As artists and culture bearers were beginning to feel the effects of hardship brought on by the COVID-19 crisis, the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (NACF) Board and staff took immediate action to reallocate funds for emergency aid. In response to the stress the pandemic brought to our communities, NACF created the Native Arts Emergency Support Project (NAESP) to provide relief for Native artists and arts organizations. We strived to keep the application process as simple as possible to ensure a quick turnaround.
The NAESP launched in early April, with support from some of our key partners. In the first phase, geared towards previous NACF awardees, we were able to assist 70 artists and arts organizations. In the second phase, we awarded an additional 32 Native artists from the Portland, Oregon, metro area, which is home to our national headquarters. The NAESP awards totaled over $270,000.00 in emergency funds, offering relief for artists and cultures bearers experiencing income loss, and/or physical, mental, or emotional health issues as a result of COVID-19.
We want to thank the Hawaii Community Foundation, First Nations Development Institute, Portland Area Artist Relief Fund, Surdna Foundation, Rainbow Pineapple Foundation, and individual donors for their contributions to the NAESP.
Wow, thank you all so much for the continued support. I view NACF as an extended family with everyone I have met and been honored to learn from over the past few years and I am so deeply honored… This funding is coming at a time that our family truly needs it and I just deeply appreciate it and the prompt response to this process.
― Courtney M. Leonard (Shinnecock Nation)