COVID-19 Response Effort Initiatives

Ensuring artists share in the recovery of COVID-19


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For more information on making a donation, please contact Dane Bland, Director, Development & Engagement, at dane[at]torontoarts[dot]org.

Toronto Arts Foundation is worked with civic minded partners, including the Toronto Arts Council, to help with mitigation, resilience and recovery during the COVID-19 crisis in Toronto.

Toronto Arts Foundation COVID-19 efforts included:

Funding for Arts Organizations: With thanks to a one-million-dollar contribution from the Hal Jackman Foundation, eighty small and mid-sized charitable arts organizations affected by depleted earned revenue due to COVID-19 closures, received financial support. The arts organizations that have received these funds, all with budgets under 6 million dollars and representing a range of artistic disciplines and operating across the city, were selected by the directors of the Hal Jackman Foundation. These unrestricted contributions will inject these valued arts organizations with much needed support in this time of need. Toronto Arts Foundation assisted with the process, providing context, data and expediting the delivery of funds. To read the press release about this contribution, please click here.  

Click here to view the list of organizations that received support through the Hal Jackman Foundation.  

Funding for Artists:  With thanks again to the leadership of the Hal Jackman Foundation, we launched the Toronto Arts Foundation Resiliency Fund on March 9, 2022 to provide support for artists and arts workers who have suffered significant financial loss throughout the pandemic. Soon after its launch, The Slaight Family Foundation contributed a matching gift of $1 million. The Fund is currently accepting applications from charitable performing arts organizations for expenditure on artists/arts worker fees. Please visit this web page for more information. 

Previous: Toronto Arts Foundation partnered with Toronto Arts Council, with assistance from the City of Toronto, to create the TOArtist COVID-19 Response Fund to provide immediate support to Toronto's artists. 100% of all donations to the Fund went directly to artists, including musicians, actors, writers, dancers, community and visual artists — all of whom faced potentially devastating financial strains due to loss of income from cancelled events and performances. Thanks to the hundreds of individual Canadians, foundations and corporate partners who stepped up in support of Toronto’s affected artists with a collective contribution of $386,347, adding to the Fund’s starting amount of $450,000, the Foundation provided $836,347 to 982 Toronto artists. Although this Fund has now concluded and all funds have been dispersed, the Foundation continues to develop programs and work with partners to support artists. Click here to review the report on Fund. 

Research and Shared Resources: Collecting data and sharing information during this time is crucial. We are working with Ryerson University and other partners to ensure we not only track the impact of the pandemic on the arts, but we share information to help artists and arts organization plan for recovery. This includes designing and testing new operational practices for back of house operations in theatres, creating new guidelines for occupational and public health standards, and providing resources for artists on financial relief, mental health, virtual arts entertainment, data collection and accessibility. If you are interested in hearing more about these projects, please contact our Research Manager, Shawn Newman at shawn[at]torontoarts[dot]org.

Toronto Arts Foundation partnered with Ryerson University’s School of Creative Industries and Toronto Arts Council, with support from the City of Toronto, TO Live, SOCAN and the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts to create the Lights-On Venue Reopening Guide. The guide offers continually updated resources to performing arts organizations for the future safe reopening of their venues and is now an approved resource for the Safe Travels Stamp from the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario.

Knowledge sharing workshops: The Foundation quickly pivoted from providing general information on board governance to Toronto’s volunteer board members to sharing critical, current information to help support their arts organizations. The online workshop Surviving Extraordinary Times: The Board's Role in Organizational Resilience and 10 Principles for Navigating Through Critical Times remain on our website to be accessed to Toronto’s board members at any time and at no cost.

Mentorship: A new Mentor-in-Residence program for artists with developing community arts practices has been developed with North York Arts and other partners to support the re-designing and reimagining of artistic work.

Toronto Arts Foundation welcomes contributions to support our suite of COVID-19 response initiatives. Please consider making a donation today.

Show your support for Toronto’s arts community by using the hashtag #TOArtsTogether

For more information on making a donation, please contact Dane Bland, Director, Development & Engagement, at dane[at]torontoarts[dot]org.