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Foundations, City Of Philadelphia And Key Arts & Culture Organizations Join Together To Launch $3.45 Million Fund To Meet The Growing Emergency Need In This Sector

The COVID-19 Arts Aid PHL fund will serve individual artists as well as small and mid-sized cultural organizations whose operations have been devastated by the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic

April 8, 2020 (PHILADELPHIA, PA) – The City of Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy (OACCE), the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance (GPCA), and the Philadelphia Cultural Fund (PCF) today announced the creation of COVID-19 Arts Aid PHL, a new emergency support fund focused on the arts and culture sector in the Philadelphia region. COVID-19 Arts Aid PHL will support individual artists as well as small arts and culture organizations (Annual budgets no greater than $250,000) and mid-sized organizations (Annual budgets of $250,000 - $15M) whose operations, work and livelihood have been deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 Arts Aid PHL launches with $3.45 million in support, led by a $2.5 million grant from the William Penn Foundation.  OACCE, PCF and GPCA provided the seed funding to create the fund and leadership gifts have been received by The Barra Foundation and Wyncote Foundation with additional support received from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation as well as Connelly, IndependenceLenfest and Victory Foundations. The fund is expected to increase as other foundations, corporate partners, organizations and individuals contribute throughout the coming weeks and months.    

"As Mayor, I'm proud to represent Philadelphia, a city where the philanthropic community goes above and beyond in response to a crisis," said Mayor Jim Kenney. "I am deeply grateful to the William Penn Foundation, the Barra Foundation, the Wyncote Foundation and all of the support received thus far for the COVID-19 Arts Aid PHL Fund. Philadelphia’s artists and arts organizations represent the cultural fabric of our communities and are vital to our city’s economy, identity and neighborhoods. Providing broad support, which includes individual artists and small arts organizations, will help sustain a diversity of our creative constituencies with deep connections to the local communities they serve.”

The arts and culture sector is a defining characteristic of the Philadelphia region, contributing to its identity as a national center of creativity. The sector generates nearly $1B annually in direct organizational spending, spurring over $4.1B in total economic impact in the region according to the Cultural Alliance. This activity is propelled by over 500 organizations across neighborhoods throughout the region, generating more than 55,000 jobs. The sector also employs 13,000 artists and a wide range of contracted labor, such as designers, technicians, craftsman, and hourly employees.

“Regional nonprofit arts and cultural organizations have experienced early, deep and widespread impacts as a result of the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 crisis. This is an important moment for arts funders to come together to show their support for a sector that provides so much to our city,” said Janet Haas, M.D., Chair of the William Penn Foundation. “We are grateful for the partnership of those who acted quickly and hope the COVID-19 Arts Aid PHL fund will continue to grow with support from additional funders and donors.”

COVID-19 Arts Aid PHL will focus on the most vulnerable part of the cultural sector: individual artists and small to mid-sized organizations. Their tight margins and limited or lack of endowments puts them in particularly perilous circumstances, threatening their ability to resume operations post-pandemic. Small and mid-sized organizations also account for most of the cultural sector, with over 300 in the city of Philadelphia alone. Funds granted through COVID-19 Arts Aid PHL will help to support individual artists; the needs of non-profits for staff and operational costs; remote/virtual programming and other direct expenses required for the delivery of programs and services in the current COVID-19 environment.

“This united response will help to address the immediate needs of our regional arts community,” said Kristina Wahl, President of The Barra Foundation. “As we begin to emerge from this crisis, we will all need to tap into the creativity and ingenuity the cultural sector embodies to re-imagine how we can thrive again.”

A portal for online donations is now open at The fund will be managed by the Cultural Alliance with financial administration by the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC). Application details will be available on,, and as soon as possible.

About Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance
Established in 1972, the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance is the region’s leading arts and cultural advocacy, research and marketing organization. Our mission is to “lead, strengthen and amplify the voices of a cultural community that ignites creativity, inspires people and is essential for a healthy region.” Our membership includes more than 450 organizations ranging from museums and dance companies to community art centers, historic sites, music ensembles and zoos. For more information on the Cultural Alliance, please visit

About the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture & the Creative Economy
The Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy (OACCE) closes the gap in access to the arts for all Philadelphians. Committed to an inclusive arts sector, OACCE provides free neighborhood cultural programming; connects Philadelphians to quality cultural experiences; and preserves the City’s public art assets across the city. To learn more, visit

About the Philadelphia Cultural Fund
Established in 1991 to support and enhance the cultural life and vitality of the City of Philadelphia and its residents, the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, through the combined efforts of the Philadelphia City Council and the Mayor, promotes arts and culture as engines of social, educational and economic development and has played a key stabilizing role for numerous organizations by providing much-needed general operating funding.