The Gap Fund is Fully Funded. Thank You — and What’s Next
The Village launched the Emergency Gap Fund for Philadelphia’s Black Working Artists in April 2020 to support Philadelphia’s culture bearers, visionaries, connectors and creative entrepreneurs with unrestricted grants of $500 during the pandemic. We asked our community to help us match our original investment of $40,000 and on July 11, 2020, we met our goal.
We are glad and grateful to announce that the Emergency Gap Relief Fund for Philly’s Black Working Artists has now fully funded all 337 applicants. That means over 300 visionaries, virtuosos, creative entrepreneurs, and connectors have received unrestricted grants of $500 to offer short-term relief from the economic impact of COVID-19.
This milestone is one of joy, grief and determination. Joy: because you, our community, met our urgent call. In just four short months, you fully funded these artists. So many Philadelphians showed up in solidarity with Black artists to donate to, and fundraise for, the Gap Fund.
Individuals gave, and then gave again — almost 20% of individual donors gave to the fund more than once. Local artists sold CDs, prints, and even tickets to Twitch dance parties to raise money for the Gap Fund. Small businesses and foundations donated generously.
To everyone who gave in solidarity: thank you. Thank you for recognizing the urgency of this moment with open hands. To our funded artists, who in some cases turned around and donated to the fund yourselves: Thank you. You inspire us, bring us joy, and give us reason to be. You are all Village family now. It’s wonderful to have so many new family members. We can’t wait to reunite when it’s safe to celebrate together in Ile Ife Park.
This is also a moment of sadness, fear, and anger. The pandemic is far from over. The shutdowns will continue to reshape our arts and culture economy for the foreseeable future. Black Philadelphians are significantly more vulnerable to contracting, and dying from, COVID-19 than other racial groups. Many of our neighbors, staff, and artists have experienced loss personally, or are supporting somebody who has lost a loved one. This is the result of institutionalized white supremacy and centuries of harm inflicted on Black people and Black bodies. We grieve injustice as well as the loss of life.
And this is a moment of determination. We know first-hand that the fight for justice is a long-term thing. We are 36 years young as an organization, and our predecessor, the Ile Ife Black Humanitarian Center, was founded at the closing of the Civil Rights Era. This summer’s national uprisings for racial justice are both the result of centuries of struggle, and the beginning of a new chapter.
We are also just beginning. The Emergency Gap Relief Fund is one of the first pages we have written in this new and unprecedented time. It tells a story of people showing up to support the artists who inspire, move and trouble them. It tells a story in which artists are essential, even in a time of emergency, perhaps because of this time. It tells a story of having enough to go around, despite myths of scarcity. It tells a story we are proud to be writing with all of you.
In love and possibility,
LOOKING FORWARD AT THE VILLAGE
Here are a few of the initiatives we’re working on in 2020/1:
Village Industries‘ pre-employment program is employing more than 50 teens this summer
The Civic Power Studio is opening in October of 2020 to provide safe space for people to organize at a crucial moment in our nation’s history
We are converting 6 properties in The Village heart to residential properties for community residents
Students, artists and partners are organizing to make Youth Justice a priority in our city, state and nation