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Denver CARES Arts & Culture Restart and Recovery Fund

In addition to previous funding, Denver Arts & Venues is directing up to $850,000 of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act federal funding to assist small, non- or for-profit creative businesses, venues or organizations currently operating in the City and County of Denver.

Denver's creative industries lost an estimated 29,840 jobs and $1.4 billion in sales revenue between April and July 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis (2020 Creative Economy Report.) Arts & Venues is committed to the well-being of artists in our community and recognizes the serious financial impact the current health pandemic is having on their livelihoods.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act recognizes that “the arts industry is an important sector of America’s economy.”  Denver Arts & Venues has directed up to $850,000 of CARES Act Funding to the Denver CARES Arts & Culture Restart and Recovery Fund. Selected applicants will be eligible to receive a one-time award of up to $25,000.

Applications have been extended to Sept. 24, 6 p.m.

Translation and interpretation services are available upon request.

About

The purpose of the Denver CARES Arts and Culture Restart and Recovery Fund is to provide up to $25,000 grants to operators of small organizations and creative businesses located in the City and County of Denver who suffered losses as a direct result of the COVID-19 crisis and have reopened or plan to reopen. Denver Arts & Venues also aims to provide funding for organizations and creative businesses that remain financially vulnerable to COVID-19 impacts owned or led by members of historically and/or systemically marginalized communities, or organizations supporting programming for historically and/or systemically marginalized communities.

Denver Arts & Venues is committed to justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. Our intent is to support arts and cultural organizations and creative businesses that are committed to these values, which are essential to ensure a vibrant future for arts and culture, and all people in Denver. We foster mutual respect for the beliefs and values of all individuals and groups in our city, including:

  • American Indian/Alaskan Native community and American Indian/Alaskan Native-serving organizations 
  • Asian/Asian American community and Asian/Asian American-serving organizations
  • Black/African American community and Black/African American-serving organizations 
  • Latino/Latina/x/e community and Latino/Latina/x/e-serving organizations 
  • Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander community and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander-serving organizations
  • People with disabilities and organizations and businesses that support the independence and lifelong inclusion of people with disabilities
  • LGBTQIA+ community and LGBTQIA+-serving organizations 

Awardee Responsibility

Funding MUST BE SPENT by Awardee no later than Dec. 31, 2021.  For guidance on eligible expenses please visit https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/Coronavirus-Relief-Fund-Frequently-Asked-Questions.pdf.

As an awardee, you are required to send Arts & Venues an easy-to-fill final spending report form (download DENVER CARES EXPENSE TRACKER below) on or before Jan. 31, 2022 that documents that you have spent all grant monies in a manner compliant with CARES Act requirements. Should a grant awardee be unable or unwilling to expend the grant monies, CARES Act funds must be repaid to the City upon written request.

DOWNLOAD DENVER CARES EXPENSE TRACKER

Please complete and return the spending report to Lisa.Gedgaudas@denvergov.org no later than Jan. 31, 2022.

Application Prep Worksheets - English & Spanish

Downloadable Guidelines

FAQ

Fillable W-9 Forms - English & Spanish

Eligible Applicants

Funding will be awarded to selected small and mid-size organizations, creative businesses and venues in Denver with at least 75% of their work focused on supporting arts, culture and the creative industries, including performing arts, music, visual and fine arts, and film, meeting the following eligibility criteria:

  • Must have been fully operational on or before March 1, 2020 
  • Can be operating as a non-profit or creative for-profit entity 
  • Be physically located in the City and County of Denver
  • Have 2019 revenues that did not exceed $5,000,000 
  • Must be able to show loss of income and/or increased costs directly due to COVID-19
  • If the organization or creative business runs a venue or space it must meet at least one of the following criteria:
    • Typically, does live programming such as music, dance, comedy or film screenings driving at least 75% of business throughout the year
    • Space which includes education and/or training of visual or performing artists, or other creative industries 

Ineligible Applicants

While we understand that organizations and creative businesses that support the work of our arts and cultural sector can be defined broadly, due to limited capacity and the volume of applications, we are not reviewing submissions by the following applicants:

  • Organizations that primarily operate for the purposes of sporting events, karaoke, exotic dancing, fitness or private events (e.g. galas, weddings), studios in private homes, schools, chain movie theaters owning and/or operating multiple physical locations in the greater Denver area or multiple states, businesses that offer live music, other performing arts or film screenings fewer than 50 times per year (prior to 2020), or businesses with primary revenues generated through sale of food, drink or other activities not primarily of a cultural program nature. Venues that exhibit the foregoing activities shall not be eligible for the current grant program.
  • Properties ineligible for consideration include locations owned or operated by the City and County of Denver, including but not limited to Red Rocks Amphitheatre, the Denver Coliseum, the Denver Performing Arts Complex in its entirety and McNichols Civic Center Building.

Eligible Expenses

Funding is available for various expenses incurred in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic. This list may continue to be updated by the federal government. Expenses can include:

  • Re-hire or hiring incentives for employees
  • Payroll costs (including salaries, wages, commissions or similar compensation)
  • Rent (obligated under a rental/leasing agreement or mortgage, in force on or before March 1, 2020)
  • Health and safety supplies, and materials for cleaning and sterilization
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Utilities for a service for the distribution of electricity, gas, water, transportation, telephone or internet access for which the service began before March 1, 2020 
  • Business supplies (including protective equipment and cleaning materials)
  • Technology expenses for expanding the business model 
  • Business maintenance expenses
  • Business operating expenses
  • Business safety updates

Required Documentation

In addition to completing the application, applicants MUST provide the following documentation to qualify for this fund:  

  • A Statement of Need: A brief description (no more than 400 words) illustrating the impact COVID-19 had on business operations, including current financial status, cancellations, refunds, etc. and how funding will support the applicant’s business. The Statement of Need is included in the application and not something you will need to upload separately.
  • Proof of registration with the Colorado Secretary of State, whether in good standing or delinquent.
  • W-9 Form (PDF format) which identifies applicant’s current business address and EIN number with a signature of an authorized representative.
  • Proof of being physically located in the City and County of Denver (PDF format). MUST BE ONE OF THE FOLLOWING FROM 2021: utility bill, phone bill, pay stub, renter’s or mortgage bill, lease, current homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy, USPS change of address form. We cannot accept a driver’s license for your documentation.
  • Proposed budget document for award (PDF format) which includes:
    - Date funds will be utilized
    - What the funds will be utilized for; and
    - Amount to be spent on each qualified expenditure 
  • ONE document showing monthly business revenues in each month from March 2019 through December 2020 (PDF format). Documentation may include, but is not limited to, revenue statements, income statements, P&L statements or other financial reports of a similar and reasonable nature.

Additional documentation may include: 

  • ONE document including additional information you wish to provide regarding practices, decision-making processes, and/or programming or initiatives that reflect the values of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (PDF format). 
  • ONE document including supplemental documentation that demonstrates the direct financial impacts of COVID-19 on the business (PDF format).  

Applicants may need to supply additional information reasonably requested by the City and County of Denver for full consideration.

Selection Process

Denver Arts & Venues is committed to justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI) in all programs, initiatives and decision-making processes. The Denver CARES Arts & Culture Restart and Recovery Fund review panel consists of members of the Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs. The role of the review panel is to participate in an inclusive and equitable review and selection process and to recommend a roster of grantees to Denver Arts & Venues, which has the final responsibility to approve all grants.

Through the Denver CARES Arts & Culture Restart and Recovery Fund, Denver Arts & Venues intends to make awards that will impact a broad constituency, and strongly encourages applications from a variety of eligible organizations especially:

  • Organizations and creative businesses that serve populations that are under-resourced, such as those that have been historically and/or systemically marginalized and whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by ethnicity, economics, geography or disability.
  • Organizations and creative businesses with small- and medium-sized budgets.
  • Organizations and creative businesses that have existing arts and cultural work that is deeply rooted in racial equity and social justice efforts.
  • Organizations and creative businesses that reflect equity values through strong board, executive leadership and staff representation from communities that have been historically and/or systemically marginalized.
  • Organizations and creative businesses that have a mission centered in elevating communities that have been historically and/or systemically marginalized. 
  • Organizations and creative businesses that have clearly demonstrated credibility, trust and authentic connections with communities that have been historically and/or systemically marginalized, and have a track record of partnerships rooted in working “with” rather than “for” Denver’s diverse communities.
  • Organizations and creative businesses that have a strong and stated commitment to an equity practice.

Proposals may focus on reaching a particular constituency; however proposals may not be exclusionary under national civil rights laws and policies prohibiting discrimination. This extends to hiring practices and audience engagement activities.

All applications will be evaluated on each of the following criteria:
1)    Statement of Need: A brief letter (no more than 400 words) describing the impact COVID-19 has had on business operations and current financial status, and how funding will support the applicant’s business.
2)    Cultural impact and commitment to justice, equity, diversity and inclusion: Including mission, programming types, activities, partnerships and/or communities served.
3)    Economic impact: Years in operation, size of organization and staff.
4)    Severity of loss or increased expenses: Demonstration of an immediate need based on current financial strain directly due to COVID-19. Before applying, we ask that applicants take a moment to self-evaluate whether the business is experiencing a dire financial emergency during this time to make space for those applicants most urgently in need. 

Priority will be given to applicants that demonstrate:

  • Being open or reopening for business safely by fall of 2021
  • Rehiring or hiring additional employees of our creative class
  • Purchasing supplies, materials and/or equipment to support health and safety
  • Purchasing equipment to provide remote services
  • Severe financial distress, and those that may have no other sources of income or are facing significantly diminished income or increased expenses due to COVID-19
  • Five or fewer full-time staff (not including contractors) on or before February 15, 2020

Timeline

Applications will be accepted Aug. 24, 8 a.m. through Sept. 20, 6 p.m.

Award notifications will be issued 30-60 days after the application closes. All applicants will be notified by email of their application status at that time.

Funding will be issued to approved applicants within 30 days of when the awardee is approved and all required documentation needed for processing a payment has been received. 

Grant funding MUST BE SPENT by no later than December 31, 2021. 

Funded applicants will be required to provide Denver Arts & Venues a final report with supporting documentation on or before January 31, 2022, demonstrating that they have expended all grant monies in a manner compliant with CARES Act requirements. Should a grant awardee be unable or unwilling to expend the grant monies, CARES Act funds must be repaid to the City upon written request. This report from the applicant will be in a simple template provided by Denver Arts & Venues and must include:

  • Date funds were spent
  • What the funds were utilized for
  • Amount of each qualified expenditure 

All receipts and documentation of CARES Act expenditures must be maintained by applicant for five years after funding is provided.

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Survey

In the email notification of your application status, you will receive a survey link that will help us understand the demographics of all that applied and how COVID-19 has impacted the sector. It will also help us demonstrate the need for additional financial support. Only aggregated information will be utilized.

We urge you and thank you for participating in the survey.

About Denver's Creative Economy

Denver's creative industries support 96,358 jobs and there are 88,217 people employed in creative occupations across multiple industries within the region. Creative industries in the Denver metropolitan region produced $16.2 billion in sales revenue in 2019.  The Denver metropolitan region’s creative industries lost an estimated 29,840 jobs and $1.4 billion in sales revenue between April and July 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis. Arts & Venues is committed to the well-being of artists in our community and recognizes the serious financial impact the current health pandemic is having on artists’ livelihoods.

The time for action to support this creative sector in Denver is now.

Arts & Venues recently released this report detailing the scale, scope, and growth of the Denver metropolitan region’s creative economy between 2010 and 2019. The report also estimates the initial effects of the COVID-19 crisis on the region’s creative economy. 

2020 City of Denver Creative Economy Report with Initial Impacts of the COVID-19 Crisis 

Expense Tracker - English & Spanish

If you have any questions, please contact Lisa Gedgaudas at lisa.gedgaudas@denvergov.org using the subject line: [Your Name] Denver CARES Arts & Cultural Restart and Recovery Fund.