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COVID-19 has significantly changed the way many arts organizations have been managing their work over the past few months, playing a huge role in how grantmakers are adapting to a new normal. A lot of these changes have forced organizations to rethink how they function and support their local organizations, artists, and colleagues. To help support the field during this challenging time, several regional arts organizations have created relief funds and grants using GO Smart to streamline their grants management process. 

One example is South Arts, a nonprofit regional arts organization based out of Atlanta, Georgia that supports the state arts agencies in Alabama,Florida,Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. In April, South Arts launched the Jazz Roads Quick Assist Fund, a grant program dedicated to supporting freelance jazz artists who have lost significant income and employment throughout March, April, and May 2020 due to COVID-19. Through this fund, grants of up to $1,000 were awarded to 450 jazz musicians across the country to offset significant losses in gig revenue. Using GO Smart, South Arts was able to set up its application process and receive 1,500 applicants. The Fund was supported by generous gifts totaling $450,000 from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and other generous donors.

The Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF), a nonprofit regional arts organization and GO Smart’s parent, is located in Denver, Colorado. WESTAF supports the 13 western state arts agencies. WESTAF rolled out its own WESTAF CARES Relief Fund for Organizations using GO Smart. This competitive grant program was supported by the National Endowment for the Arts through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress and signed into law in March 2020. The Fund provided general operating support to eligible arts and culture organizations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and awarded up to $20,000 to organizations across the WESTAF 13-state region, with at least one grant awarded per state. WESTAF collected 441 applications and, through a panel process, awarded $829,500 to 45 eligible arts and culture organizations in the western region in July 2020.

This is a crucial time to support the arts and all local businesses across the United States. Grants are just one way to help make sure the arts continue to thrive during—and after—the pandemic. Thinking about building out your own relief fund? GO Smart is here to help you every step of the way and make your online grants management process as seamless as possible. 

Follow GO Smart on LinkedIn and Facebook to stay up-to-date on our blog and the latest news on the inspiring work organizations like yours are doing in partnership with GO Smart. Questions? Contact us at 303-629-1166 or gosmartsales@westaf.org

Stay safe and healthy out there! 

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