24 Emergency Cash Grants for Writers

Here are 24 emergency grants currently active, offered by 20 grantmakers or organizations to writers, other creatives, and journalists, and many of them are for COVID-19 related emergencies. Most of these are for US-based creatives. Some have deadlines coming up; others take applications on a rolling basis, and they are accepting submissions now.

However, the need for funds is far greater than funds available at this time; and many organizations have to stop taking applications temporarily, pending further funding. So it is best if writers check the websites just before applying, to check if they are still taking applications. – S. Kalekar

Emerging Artist Relief Fund
Emerging Artist Initiative (EAI) is a grassroots effort to address the immediate financial needs of young and emerging artists and arts administrators. They have established the Emerging Artist Relief Fund to support emerging artists and arts administrators who are facing financial hardship due to COVID-19. They will disburse $500 grants to artists in any discipline with financial need, who are under 30, or within three years of receiving a degree or certification, or within three years of beginning work as an arts professional (see guidelines). Artists must live and work in the US. The deadline is 22 July 2020. Details here and here.

Foundation for Contemporary Arts: FCA Emergency Grants COVID-19 Fund
This is for US-based artists, including playwrights, poets, choreographers, composers, directors, and visual artists. They will disburse one-time $1,500 grants to artists who have had performances or exhibitions canceled or postponed because of the pandemic. Their page also has a list of additional resources for artists. The deadline is 1 September 2020. Details here and here.

Artist Relief
Artist Relief is an emergency initiative organized by a coalition of US arts grantmakers – the Academy of American Poets, Artadia, Creative Capital, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, MAP Fund, National YoungArts Foundation, and United States Artists. It is a fund for US artists in dire emergency – the lack or imminent endangerment of essentials such as housing, medicine, childcare, and food – due to COVID-19. It is for a number of disciplines, including film, media, music, theatre, visual art, and writing (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, literature for children, criticism, graphic novels, journalism, arts writing, etc.) Artists need to be living and working in the US for the last two years. The grant amounts are $5,000. The deadline for the fourth cycle is 22 July; the fifth and final cycle will be open for applications during 23 July to 19 August, 2020. Detailshere andhere.

National Geographic Society: COVID-19 Emergency Fund for Journalists
This is a fund by the National Geographic Society for journalists all over the world who wish to cover COVID-19 within their own communities. Writers, photographers, videographers, audio journalists, cartographers, filmmakers, and data visualization experts can apply for funding of $1,000-8,000. The fund will place particular emphasis on delivering news to underserved populations. Beyond reporting on medical and physical health related to COVID-19, they especially encourage reporting that covers social, emotional, economic, and equity issues. Journalists should seek placement of this work within their local media ecosystems; they do not need to submit any formal commitments of publication or letters of support from editors or publishers. Applicants may use up to 100 percent of their budget as personal reimbursement for their reporting time. Details here.

Authors League Fund
This emergency fund helps US-based writers, regardless of citizenship, and American writers living abroad. It is typically for authors, dramatists, journalists, and poets. Recipients must be career writers with a substantial body of work in one of more of the following categories: 1) Book authors; 2) Dramatists (They can’t help dramatists enduring income loss due to COVID-19 cancellations, but those with medical emergency can still apply – see guidelines.); 3) Journalists, critics, essayists, short story writers, and poets. They can’t assist writers whose sole credits are self-published, but will review requests of self-published writers with a record of financial success. Common applicants include: writers of any age in ill health, or supporting a dependent family member in ill health; writers facing overwhelming medical or dental expenses; writers suffering financial crises unrelated to health, such as unexpected loss of income, temporary unemployment or underemployment, eviction proceedings, or similar; writers struggling after a natural disaster. Details here.

American Society of Journalists and Authors: Writers Emergency Assistance Fund
Coronavirus-related WEAF funds are only available to those who cannot work because they are currently ill or caring for someone who is ill. Funds are not available to those who have lost work because publishers and/or clients are no longer assigning due of the pandemic. All other guidelines still apply. The fund is for helping established freelance writers who, because of advanced age, illness, disability, a natural disaster, or an extraordinary professional crisis are unable to work. Writers need not be members of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), but must have credentials that would qualify them for an ASJA membership (see guidelines). Writers need not live in the US. Details here.

Writers’ Trust of Canada: Woodcock Fund
This is a last-resource emergency resource for Canadian writers who face unforeseen financial crisis, who are mid-project, engaged in a book-length work. (They are not taking any COVID-19-related applications; writers whose incomes are affected by the pandemic should apply to the Canadian Writers’ Emergency Fund, when it opens again for applications). Writers should have published at least two books, or an equivalent body of work. Eligible categories are fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, playwriting, or children’s literature. The program is not intended to be a means of support for writers challenged to earn an income. A crisis of some nature is necessary to be considered. Screenwriting, formulistic romance writing or journalism are not eligible. The fund amounts are typically $2,000-$10,000 (Canadian). Details here.

SFWA Resources
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) has announced various relief measures for its members, including COVID-19 relief grants of $1,000 each to cover the cost of essential needs, such as housing and food, due to lost income from the pandemic, Emergency Medical Funds (to help SF/fantasy writers pay for funds not covered by medical insurance – short-term medical expenses that interfere with their ability to write), and dues relief. Details here.
Also see their statement in support of Black Lives Matter, where they have waived their fees for the rest of the year for Black writers. 

Dramatists Guild Foundation Emergency Grants
Dramatists Guild Foundation (DGF) provides one-time emergency financial assistance to writers for the American theatre – individual playwrights, composers, lyricists, librettists – in dire need of funds due to severe hardship or unexpected illness. This includes COVID-19 related losses. Details here

Carnegie Fund for Authors
Their website says, “The applicant must be an American author who has published at least one full-length work — fiction or nonfiction — that has been published by a mainstream publisher. Applicants cannot have eligibility determined by a work that they paid to have published. A work may have been published in eBook format only, or in hardcover or softcover format, or in more than one format.
An applicant must demonstrate need; the emergency may be because of illness or some other urgent need such as fire, flood, hurricane, etc. Documentation should be included with the application: a doctor’s letter or other proof of the emergency situation.” Details here.

Shade Literary Arts: Queer Writers of Color Relief Fund
They have started a GoFundMe page for queer writers of color. The website says, the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak in the US and globally “has major affects on the literature community as a whole and puts queer writers of color in stressful situations … This fund is to help at least 100 queer writers of color who have been financially impacted by the current COVID-19. Priority will be given to queer trans women of color and queer disabled writers of color, but I hope this relief fund will help many queer writers of color it can.” They can give a minimum of $100 and a maximum of $500, according to this form. They have monthly updates on the page about disbursement. Details here.

Singapore Unbound Relief Fund
This is for Singapore citizens living anywhere in the world or permanent residents of Singapore, who are writers – playwrights, screenwriters, songwriters, journalists, art reviewers, and writers of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. The grant is for $200 or 280 Singapore dollars, with no strings attached, for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This fund is specifically intended to help those in dire need of immediate help. It is not for writers who have lost work temporarily but who have other resources available. Details here.

IWMF Funds: US Journalism Emergency Fund; IWMF Emergency Fund
The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) has three funds, two of which are currently taking applications.  
— United States Journalism Emergency Fund: To “directly support U.S. journalists in need so they can resume work essential to our functioning democracy” – it is for U.S. journalists regardless of gender, and is for both staff and freelance journalists, for emergencies including destroyed or stolen equipment and medical emergencies.
— IWMF Emergency Fund: This is for women journalists in crisis.
— The COVID-19 Relief Fund: This is currently closed for applications, pending further fundraising.
Details of all the three funds are here.

The Society of Authors: Contingency Funds/Authors Emergency Funds
This fund is to help support authors impacted financially by the growing COVID-19 crisis. The Authors Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS), the Royal Literary Fund (RLF), the T S Eliot Foundation in partnership with English PEN, and Amazon UK have contributed financial resources to create the Authors’ Emergency Fund, to help support authors impacted financially by the growing health crisis. Applications are open to all professional authors who are resident in the UK or British subjects – including all types of writers, illustrators, literary translators, scriptwriters, poets, journalists and others – for whom author-related activities make up a substantial amount of their annual income. Grants are likely to be up to £2,000 and designed to meet urgent need with the possibility of review as the situation continues. Their guidelines also say, “if you have applied to Arts Council England’s (ACE) Emergency Fund we are unable to accept your application – you may only apply to one of these funds.” Details here.

Royal Literary Fund
The Royal Literary Fund (RLF) helps authors across the literary spectrum: novelists, poet and playwrights; writers of short stories and writers for children; crime writers, science writers, biographers. The circumstances of those they help vary greatly. Writers can apply for help from the RLF if they are suffering financial hardship and have had several works published in the UK for a general readership, without publication being subsidised. Self-published authors are not eligible. The RLF Committee has to pass applicants for literary merit before they are eligible for help. The committee meets eleven times a year to consider applications. A decision on literary merit and on the award of a grant/pension is made at the same meeting; the applicant is informed straightaway. Details here and here.

The Fund for Investigative Journalism: Three grants
The Fund for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) has three grants, with ongoing or upcoming deadlines. All of these grants average $5,000 but can be as high as $10,000. They cover out-of-pocket expenses such as travel, document collection, and equipment rental. They also consider requests for small stipends.
— Emergency Rolling Grants for US Journalists Covering Police Misconduct
They want stories on police misconduct that break new ground and expose wrongdoing—such as corruption, malfeasance, or abuse of power—in the public and private sectors. They encourage proposals written for ethnic media as well as those submitted by journalists of color and involving the impact of police misconduct on US ethnic communities, and also applications from local media outlets. Details here and here.

— Fund for Investigative Journalism Grants

They want stories that break new ground and expose wrongdoing – such as corruption, malfeasance, or abuse of power – in the public and private sectors. They encourage proposals written for ethnic media as well as those submitted by journalists of color. The deadline is 14 September 2020. Details here and here.

— Coronavirus Rolling Grant for US Freelancers
They are looking for stories on the Coronavirus that break new ground and expose wrongdoing—such as corruption, malfeasance, or abuse of power—in the public and private sectors. They encourage proposals written for ethnic media as well as those submitted by journalists of color and involving the impact of the Coronavirus in US ethnic communities. Details here and here.

Economic Hardship Reporting Project: Emergency Hardship Grants; Intersection of Coronavirus and financial suffering in America
They have two schemes for struggling journalists in the US; one is a grant, and another is a reporting project.
— Emergency Hardship Grants: They invite U.S. journalists to apply for emergency relief of financial insecurity caused by work lost due to Coronavirus. To apply, journalists should submit no more than 350 words in English or Spanish, including links to work published or broadcast in the last 12 months and a description of their financial situation. Awards will be considered on a rolling basis. Details here.

— Intersection of Coronavirus and financial suffering in America: They are offering assignments to independent journalists for stories on the intersection of the Coronavirus and financial suffering in America, with an emphasis on writers and photographers who are themselves experiencing significant economic hardship caused by the pandemic. They generally pay reporters roughly $1/word or a $300-$500 day-rate for photojournalists. They commission op-eds, personal essays, investigative reports, rich narrative features, podcasts, non-fiction cartoons, photo essays and documentaries about the US. Grants range from $500 for an op-ed to $10,000 for a documentary. Many of their contributors are low-income journalists. Applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis, and are subject to approval and available funds. Details here.

Artist Rescue Trust
This is a philanthropically funded program to provide financial relief to professional artists and creatives affected by COVID-19. They provide $1,500, spread over three months ($500/month), to artists in need. It is for professional artistic creators – musical, visual, and literary – whose primary source of income is through live performance, tours, and exhibits. Details here.

Emergency Funds for Diverse Creatives in Children’s Publishing
This is for children’s writers and/or illustrators who have been impacted by the pandemic. Writers and/or illustrators must be traditionally published in children’s literature and must demonstrate a financial need due to any loss of income. This grant is also for publishing professionals who have been furloughed or laid off, who have held a position that focused on children’s literature. Grants are $500-1,000 each. Details here.

The Awesome Foundation Grants
These no-strings-attached grants aren’t really emergency grants. Each fully autonomous chapter (there are 88 chapters in 13 countries) supports awesome projects through micro-grants of $1,000 or the local equivalent, usually given out monthly. Every chapter interprets “awesome” for itself. Projects include initiatives in a wide range of areas including arts, technology, community development, and more. Details here and here.

Author Bio: S. Kalekar is the pseudonym of a regular contributor to this magazine. She is the author of 182 Short Fiction Publishers. She can be reached here.


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