Financial Assistance

What is available in terms of financial help for non-profit arts organizations. Here are some links:


Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC). Eligible employers can now claim a refundable tax credit against the employer share of Social Security tax equal to 70% of the qualified wages they pay to employees after December 31, 2020, through June 30, 2021. Qualified wages are limited to $10,000 per employee per calendar quarter in 2021. Thus, the maximum ERTC amount available is $7,000 per employee per calendar quarter, for a total of $14,000 in 2021. Here is a one-pager issued by the IRS about the program

SVO Priority Awards. Check the SBA website’s SVO section on a daily basis as they are posting new and corrected information by the minute at The SBA website modified its original preliminary guidelines to be more in line with the Congressional intent of the newly passed law. SBA is no longer limiting the first two priority distributions to shuttered venues with only 50 employees or fewer. While there is still a set aside of $2 billion for this category of small venues, the early distribution awards are for any size organization with 90 or 70 percent revenue loss (still not clear if this is gross or earned revenue). The SBA statement on their website now reads:

“On January 20, 2021, SBA updated the proposed plan for issuing Shuttered Venue Operators Grants during the first and second priority periods. To clarify, priority awardees will not need to satisfy the small employer set-aside. During the first 59 days of opening the SVO Grants, SBA will reserve no less than $2 billion of program funding for grants to entities that have no more than 50 employees.

  • Applying for PPP versus SVO. If you believe your organization has a good chance at qualifying for an SVO grant, then you should not apply for a PPP second or first draw after 12/27/20. Various SBA district directors have been notified that the SBA national office will be imminently posting to their website an important clarification that SVO Grant applicants will be disqualified if they apply for a PPP forgivable loan. Below is the email communication from SBA about this:

Please note: While the info on our website states that an SVO Grant recipient cannot also receive a PPP Loan and vice versa, our Office of Disaster Assistance (ODA), which will administer the SVO Grants, clarified in an email to the field offices today that those interested in SVO Grants cannot even apply for PPP. ODA is working on publicizing that info, but if you have constituents this could affect please let them know.”

Artist Relief will distribute $5,000 grants to artists facing dire financial emergencies due to COVID-19; serve as an ongoing informational resource; and co-launch the COVID-19 Impact Survey for Artists and Creative Workers designed by Americans for the Arts to better identify and address the needs of artists.

The non-profit Virginia 30 Day Fund provides forgivable loans for Virginia-based small businesses. The forgivable loan is intended to provide immediate financial assistance (within maximum three days) to meet payroll, preserve healthcare coverage for employees and save jobs while they await recently approved federal funding. The Virginia 30 Day Fund is designed to be quick, easy, and free of red tape, as small business owners work to keep employees on board in the near term. All we ask in return: if you can, pay it forward.

TheatreWashington announced the expansion of the Taking Care Fund, which provides emergency assistance to Washington-area theater professionals in times of unforeseen financial hardship. If you are a theater professional residing in and who has actively worked in the Washington metropolitan area within the past two years, you are eligible to apply for emergency relief. Grants will be awarded in two phases. Starting on April 1, 2020, applications received by March 31 will be reviewed. On April 15, 2020, applications received by April 14 will be reviewed. After April 15, fundraising efforts will be assessed and more awards will be made based on funding activity.

Community Foundation for Northern Virginia remains focused on providing general operating grants for local nonprofits offering basic needs assistance or emergency financial assistance including ……healthcare and gig economy workers, immigrants, and communities of color. Round Two grants from the Fund will be announced on April 3 and Round Three grants will be announced at a later date in April or early May.

Arts Administrators of Color Network has set up the Arts Leaders of Color Emergency Fund in support of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) artists AND administrators (consultants, facilitators, box office staff, seasonal/temporary employees, etc.) who have been financially impacted due to COVID-19.

The Artists’ Fellowship provides emergency aid to professional fine artists and their families in times of sickness, natural disaster, bereavement or unexpected extreme hardship. Primarily serving artists in New York.

The Creator Fund from the email marketing company ConvertKit is offering financial assistance of up to $500 for artists and small business owners—the term “creator” is loosely defined. The mini grants can be used for groceries, childcare, rent, mortgage or medical expenses. On its website, the Creator Fund is realistic about its limitations to meet everyone’s needs, but still encourages people to apply.

The Haven Foundation gives financial assistance to provide temporary support needed to safeguard and sustain the careers of established freelance artists, writers, and other members of the arts and art production communities who have suffered disabilities or experienced a career-threatening illness, accident, natural disaster or personal catastrophe.

Actors Fund offers emergency financial assistance program helps eligible applicants in need. It is not income replacement, but limited funds for basic living necessities. The Actors Fund is also administering COVID19 Assistance programs for performing arts and entertainment unions including SAG-AFTRA, IATSE, Actors Equity Association, American Guild of Musical Artists and Musicians Local 802. Additionally, The Fund is administering the Jujamcyn Theatre Assistance Program.

The Indie Theater Fund is offering unrestricted rapid relief grants to indie theater companies and individual artists in need due to the financial strain of closings etc related to Covid19. We will be offering grants of up to $500 on an on-going basis until our funds run out. The more we raise in our campaign, the more we will be able to provide as we are allocating 100% to these grants and our community resource efforts. Please share the Facebook campaign far and wide. We are prioritizing companies and artists with budgets less than $250,000. We will be reviewing on a first come first serve basis and will do our best to turn these around quickly.

Relief Funds and Financial Assistance (running list)

  • The Adolph & Esther Gottlieb Emergency Grant is for painters, printmakers and sculptors
  • Artly World launched the Artist Relief Project supporting artist with $200 grants
  • Arts Administrators of Color Network launched a relief fund to support BIPOC artists and administrators.
  • ArtsFund created the COVID-19 Arts Emergency Relief Fund for arts organizations.
  • Artwork Archives has compiled a list of emergency grants for artists.
  • Dramatists Guild Foundation launches relief fundsupporting individual playwrights, composers, lyricists, and bookwriters.
  • EqualSound launches relief fundsupporting musicians who have lost gigs due to the pandemic.
  • Foundation for Contemporary Arts has a relief fund for artists who incur unexpected or unbudgeted expenses for projects close to completion with committed exhibition or performance dates
  • Mellon Foundation Joins Consortium Supporting Small and Mid-size Arts Organizations through $75-million NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund
  • MusiCares launched a relief fund to cover things such as lost income due to cancellations
  • Musicians Foundation is accepting aid applications.
  • Rauschenberg announced an Medical Emergency grant program for artists.
  • Springboard for the Arts has several resources and relief funds.


The U.S Small Business Administration (SBA) administratively declared an economic disaster for Arlington. The SBA is now offering low-interest federal disaster loans to small businesses suffering economic injury as a result of COVID-19. The Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance per small business, and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. SBA has also now corrected information on their website about EIDL Advances based on the Economic Aid Act legislation passed on 12/27/20. SBA will now be fulfilling the balance of original EIDL Advance requests of up to $10,000 that the CARES Act was meant to do. Those borrowers (priority given to borrowers located in low income neighborhoods) will be contacted directly by SBA to receive additional EIDL advance grant funds (This is not a loan and it does not have to be repaid or reported as taxable income.) See the SBA website for additional rules and qualifications.

The SBA is also offering emergency small business loans that provide funding for special emergency loans of 2.5 times monthly payroll expenses, up to $10 million for eligible nonprofits and small businesses, permitting them to cover costs of payroll, rent, utilities, and debt service, and provides that the loans be forgiven in whole or in part under certain circumstances. (Title I, Section 1102). Important points:

  • General Eligibility: Available to entities that existed on March 1, 2020, and had paid employees.
  • Nonprofit Eligibility: Available for charitable nonprofits with 500 or fewer employees (counting each individual – full time or part time and not FTEs).
  • Loan Use: Loan funds could be used to make payroll and associated costs, including health insurance premiums, facilities costs, and debt service.
  • Loan Forgiveness: Employers that maintain employment between February 15 and June 30 would be eligible to have their loans forgiven, essentially turning the loan into a grant. The amount of loan forgiveness would be equal to the amount spent by the borrower during an 8-week period after the origination date of the loan. The portion of the loan that can be forgiven would be reduced by an amount related to positions that have been eliminated and wages that have been reduced, unless those positions and wages are restored by June 30, 2020. (Section 1106)

Loans will be available through SBA and Treasury approved banks, credit unions, and some nonbank lenders.

Here is the guidance from the Treasury Department:

Here is a link to a comprehensive and clear guide to the SBA programs published by the Senate Committee on Small Business.

To help serve our local business community, the Arlington Chamber of Commerce compiled a list of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) lenders, drawing information from Chamber member lenders that are administering PPP loans. The PPP was created as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to help businesses cover payroll and other expenses while they’re affected by COVID-19. All information was provided directly from the institutions.

Arlington County’s BizLaunch is available to help any group that want to apply for an SBA loan or needs free business assistance.

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