COUNCIL
(Counties: Seven County Metro Area)The MRAC Emergency Relief Fund provides grants of up to $2,500 for immediate expense needs (salaries, artist fees, etc.) due to loss of earned income because of COVID-19 for arts organizations and informal arts groups with budgets under $400,000 that are located in the 7-county metropolitan area: Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott and Washington counties. 


OTHER MINNESOTA-BASED FUNDS:

MINNESOTA DISASTER RECOVERY FUND (MDRF) FOR CORONAVIRUS, HOUSED AT THE ST. PAUL AND MINNESOTA FOUNDATION IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE MINNESOTA COUNCIL OF FOUNDATIONSThe fund launched with $4.4 million in contributions from many philanthropic partners, and has since grown to $5.2 million. The MDRF advisory committee, made up of leaders from across the state, made its first round of grants this week, awarding $2 million to 11 organizations throughout Minnesota. The advisory committee meets weekly to advise and recommend additional grants to address ongoing needs statewide. 



MINNESOTA INITIATIVE FUNDSResources from the MDRF (Minnesota Disaster Relief Fund described above) fund will be, in part, distributed to communities through the state’s six united funds working to improve Greater Minnesota. Check with them about grant making processes. 



CITY OF SAINT PAUL, SAINT PAUL BRIDGE FUND The St. Paul and Minnesota Foundation also partnered with the City of Saint Paul to set up the Saint Paul Bridge Fund, which will provide emergency relief for the small businesses and families in our community who need it most. 



OTTO BREMER TRUST (OBT) $50 MILLION
COMMUNITY BENEFIT FINANCIAL COMPANY EMERGENCY FUND
In response to COVID-19, the Otto Bremer Trust (OBT) has established a $50 million emergency fund through its Community Benefit Financial Company (CBFC) subsidiary to provide financial support to Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and Montana nonprofits and other community organizations impacted by and responding to the pandemic. The fund will provide resources in the form of short-term loans, lines of credit, and emergency grants. Qualifications: All nonprofit organizations in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and Montana are welcome to apply for emergency funding. An application does not guarantee funding; we will evaluate the applications on a case-by-case basis. The fund is designated for emergency requests only and is separate from our normal grantmaking process. Non-emergency requests should go through our regular application process. 



MINNEAPOLIS FOUNDATION OneMPLS FUNDSupporting business and essential program continuity for local nonprofits through The Minneapolis Foundation’s OneMPLS Fund. This collective impact fund is designed to be nimble and responsive to emerging needs aligned with the Foundation’s mission. Proceeds from the OneMPLS Fund will provide grants to organizations that:

  • Provide services to address the economic impact on individuals whose employment has been reduced or eliminated as a result of the pandemic, particularly the most vulnerable segments of the workforce (e.g., contract workers, artists, and students).
  • Meet basic needs for vulnerable populations, particularly older adults and youth.


PROPEL FOR NONPROFITSPropel is providing no-cost technical assistance to nonprofits and free consultations with regard to finance, strategy, and governance in the wake of the pandemic. 


If you are aware of any other special funds that could be accessed by artists and creative workers and arts nonprofits, please let us know and we will spread the word. Thanks!

Sheila Smith
Executive Director
Minnesota Citizens for the Arts