Back in April, a coalition of seven arts organizations that included the National YoungArts Foundation, Creative Capital and United States Artists created Artist Relief, an initiative to provide $5,000 relief grants to creatives facing financial emergencies due to the fallout from COVID-19. Now, the Academy of American Poets, the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses and the National Book Foundation have come together to create a similar initiative for literary organizations and nonprofits specifically: the Literary Arts Emergency Fund. The Fund will distribute grants of sums ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 to literary organizations and nonprofits based on financial need and projected loss due to COVID-19.
The $3.5 million grant that made the Literary Arts Emergency Fund possible came from Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which has, according to its website, cumulatively committed more than $200 million towards arts and humanities organizations which have been devastated by COVID-19. “Writers create humanity’s vast and intricate record — they are the chroniclers of our joys and fears, our varied inner lives, our humor, anguish, and determination,” Elizabeth Alexander, the president of the Mellon Foundation and a poet, said in a statement. “This one-time emergency grant provides critical support both for these vital storytellers and for the organizations that ensure their written work remains accessible.”
Potential applicants to the Literary Arts Emergency Fund are encouraged to submit their bids right away, because the deadline for applications falls on August 7. Writers in particular, who may have previously supported their creative output with day jobs that have since been lost to the maw of the pandemic, are in need of assistance during this crucial period. Additionally, financial grants can be of extreme help to writers who need additional space and time to complete their works; writers who can’t adhere easily to the enormous demands placed upon them by society are especially vulnerable when society begins to break apart. Organizations that receive this grant will be able to do a lot of good.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that the fund was available to individual writers. In fact, the fund is available only to literary organizations. The piece has been updated to reflect this change.