A number of New York–based foundations, companies, and philanthropists have banded together to launch a $75 million emergency fund to provide relief to arts and cultural nonprofits as well as to social services organizations whose operations are threatened by the spread of the novel coronavirus throughout New York City.
Dubbed the NYC Covid-19 Response & Impact Fund, the initiative will provide grants and interest-free loans to small and mid-size nonprofits to help them cover losses as a result of temporary closures and continue their work. Many of the fund’s donors have also provided funding for disaster recovery following events such as the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 and the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
The coalition comprises Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Joan Ganz Cooney & Holly Peterson Fund, the Kenneth C. Griffin Charitable Fund, the JPB Foundation, the Estée Lauder Companies Charitable Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the New York Community Trust, Jennifer and Jonathan Allan Soros, Jon Stryker and Slobodan Randjelović, the Charles H. Revson Foundation, Robin Hood, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, UJA-Federation of New York, and the Wells Fargo Foundation.
“The coronavirus pandemic threatens to cripple New York City’s nonprofit organizations and the vitally important services they provide,” said Patricia E. Harris, CEO of Bloomberg Philanthropies. “This joint initiative with so many incredible philanthropic partners will help ensure that many of our city’s nonprofits can withstand this crisis and continue to serve all New Yorkers.”
Administered by the New York Community Trust, the fund will prioritize giving funding to social services groups that support essential health care and food insecurity. In the arts and cultural sector, the fund will focus on supporting small and mid-size organizations that work closely with their surrounding communities and that are unlikely to be eligible to collect insurance that would be available for other types of disasters.
Commenting on the joint effort, Elizabeth Alexander, president of the Mellon Foundation, said: “We at the Mellon Foundation recognize the arts and humanities’ unique power to cultivate hope in the midst of challenges and uncertainty. As artists and cultural institutions adjust to new fiscal realities, we call on funders, businesses, and individuals to join us in supporting the arts and the strength, inspiration, and perspective they bring—in New York City and around the world.”
Lorie Slutsky, president of the New York Community Trust, added: “This is an unprecedented situation, but the philanthropic community has had experience joining together to respond. The NYC Covid-19 Response & Impact Fund will provide critical funding to shore up the safety net provided by nonprofits across the city as they struggle to keep up with the increased demand for their services. We hope everyone who is passionate about our city and its people will join us.”
The announcement of the fund comes on the heels of the Alliance of American Museums’ campaign to convince Congress that it must allocate at least $4 billion to museums nationwide to help them withstand the current public health crisis—it sent a letter to members of the House of Representatives arguing for immediate relief on Thursday—and the circulation of a petition, spearheaded by the New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA), demanding Mayor Bill de Blasio provide financial assistance to small and mid-level galleries. As of Friday morning, New York State recorded more than 7,102 cases of the coronavirus, with 4,408 in New York City.
Interested organizations can learn more about the fund and apply for aid here.