COVID-19 Federal Relief Fund Updates

From Anne B. Pope, Executive Director –

The Tennessee Arts Commission continues its work to support TN Arts and Culture. We wanted to give you an update on where we are in terms of federal economic aid. We will continue to keep you posted.

Today, Friday, March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the $2 trillion coronavirus economic relief bill into law. Americans for the Arts (AFTA) reported the following earlier today to explain how the package will aid arts and culture:

The $2 trillion emergency stimulus package includes $300 million in economic relief to support nonprofit cultural organizations, museums, libraries, public broadcasting, and state and local arts and humanities agencies, as well as substantial additional economic relief opportunities for independent contractors like “gig economy” workers such as actors, musicians, and artists and nonprofit organizations and small businesses, including those working in the creative economy. 

Specifically, the stimulus legislation includes the following arts-related items to address the continuing damage caused by the COVID-19 virus

Federal Arts Funding  (Note: This is a supplement to their annual appropriations)

      • $75 million for the National Endowment for the Art
      • $75 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities

Arts-Eligibility Within Community Development Block Grants, Small Business Administration, and Unemployment Insurance

      • $5 billion for Community Development Block Grants to cities and counties
      • $350 billion for  Small Business Administration (SBA) emergency loans of up to $10 million for small businesses—including  nonprofits (with less than 500 employees), sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals  (like individual artists)—to cover payroll costs, mortgage/rent costs, utilities, and other operations. These loans can be forgiven  if used for those purposes. This new eligibility is a  key element of the CREATE Ac
      • $10 billion for Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) for loans up to $10,000 for small businesses and nonprofits to be used for providing paid sick leave for employees, maintaining payroll, mortgage/rent payments, and other operating costs
      • Expanded  Unemployment Insurance (UI) that includes coverage for furloughed workers, freelancers, and ”gig economy” workers. The bill also increases UI payments by $600/week for four months, in addition to what one claims under a state unemployment program     

Charitable Giving Tax Deduction Incentives That Will Also Help Nonprofit Arts Organizations

An “above-the-line” or universal charitable giving incentive for contributions made in 2020 of up to $300. This provision will now allow all non-itemizer taxpayers (close to 90% of all taxpayers) to deduct charitable contributions from their tax return, an incentive previously unavailable to them. Additionally, the stimulus legislation lifts the existing cap on annual contributions for itemizers from 60 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI) to 100 percent of AGI for contributions made in 2020.

At the state level, we are working closely with state officials and Tennesseans for the Arts to communicate the unprecedented financial impact facing Tennessee’s arts sector as a result of the current crisis.

On Wednesday, March 25, Gov. Bill Lee announced that Tennessee has received a declaration for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Small business owners, including nonprofits in all U.S. states and territories, are currently eligible to apply for a low-interest loan due to Coronavirus (COVID-19). Click here to apply.

Find more information on the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans at:

The SBA will work directly with state Governors to provide targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses and non-profits that have been severely impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.

In response to the crisis within our cultural industry, AFTA has been surveying the economic impact of the coronavirus on the nonprofit arts industry. In just two weeks, more than 8,000 organizations provided detailed data on their measurable impact. The survey shows 93% of responding organizations have had to cancel events with total lost attendance topping more than 53 million people. The estimated direct loss of income for this industry to date is $3.6 billion. AFTA shared with Congress the details of its survey results, along with a series of specific legislative requests to prevent the collapse of the arts and culture industry in America.

Thank you for everything you are doing for TN Arts & Culture.