COVID-19 Relief Fund

Past Funds

Table of Contents

Coronavirus Dance Relief Fund

Dance/NYC created the Coronavirus Dance Relief Fund to mitigate the growing impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak on individual freelance dance workers and dance making organizations based in the metropolitan New York City area and New Jersey state, particularly financial losses incurred due to the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus and the social restriction measures implemented to contain the spread of the virus. The Fund is made possible by the generous support of the New York Community Trust, the Howard Gilman Foundation, the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, the Arnhold Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund in The New York Community Trust, the Booth Ferris Foundation, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Jerome Robbins Foundation, the GKV Foundation, and the Harkness Foundation for Dance. The Fund prioritizes supporting communities most impacted by COVID-19 including African, Latina/o/x, Asian, Arab, and Native American (ALAANA), disabled, immigrant, and women-identifying artists, as well as those at high risk including elderly and immunosuppressed artists.


Dance/NYC remains committed to delivering regranting programs that address disparities in the dance field by continuing to fill gaps in the availability of resources where they are most needed. It believes the dance ecology must itself be just, equitable, and inclusive to meaningfully contribute to social progress and envisions a dance ecology wherein power, funding, opportunities, conduct, and impacts are fair for all artists, cultural workers, and audiences. Dance/NYC’s approach cuts across all its public programs and all aspects of its operations.

In addressing the challenges of the current pandemic, the Coronavirus Dance Relief Fund is intended to support those most impacted by drastic economic shifts, including freelance dance workers and organizations whose income is reliant primarily on in-person activities such as performances, classes, and live events, and who often have less access to unemployment protection, savings and/or cash reserves, and multiple sources of funding. This impact is particularly acute for ALAANA, disabled, immigrant, and women-identifying artists who are historically underfunded in arts and culture (Not Just Money: Equity Issues in Cultural Philanthropy []; What Are the Paradigm Shifts Necessary for the Arts Sector to Nurture More Sustainable THRIVING Institutions of Color []). For example, Dance/NYC’s State of NYC Dance and Workforce Demographics (Dance.NYC/StateofDance2016) shows that dance making organizations with budgets of less than $1 million comprise the lion’s share (84%) of total groups but have access to only 10% of the total revenue. Notably, the smallest organizations demonstrate the greatest capacity to adapt and have workforces that better reflect the racial diversity and presence of disabled and immigrant people in New York City’s population than the workforces of larger organizations.

Across the grant period (March - September) Dance/NYC awarded a total of $1,000,500 through the Coronavirus Dance Relief Fund. Dance/NYC awarded 1,082 grants of $500 to freelance dance workers, totaling $541,000, with 734 unique recipients. Dance/NYC also awarded $459,500 to 125 dance making organizations across two rounds of support.

Freelance Dance Workers

  • 404 applications were received for the month of March, and 180 grants were awarded, totaling $90,000.
  • 653 applications were received for the month of April, and 321 grants were awarded, totaling $160,500.
  • 496 applications were received for the month of May, and 358 grants were awarded, including 25 grants for New Jersey state based dance workers, totaling $179,000.
  • 245 applications were received for the month of June, and 223 grants were awarded, including 16 grants for New Jersey state based dance workers, totaling $111,500.

Dance Making Organizations

  • 188 applications were received to the first round, of which 133 were eligible, and 69 grants were awarded totaling $250,500 in May 2020.
  • 120 applications, including applications which did not receive funding in the first round but were carried over to the second round, were received to the second round, of which 100 were eligible, and 56 grants were awarded totaling $209,000 in September 2020.


The Coronavirus Dance Relief Fund was made possible by a coalition of foundations including the New York Community Trust, the Howard Gilman Foundation, the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, the Arnhold Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund in The New York Community Trust, the Booth Ferris Foundation, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Jerome Robbins Foundation, the GKV Foundation, and the Harkness Foundation for Dance.

Arnhold Foundation
The Arnhold Foundation was founded in 1988 and is the philanthropic legacy of Henry Arnhold. The foundation supports performing arts, higher education, international affairs and health, prioritizing institutions operating in the greater New York area. The foundation's dance grantmaking supports a range of dance organizations in addition to supporting dance education, advocacy and programs.

Booth Ferris Foundation
The Booth Ferris Foundation was established in 1957 under the wills of Willis H. Booth and his wife, Chancie Ferris Booth. The Foundation supports arts and culture organizations, including parks and gardens, located in New York City and working directly to enhance the vibrancy and cultural richness of New York City.

Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation was founded in 1996 and is guided by the will of Doris Duke. The Foundation supports four national grant-making programs and three museums and centers on properties that were owned by Doris Duke. Its mission is to improve the quality of people's lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and child well-being, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke's properties.

Ford Foundation
The Ford Foundation was founded in 1936, and has invested in innovative ideas, visionary individuals, and frontline institutions advancing human dignity around the world across eight decades. We believe in the inherent dignity of all people. But around the world, too many people are excluded from the political, economic, and social institutions that shape their lives. In addressing this reality, we are guided by a vision of social justice—a world in which all individuals, communities, and peoples work toward the protection and full expression of their human rights; are active participants in the decisions that affect them; share equitably in the knowledge, wealth, and resources of society; and are free to achieve their full potential. Across eight decades, our mission has been to reduce poverty and injustice, strengthen democratic values, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement.

Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation
The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation is a private foundation based in Morristown, New Jersey. Established in 1974, the Foundation supports arts, education, environment, informed communities, and poetry to connect communities and influence social change to achieve an equitable New Jersey.

GKV Foundation
The GKV Foundation’s core belief is that smartly guided exposure to the arts will positively impact an individual’s intellectual and social skills and ultimately contribute to improving our global home. They want to encourage and will take a chance on new, yet-to-be-tested initiatives based on a broad range of artistic expressions. The goal is that with GKV first-year funding enough measurable results will be achieved to attract sustaining funding from other sources.

Harkness Foundation for Dance
The Harkness Foundation for Dance is a private grant-making foundation dedicated to invigorating and supporting the dance art form, predominantly in New York City. Since its inception the Foundation has contributed significantly to the dance field, extending grants to over 560 organizations. The Harkness Board of Trustees meets three times annually to consider proposals.

Howard Gilman Foundation
Howard Gilman believed in the power of the arts to transform lives. The Howard Gilman Foundation honors his legacy by supporting the most robust, innovative, and promising performing arts organizations in New York City.

Jerome Robbins Foundation
Jerome Robbins established the Jerome Robbins Foundation in 1958, in honor of his mother, with the intent to support dance, theater, and their associative arts. In the 1980’s, following the outbreak of AIDS, he directed Foundation resources almost exclusively to the AIDS crisis and still later, in letters left to the board, he conveyed his wish that the Foundation once again extend its resources to the performing arts – dance and theater especially.

Mertz Gilmore Foundation
The Mertz Gilmore Foundation was founded in 1959, and honors the legacy of its founders by remaining consistent to their value and priorities while also adapting to respond to present-day crises and opportunities. In all areas of its funding, the Foundation supports the voices of marginalized people and their allies in seeking racial, economic, environmental, and gender justice as crucial components of maintaining vibrant communities and a sustainable environment. The Foundation uses a variety of philanthropic strategies to strengthen civic and cultural institutions in underserved communities of New York City, address the climate crisis and build a democracy that works for all.

New York Community Trust
A public charity, The Trust is a grantmaking foundation dedicated to improving the lives of residents of New York City and its suburbs. The Trust brings together individuals, families, foundations, and businesses to build a better community and support nonprofits that make a difference. The Trust applies knowledge, creativity, and resources to the most challenging issues in an effort to ensure meaningful opportunities and a better quality of life for all New Yorkers, today and tomorrow.

NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund in The New York Community Trust
A collaborative fund, the NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund in The New York Community Trust was created to aid nonprofit service providers struggling with the effects of the coronavirus. Providing grants and loans to NYC-based nonprofits trying to meet the new and urgent needs that are hitting the city, priority is given to nonprofits addressing essential healthcare and food insecurity as well as arts and culture because New York is the cultural capital of the nation. Since 1924, The Trust has been and continues to be a critical part of New York’s philanthropic response. It co-created the September 11th Fund after the attack on the World Trade Center, and has worked on issues affecting New Yorkers for decades.

Stavros Niarchos Foundation
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) is one of the world’s leading private, international philanthropic organizations, making grants to nonprofit organizations in the areas of arts and culture, education, health and sports, and social welfare. SNF funds organizations and projects worldwide that aim to achieve a broad, lasting, and positive impact for greater society, and exhibit strong leadership and sound management. The Foundation also supports projects that facilitate the formation of public-private partnerships as an effective means for serving public welfare. Since 1996, the Foundation has committed more than $3 billion through over 4,600 grants to nonprofit organizations, in 126 nations around the world.

Members of the community at large also played a significant role in raising funds for the Coronavirus Relief Fund. Donations of all sizes $5 -$5,000 were received through individuals and combined fundraising efforts from groups and businesses. 

A total of $26,815 was raised through individual donors and fundraising groups and businesses.

Fundraising Groups and Businesses

Let Them Eat Cake (LTEC), lead by Ina Du and Brenna Bradbury, is a pre-professional focused aerial/circus/pole/burlesque show dedicated to providing space for aspiring performers and high level students to showcase their work. LTEC works with each performer to develop high caliber acts and gives them an opportunity to perform in front of an enthusiastic audience. With the onset of the COVID-29 pandemic, the group moved to an online format, selecting nonprofits and other emergency funds to donate a portion of proceeds from each performance to every week. On April 2, 2020, the showcase was dedicated to raising funds for the Coronavirus Dance Relief Fund

The Greater Whole, organized by Michael Trusnovec and Kristin Draucker, is a collaborative video project with dancers from companies including New York City Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Martha Graham Dance Company, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, Mark Morris Dance Group, and American Ballet Theater, along with dancers Caleb Teicher, Ephrat Asherie, Melissa Toogood, and Risa Steinberg. The video was created to ask its viewers to donate to the Coronavirus Dance Relief Fund.

Jo + Jax is a leader in dancewear, creating unique, innovative, and comfortable dance and active wear. Proceeds from their GIVE sweatshirt are donated to the Coronavirus Dance Relief Fund.

Related Resources
Announcement of Second Round of Fund Recipients - Dance Making Organizations 
Announcement of First Round of Fund Recipients - Dance Making Organizations
Call for Proposals - Freelance Dance Workers 
Call for Proposals - Organizations
Partners & Coalition

These and all products generated by Dance/NYC for the Coronavirus Dance Releif Fund are licensed to the public subject to the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

Dancers wearing costumes made of recycled plastic bags perform a lift. Text reads

Sign up for Dance/NYC News