Bonfils-Stanton Foundation and Denver Foundation team up to create COVID-19 Arts & Culture Relief Fund

Monday, May 4, 2020

As Denver arts & culture organizations are hit with an unprecedented loss in revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic, Bonfils-Stanton Foundation and The Denver Foundation have teamed up to create an emergency fund aimed at helping metro Denver small and mid-sized arts & culture organizations survive this crisis.

Bonfils-Stanton Foundation has committed $1 million toward the COVID-19 Arts & Culture Relief Fund and The Denver Foundation, which will also administer the fund, will donate $50,000. Other early donors to the fund are Denver Arts & Venues at $205,000, Gates Family Foundation at $100,000 and PNC Bank at $10,000. The fund also has commitments from individual donors, including Hal and Ann Logan and Jeremy and Susan Shamos, and seeks additional contributions from foundations, corporations, and individuals.

“The cultural sector is critical to our quality of life, to our humanity, to our community vibrancy and diversity, and touches all of us in so many ways,” says Gary Steuer, Bonfils-Stanton Foundation President and CEO. “We must ensure that when we come through this crisis, the diverse cultural ecosystem that makes our community so special is still there to enrich our lives.”

According to national research gathered by Americans for the Arts (AFTA), the median loss for nonprofit arts organization in the country was $38,000 as of April 7, so clearly it is already much greater than that. With about 450 organizations in Colorado, that equates to a $17 million hit to the arts and culture sector across the state, the bulk of it in the Denver metro area. The losses will only continue to mount as arts performances and gatherings and fundraising galas are canceled and sales tax revenues decline as this pandemic continues into the summer.

“The impact of this public health crisis on the arts and cultural sector has been acute. The COVID-19 Arts & Culture Relief Fund will offer financial relief to organizations that are an essential part of the fabric of our city,” explains Tariana Navas-Nieves, Director of Cultural Affairs, Denver Arts & Venues. “Through this cultural investment partnership, the City is proud to support arts and cultural groups that provide important resources for community engagement, arts learning, and social good, which will be crucial as we get through this crisis.””

Grant awards will range between $5,000 to $50,000 per organization, with the goal of injecting much-needed revenue to keep organizations afloat. Application details will be announced soon, but partners hope to open applications in early June with a deadline at the end of June. Decisions will be made by a panel in July with award distribution in August. With robust donations, a second application cycle could be opened in the fall.

“The Denver Foundation is pleased to partner with Bonfils-Stanton Foundation on this important and timely project,” says Javier Alberto Soto, President & CEO of The Denver Foundation. “We have a long history of supporting the arts including through our Community Grantmaking Program; many of our donors support the arts through donor-advised funds. We know that artists and the creative industries will play an important role in helping our community recover from the COVID-19 crisis. This Fund will help ensure they can continue to make Metro Denver better for everyone.”

COVID-19 Arts & Culture Relief Fund donations can be made on The Denver Foundation’s website here.

Read the COVID-19 Arts & Culture Relief Fund brochure with additional information and eligibility requirements.

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