Cultural Relief Fund Review
In response to the sudden and unexpected impact of COVID-19 on our community in 2020, 4Culture ran a Cultural Response effort to offer critical support to cultural workers and organizations facing extreme hardship.
With support from the King County Council, the federal CARES Act, and our budget, we were able to distribute $4.6 million to 1,111 organizations and cultural workers across all County districts. The grants rolled out in three phases—April, June, and October—and prioritized applicants with the highest levels of need via several indicators including the King County/Seattle Foundation Community of Opportunity Index.
We thank the 32 panelists who reviewed this unprecedented number of applications and helped allocate funds as quickly and equitably as possible.
In our first ever relief program for individuals, grants were available to cultural workers for emergency financial assistance or for creative responses to the pandemic. In total, $1,136,000 was awarded to 627 individuals. From the onset, the definition of eligible individuals was expanded from artists to cultural workers to encompass the many people working in arts, heritage, historic preservation, and public art.
- Applicants told us their top needs were to pay for mortgage/rent, food/groceries, caregiving, utilities, and transportation.
- In the second round of individual funding; 94% went to recipients indicating low income status or living outside of Seattle.
- 38 awards totaling $68,500 went to offset project expenses for innovative responses to support King County communities significantly impacted by COVID-19.
Grants were available to King County cultural organizations experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. In total, $3.4 million was awarded to 484 organizations.
- Cultural organizations reported over $135 million in losses.
- Financial hardship was primarily due to lost revenue (59%) and unexpected costs (28%).
- At time of applying, organizations indicated that staff layoffs (30%) and loss of space (14%) were imminent, and that cancellation of major events and programs resulted in decrease in revenue which sustained the organization’s operation.
- 176 awards totaling $1,400,000 went to organizations and stewards of landmarks to provide programming and adapt to COVID-19 health restrictions.
What are we doing now?
What are we doing now?
We have convened a COVID-19 Recovery Taskforce, consisting of representatives from the King County cultural sector, to advise organizations and agencies, including 4Culture, on the needs of our community as we move forward to equitably respond to the pandemic. The taskforce is currently drafting a set of recommendations for the recovery of the sector. We continue to work with our state and county government partners to advocate for increased support. Looking at our annual funding and resource-based programs, we are changing them to respond to your needs. We share and learn from other cultural organizations and individuals, all around the county, as we move toward recovery in King County.