First Recipients of TOArtist COVID-19 Response Fund Receive Support

Every donation received is having a big impact on the lives of artists

TORONTO, April 13, 2020 – To date, Toronto Arts Foundation has raised $738,846 from generous donors, foundations and organizations to support artists who have lost income due to COVID-19 cancellations through the TOArtist COVID-19 Response Fund. The Fund was developed in partnership with Toronto Arts Council, and was launched on March 26, 2020.
Artists are among the hardest hit by COVID-19. Since Toronto is home to more than twice as many artists as any other Canadian city, the collective impact of COVID-19 on Toronto artists is particularly dire. Many self-employed artists cannot obtain EI and some may also not qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) launched last week.
Last week, the first batch of funds amounting to $153,655 was received by 192 artists working in all disciplines. Over the next weeks an additional 650 artists can expect support of up to $1000 each thanks to the amount that has been fundraised to date. Yet, nearly 1,900 artists have reached out in need; a clear indication that more donations are needed.
We continue to see overwhelming generosity from individual Canadians, foundations and organizations.
As a long-time supporter of many of Toronto’s arts organizations as well as Toronto Arts Foundation initiatives, we’re pleased to announce that the RBC Foundation has recently joined on with a significant contribution to the TOArtist COVID-19 Response Fund.
In 2019 RBC was awarded the Toronto Arts and Business Award, recognizing the company as a vital contributor to the local arts ecosystem. We are grateful for RBC Foundation’s incredible support for the arts in Toronto.
Noted Canadian artists have also shown support for the Fund, including Margaret Atwood, Atom Egoyan & ArsinĂ©e Khanjian, Martha Burns and Ted Barris. 

“If you have the capacity to give, and you’re a supporter of the arts, please consider making a donation to the TOArtist COVID-19 Response Fund” said Claire Hopkinson, Director & CEO, Toronto Arts Council and Toronto Arts Foundation. “We want to ensure that as many artists in need as possible get support during this difficult time. So many have stepped up in support, which has enabled us to keep this initiative going. But we have more work to do; we have more artists to help.” 

“The arts encourage a culture of creativity and innovation, and helps foster diversity and inclusion in our communities,” said Kris Depencier, Regional President, RBC. “We are proud to contribute to the TOArtist COVID-19 Response Fund through the RBC Emerging Artists Project, established to help artists bridge the gap from emerging to established and support organizations that provide the best opportunity to advance their career trajectory.”

To manage the overwhelming requests for support, Toronto Arts Council has had to suspend the intake of applications. Yet Toronto Arts Foundation continues to accept donations to the TOArtist COVID-19 Response Fund so that more of the 1,900 artists who have sought help will receive the support they need. Please consider making a donation HERE, and help us spread the word. 
“Artists are the soul of our society. Please stay strong.“
– TOArtist COVID-19 Response Fund Donor
“Thank you so much for establishing this response fund - it’s a life saver for a lot of us musicians.”
– TOArtist COVID-19 Response Fund Applicant
“I have lost all sources of income, including my production gig, two paid exhibitions and the sale of one of my largest paintings to date. So this fund couldn't come at a better time."
- TOArtist COVID-19 Response Fund Applicant
She Does The City: Toronto Arts Council and Toronto Arts Foundation Launch $500K (and growing) Fund for Artists
COMPLEX: HXOUSE & City of Toronto Start Fund for Artists Hit by COVID-19
The Star: Out-of-work actors, musicians and others have a new place to turn for help
The Star: Emergency funds for Canadian musicians top $1.5 million
Turn Out Radio: What You Need To Know: COVID-19 Resources For Dance Artists With Kate Cornell and Claire Hopkinson
The Creative Cove Podcast: The Toronto Arts Council TOArtist COVID-19 Emergency Fund





About Toronto Arts Foundation
Toronto Arts Foundation is a charitable organization that sparks creative connections, spotlights artistic excellence, and supports vibrant cultural growth throughout our diverse city, through private sector investment. To learn more or to make a donation, visit
Contact information:
For more information or to schedule an interview with Claire Hopkinson, please contact:  
Sarah Gladki, Communications Manager at, cell: 647-704-1550