COVID-19 Relief Fund


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Program Overview and Goals | Administration of the Program | Timeline

Program Overview and Goals

Made possible by the generous support of the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), the purpose of the Coronavirus Dance Relief Fund: New York State Edition (CRF:NYS) is to continue Dance/NYC’s existing relief efforts and mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak on individual dance makers and small-budget organizations, 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.

This Fund is an extension of Dance/NYC’s Coronavirus Dance Relief Fund which was created in 2020 to mitigate the growing impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on individual freelance dance workers and small-budget organizations based in the metropolitan New York City area and New Jersey between March 2020 and August 2020. The 2020 Fund prioritized supporting communities most impacted by COVID-19 including: African, Latina/o/x, Asian, Arab, and Native American (ALAANA), disabled, immigrant, and women-identifying, transgender, gender nonconforming and/or non-binary dance workers, as well as those at high risk including elderly and immunosuppressed dance workers. In total, the 2020 Fund provided 1,082 awards to 734 unique freelance individuals and relief grants to 125 different organizations totaling $1,000,500 across the grant period. 

Dance/NYC’s Coronavirus Dance Impact Study reveals that nearly three-quarters (71%) of organizations and groups are experiencing cash flow issues and/or in a state of financial hardship, with the smallest organizations (budget sizes under $250,000) being the most impacted with budgets contracting by nearly half (48%). With decreased resources, this segment of the sector has greater difficulties accessing relief support, health insurance, and taking advantage of opportunities to facilitate getting back to business as usual. Recent data reveals that the most critical need for organizations is unrestricted general operating support for salaries and wages (87%) with 47% of dance organizations articulating the possibility of permanent closure due to the pandemic. Equally, for individual dance workers, primary financial concerns include covering basic living expenses, like housing (29%) and groceries (45%). Both segments articulated an overwhelming need for rent relief. Furthermore, the crisis seems to be disproportionately impacting dance workers who identify as disabled, ALAANA, immigrant, and genderqueer/nonbinary as well as older dance workers: 21% of ALAANA dance workers were unable to pay rent/mortgage in October 2020 as compared to 15% of White (non-Hispanic) dance workers, and 43% of disabled dance workers have not been able to access all of the medical and mental health resources they need as compared to 41% of non-disabled dance workers.

As Dance/NYC moves into the CRF:NYS, it will distribute a total of $388,572 over the course of the grant period, $150,000 to 100 individual dance makers and $238,572 to 45-60 dance making organizations and/or groups with the goals to:

  • Address the disproportionate access to relief support for dance making communities outside of the metropolitan New York City area;
  • Advance economic justice in the dance field by continuing to fill gaps in the availability of resources where they are most needed; and 
  • Attempt to alleviate some of the long-term and immediate impacts of systems of oppression as manifested through white supremacy and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Administration of the Program

Dance/NYC 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. It seeks to advance policies, investments, programs, mindsets, and actions that remove and prevent inequities that exist along the continuum of lives in dance, from the public-school classroom to the stage. 

Dance/NYC’s approach cuts across its public programs—advocacy; research; leadership training, networking and convening; technology and visibility; and regranting—and all aspects of its operations. Its approach is intersectional, building upon multiple issue areas that together create a more just, equitable, and inclusive dance ecology. Dance/NYC’s approach is also grounded in collaboration. It recognizes generations of people and organizations working to advance justice, equity, and inclusion in the arts and culture and strives to contribute to their efforts. It has established formal partnerships with colleague arts service organizations.

The Coronavirus Dance Relief Fund: New York State Edition, its components, and evolution is a reflection of:

  • Learnings from the first iteration of the Coronavirus Dance Relief Fund, field partners, Dance/NYC’s task forces and committees, Dance/NYC’s ongoing research, former and current Dance/NYC grantees and applicants across Dance/NYC’s grantmaking programs; and
  • The current events impacting the field. 

In alignment with these stated values of justice, equity, and inclusion, Dance/NYC will lead the development, implementation, and evaluation of the Fund to ensure the following:

  • Fund priorities are met;
  • Applicant pool is a reflection of the demography of New York State as outlined by census data;
  • Applicants receive clear information regarding the eligibility and application process;  
  • Applicants across geographies and demographics have the opportunity to receive support in completing their application;
  • The application process and the dissemination of information regarding the application is led by and in conversation with community partners, organizers, and members of the field; 
  • The application process creates opportunities for more meaningful engagement with local dance-making communities; and
  • As many barriers to participation as possible are removed. 

These goals were met by:

  • Streamlining application announcements, eligibility and ineligibility criteria, and application questions and materials;
  • Only including questions in the application that are absolutely necessary to meet funding priorities and that are conscientious of the time and resource investment required of applicants;
  • Offering multiple points of contact for applicants to receive support; and
  • Working in collaboration with statewide arts council and service organizations, and hiring local community organizers to spread the word about the Fund. 

The Coronavirus Dance Relief Fund: New York State Edition is led by the following Dance/NYC Staff:

  • Alejandra Duque Cifuentes, Executive Director
  • Kirsten Reynolds, Grantmaking Manager
  • Milena Luna, Grantmaking Consultant
  • Francis Madi, Grantmaking Assistant

For application details and proposal specifications, please visit the page associated with the type of funding you are seeking, Tier I: Individual Dance Makers or Tier II: Dance Making Organizations/Groups. Interested applicants who are eligible as both an individual dance maker and a small-budget dance making organization/group may apply for both areas of funding. Current and past grantee individuals and organizations of Dance/NYC’s regranting programs and individuals and organizations who have not previously been funded by Dance/NYC are encouraged to apply. Recipients of NYSCA’s FY21 and FY22 Statewide Community Regrant Partners (SCR) program, in addition to applicants who were not awarded with a FY22 NYSCA grant, are invited to apply. 

General CRF:NYS information, including deadlines and applicant support, can be found below.


Public Announcement of Fund March 9, 2022
Tier I: Individual Dance Makers Application Opens March 30, 2022

Tier I Application Webinar 

April 4, 2022

Tier I Technical Assistance

April 5, 2022 - May 4, 2022

Tier II: Small-budget Organizations Application Opens

April 6, 2022

Tier II Application Webinar 

April 11, 2022

Tier II Technical assistance 

April 12, 2022 - May 18, 2022

Tier I: Individual Dance Makers Application Closes

April 20, 2022, 6:00 p.m. EST

Tier I: Individual Dance Makers Application Extended! May 4, 2022, 6:00 p.m. EST

Tier II: Dance Making Organizations/Groups Application Closes

May 4, 2022, 6:00 p.m. EST

Tier II: Dance Making Organizations/Groups Application Extended! May 18, 2022, 6:00 p.m. EST

Panel Review

May - June 2022

Tier I Grant Notification and Disbursement

June 2022

Tier II Grant Notification and Disbursement

July 2022


About Dance/NYC
Dance/NYC’s mission is to promote the knowledge, appreciation, practice, and performance of dance in the metropolitan New York City area. It embeds values of justice, equity, and inclusion into all aspects of the organization.

About New York State Council on the Arts
The New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) is dedicated to preserving and expanding the rich and diverse cultural resources that are and will become the heritage of New York’s citizens. NYSCA upholds the right of all New Yorkers to experience the vital contributions the arts make to their communities, education, economic development and quality of life. Through their core grantmaking activity, NYSCA awards organizations statewide through direct grants and regrants across 15 programs; the Regional Economic Development Council initiative. NYSCA funding supports the visual, literary, media and performing arts and includes dedicated support for arts education and underserved communities. NYSCA further advances New York's creative culture by hosting convenings with leaders in the field and providing organizational and professional development opportunities and informational resources


Surrogate by Ashly R.T. Yergens

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