COVID-19 RESOURCES

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the theater community in ways large and small, from loss of employment and income to fundamental questions about what our art form will look like in the future. No matter the outcome, though, we will move forward–as a community. If you have the financial or personal resources to contribute to any of the organizations below, please do, or support any nonprofit arts organization directly in the form of a donation, or a ticket, gift card, or subscription purchase. 

For those whose lives have been upended by the pandemic, we have compiled a list of relief funds and resources. This list is not exhaustive, and will be updated frequently until the crisis is past. We hope it can provide a starting place for those most affected.

RELIEF FUNDS FOR ARTISTS AND THE THEATER COMMUNITY

ARTS FOR ILLINOIS RELIEF FUND 

Provides financial relief to workers and organizations in the creative industries impacted by COVID-19. This includes Donations to the fund will go directly to artists and arts organizations throughout Illinois. All donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. The fund is a partnership between the City of Chicago, the State of Illinois, the broader philanthropic community, and the residents of Illinois. It can accept donations from individuals, foundations, and public sources. The Arts for Illinois Relief Fund is administered by Arts Alliance Illinois in partnership with 3Arts and Arts Works Fund, long-standing and trusted service organizations and grantmakers.

Who is eligible: Open to all artists and artisans, including stage and production members and part-time cultural workers, and large to small arts organizations in all disciplines. Individuals are encouraged to apply for one-time grants of $1,500, which are awarded expediently and based on a lottery system. Arts organizations grants are likewise based on a combination of need and lost revenue from the crisis. 

 

ARTIST RELIEF FUND 

Provides unrestricted $5,000 relief grants to artists facing dire financial emergencies due to the impact of COVID-19, along with a list of resources for artists, and the COVID-19 Impact Survey for Artists and Creative Workers, which will help to better identify and address the needs of artists moving forward. (Arts organizations may also take an important impact survey at AFTA.)

Who is eligible: Due to expected demand, Artist Relief recognizes it will not be able to fund every applicant. Artists demonstrating the most severe needs will be prioritized, with an emphasis on funding widely across disciplines and geographies, as well as ability, ethnicity, and gender.

  • Practicing artists able to demonstrate a sustained commitment to their work, careers, and a public audience;
  • Experiencing dire financial emergencies due to the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • 21 years of age or older;
  • Provide a W9 and Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)—we will collect this information after you’ve been notified of your selection;
  • Residing and working in the U.S. for the last two years;
  • Not a full-time employee, board member, director, officer, or immediate family member of any of the coalition partners;
  • Not previously awarded a relief grant from this fund.

CHICAGO COMMUNITY COVID-19 RESPONSE FUND 

Provides flexible resources to community-based organizations across the City of Chicago, suburban Cook County and DuPage County to supply essential resources to the individuals and households who are most impacted by the epidemic. Those resources currently include access to emergency food and basic supplies, rent and mortgage assistance, and utility assistance. 

Who is eligible: All funds will be allocated to local nonprofit organizations who will disperse services and supplies. A list of funded nonprofit agencies will be provided shortly. Individuals and families in need of support should check back for updates. 

 

CHICAGO THEATRE WORKERS RELIEF FUND

In an effort to assist theatre workers who have lost work as a result of COVID-19 and are facing financial uncertainty in the days and weeks ahead, the League of Chicago Theatres is collecting donations for a Chicago Theatre Workers Relief Fund. All donations made are tax deductible and will go directly to support those in need in the Chicago theatre community with grants of $500.

Who is eligible: This Fund is intended to help replace lost income due to theatre closures. The Fund is available to all those who have had to stop work and are not getting paid, including those who were on contract, part time employees and those working on a stipend which was not paid.

 

CHICAGO ARTISTS RELIEF FUND

This fund was created by Chicago-area artists in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 100% of contributions are allocated directly to artists who apply to the fund. We aim to support our colleagues in the greater Chicago arts community who are experiencing financial repercussions due to pandemic-related cancellations.Priority will be given to BIPOC [Black, Indigenous, and People of Color] artists, transgender & nonbinary  & queer artists, and disabled artists – but we aim to help as many Chicago-area artists in need as possible. Our ability to do that will depend on how much we can raise. If you’re an artist with resources to spare, please consider contributing to support your colleagues. If you’re a lover of the arts, please consider contributing directly to the individuals who devote their lives to creating for our city.

 

SEASON OF CONCERN 

Has always relied on audience donations to support local theatre artists in need of financial assistance due to medical emergencies.  We expect to receive a large increase of grant requests from theatre artists due who may be diagnosed positive for Coronavirus.   

Who is eligible: any member of the Chicago theater community who is dealing with serious medical issues, including those that may result from COVID-19 infection. Proof of testing positive for the virus is required.

 

THE ACTORS FUND 

Founded in 1882, The Actors Fund is a national human services organization here to meet the needs of our entertainment community with a unique understanding of the challenges involved in a life in the arts. Services include emergency financial assistance, affordable housing, health care and insurance counseling, senior care, secondary career development and more.

Who is eligible: must be a working actor with

  • Current financial need and either
    • a minimum of five years of recent industry paid employment with earnings of at least $6,500 for three out of the last five years 
    • a minimum of 20 years of industry paid employment with a minimum of 10 years of earnings of at least $5,000  

 

CITY OF CHICAGO RENTAL ASSISTANCE

The Rental Assistance Program provides financial assistance to Chicago residents, directly related to the prevention of homelessness, to eligible individuals and families who are in danger of eviction in order to stabilize individuals and families in their existing rental unit.

Who is eligible: Persons who may be eligible include households that are in immediate risk of homelessness. The household must document a temporary economic crisis beyond its control and must be able to demonstrate an ability to meet the prospective rental obligations after the assistance has been granted based on current or anticipated income. 

 

RESOURCES FOR CURRENT INFORMATION ON COVID-19 PANDEMIC

CDC COVID-19 Information Page

CDC COVID-19 Home Resource Page

World Health Organization COVID-19 Tracking

WGN Chicago-area COVID-19 Tracking

City of Chicago COVID-19 Response Center

ADDITIONAL RESOURCE LISTINGS WITH OTHER OPTIONS

Rescripted
A resource list with a variety of relief funds, emergency aid grants and more. 

Freelance Artist Resources
An aggregated list of free resources, opportunities, and financial relief options available to artists of all disciplines.

ArtsReady
An online emergency preparedness service by and for arts/cultural nonprofits, that provides arts organizations with customized business continuity plans for post-crisis sustainability.

NCAPER
Helps foster relationships with providers in the emergency services sector, including a list of organizations that can assist with reestablishing your art practice and keeping you apprised of funding opportunities. 

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