Dance/NYC Announces Coronavirus Dance Relief Fund

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Dance/NYC Announces Coronavirus Dance Relief Fund



New York, NY, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — The service organization Dance/NYC is pleased to announce its Coronavirus Dance Relief Fund, made possible by the generous support of the Howard Gilman Foundation, the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Harkness Foundation for Dance. The purpose of the Fund is to mitigate the growing impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on individual freelance dance workers and dance making organizations with budgets between $25,000 and $500,000 based in the metropolitan New York City area, particularly financial losses incurred due to the spread of COVID-19 and the social restriction measures implemented to contain the disease. 

Selected individual freelance dance workers will receive grant awards of $500 per month with a maximum of $1,500 across the grant period, from March 2020 to May 2020. Selected dance organizations will receive one-time general support grants between $2,500 and $5,000. The Fund will prioritize 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.  The Fund has raised $420,000 in emergency relief funds. Fundraising for this vital fund is ongoing.

The Fund will prioritize applications from freelance dance workers who demonstrate need, defined as the amount of income lost in confirmed employment taking place from March 1, 2020 through May 31, 2020 as a result of COVID-19 and/or related City mandated cancellation of activities that equals or exceeds $1,000/month, and are able to provide proof of the aforementioned losses in the form of a letter, email or contract from the relevant contractor/employer. For dance making organizations, the Fund will prioritize applications from organizations who articulate a clear need for financial reimbursement in order to withstand mandated closures due to COVID-19.

Applications for individual dance workers will be accepted on a rolling basis and awards will be made on a first-come, first-served basis until all funds are exhausted. For more information on the application for freelance dance workers visit Dance.NYC.

The deadline for organizations to submit applications is April 10, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. EST. For more information on the application for dance making organizations visit Dance.NYC.

Applicants must be headquartered in the metropolitan New York City area. Current and past grantee individuals and organizations of Dance/NYC’s regranting programs, as well as direct recipients of Howard Gilman Foundation, Mertz Gilmore Foundation, Ford Foundation, and/or Harkness Foundation for Dance grants, and individuals and organizations who have not previously been funded by Dance/NYC are encouraged to apply. Additional information about eligibility and application requirements are available with the open call for proposals.

"We are proud to partner with Dance/NYC on this critical initiative," says Laura Aden Packer, Executive Director of the Howard Gilman Foundation. "Once again, Dance/NYC is leading by example with this swift and thoughtful approach to supporting the dance community. The Foundation believes this Fund is a critically important part of the relief effort for New York City's vital cultural sector."

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 its public programs and all aspects of its operations. 

“Dance/NYC has been conducting an ongoing Coronavirus Impact Survey to assess the impact of COVID-19 on dance workers and organizations in New York City and the findings are devastating,” says Executive Director Alejandra Duque Cifuentes. “Everyone in the field of dance needs hope right now. Our goal is to be able to provide vital support to those who are suffering from irrecoverable loss through this fund. We are grateful to our philanthropic partners whose swift response is allowing us to respond to the pressing needs of the dance community in a timely manner.”

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.

Visit for details on Dance/NYC’s Coronavirus Dance Relief Fund and the open call for proposals.


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