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COVID-19: Resources for Organizations

Cultural Organizations Covid relief by the numbers: 181 Vermont organizations received $781K in Cultural Relief Grants with Vermont Humanities, $5M in Vermont Economic Recovery Grants via the Agency of Commerce and Community Development.General Resources | Summer Camp and Afterschool Resources | Impact Surveys | Webinars and Video Resources

For current information on the Vermont Arts Council's grantmaking during the COVID-19 pandemic, including changes and additions to current grant programs, please visit our "COVID-19 and Vermont Arts Council Grantmaking" page.

Safe Outdoor Venues Meeting

Thursday, Jan. 21, 10-11 a.m. via Zoom | The Vermont Recreation & Parks Association (VRPA) and the Vermont Arts Council have teamed up with several artists to organize a Zoom meeting on January 21st to discuss the ongoing challenges the Covid-19 pandemic has created, as well as to discuss safe outdoor venues for the summer 2021 season. All artists and performers in Vermont are encouraged to attend.

Learn more and register for the Safe Outdoor Venues meeting.

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Accessibility information

Closed captioning will be provided for this event.

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We invite you to contact us with specific accommodations you need to facilitate your participation in the workshop. We will make every effort to honor your requests when they are made two weeks prior to the event. Contact Michele Bailey, 504/ADA coordinator.

 

Paycheck Protection Program

The CAA bill authorized new rounds and additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which opens starting this week for new borrowers and certain existing PPP borrowers. Loans under $150,000 will be forgiven via a simple one-page form. Key PPP updates include:

  • PPP borrowers can set their PPP loan’s covered period to be any length between 8 and 24 weeks to best meet their business needs;
  • PPP loans will cover additional expenses, including operations expenditures, property damage costs, supplier costs, and worker protection expenditures;
  • The Program’s eligibility is expanded to include 501(c)(6)s, housing cooperatives, direct marketing organizations, among other types of organizations;
  • The PPP provides greater flexibility for seasonal employees;
  • Certain existing PPP borrowers can request to modify their First Draw PPP Loan amount; and
  • Certain existing PPP borrowers are now eligible to apply for a Second Draw PPP Loan. 

A borrower is generally eligible for a Second Draw PPP Loan if the borrower:

  • Previously received a First Draw PPP Loan and will or has used the full amount only for authorized uses;
  • Has no more than 300 employees; and
  • Can demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020. 

The Agency of Commerce and Community Development hosted a webinar for Vermont’s businesses on Jan. 6 about the updates to PPP and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The Agency’s leadership team was joined by the Vermont Department of Labor, the Vermont Bankers Association, the Small Business Administration's Vermont District Office and Thomas Lauzon, C.P.A., to help businesses navigate and understand the updates to these programs. Read more information including a link to the archived webinar recording.

Pandemic Unemployment Benefits

The CAA also extended many of the unemployment programs first authorized through the CARES Act in March of 2020, including relief for self-employed, freelancers or independent contractors. Read a summary of the changes from the Vermont Department of Labor and a helpful explanation about the current benefits in Vermont from Vermont Legal Aid.

Vermont Economic Recovery Grants 

This grant program closed on October 29, 2020. Through the Vermont Economic Recovery Grants program, 115 organizations received aid to help recover from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Vermont’s H.966 legislation provides economic relief to businesses and organizations (including nonprofits) using funds Vermont received from the Federal CARES Act. This bill allocated $5 million to support cultural nonprofit organizations across Vermont. 

The Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) administered Vermont Economic Recovery Grants to nonprofit arts and cultural organizations from July to September 2, 2020. In order to distribute the remaining funds that were earmarked in H.966 for cultural nonprofits, the Arts Council accepted applications for Economic Recovery Grants from September 21 until October 29, 2020.

Vermont Cultural Relief Grant Program

The Council partnered with Vermont Humanities to create the Vermont Cultural Relief Grant Program for arts and humanities organizations facing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the Cultural Relief Grant program, the Council and Vermont Humanities have distributed over $780,000 to 123 arts and cultural organizations. Funding for this program was provided primarily from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020. Applications to the Cultural Relief Grant program are closed. View final report.

Updated Work Safe Guidance from the Vermont ACCD, Effective Nov. 20, 2020

Over the summer, the ACCD announced work safe guidance allowing arts and culture organizations to reopen with a number of restrictions. Critical updates to these restrictions were made effective Nov. 20, 2020. The restrictions announced apply to libraries, galleries, museums, theaters and other indoor arts, culture and entertainment organizations. See section 8.3 of the ACCD's Phased Restart Work Safe Guidance for restrictions specific to arts and culture organizations. In addition to section 8.3, arts and culture organizations must follow the Vermont Department of Health and CDC guidelines as described under the heading, "MANDATORY HEALTH & SAFETY REQUIREMENTS FOR ALL BUSINESS, NON-PROFIT & GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS." Guidance sections that may also be applicable to individual arts and culture organizations include:

  • ADDITIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS FOR ALL BUSINESS, NON-PROFIT AND GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS

  • BUSINESS CUSTOMER & GENERAL PUBLIC MASK USE

  • CROSS STATE TRAVEL

Click here to view the ACCD's full Phased Restart Work Safe Guidance.

Information on CARES Act Relief Fund for US Nonprofits

New details on CARES Act relief fund provisions for US nonprofits were recently announced. Below are relevant updates from our friends at the League of American Orchestras. You can find a full overview in their Federal Assistance Center.

  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): The Treasury has issued new rules for seasonal employers that allow applicants to determine their maximum loan amount by calculating average monthly payroll over the period of March 1, 2019 to June 30, 2019 (as announced in the original PPP guidelines), or May 1, 2019 to September 15, 2019. This additional timeframe is meant to help those with higher employment in summer months. You can find other updates in the Treasury's expanded Frequently Asked Questions pdf.
     
  • Nonprofits that Self-Insure for Unemployment Benefits: Unemployment benefit guidance issued to states (pdf) by the U.S. Department of Labor on April 27 indicates that states must first bill a self-insuring nonprofit for 100% of the costs and payment must be made to the state by the nonprofit. Only then will the 50% reimbursement included in the CARES Act be issued to the nonprofit by the state. The National Council of Nonprofits is heading a push for revised rules that would streamline this process and relieve nonprofits of the payment burden. They are also seeking 100% coverage of costs under the next version of COVID-19 relief shaped by Congress.
     
  • Mid-sized and Main Street Loans: The Federal Reserve has announced its intention to create a Main Street Loan facility that will be available to nonprofit organizations as it "recognizes the critical role that nonprofit organizations play throughout the economy and is evaluating a separate approach to meet their unique needs."

General COVID-19 Resources for Organizations

Summer Camp and Afterschool Program Resources

Impact Surveys

As coordinators of two statewide networks—VACDaRN and the Vermont Creative Network—we are reaching out through those networks and others to collect timely and comprehensive information about the impacts being experienced by arts and cultural organizations. 

Respond to state and national cultural organization impact surveys

As of 3/18/20, we have closed the Council’s “COVID-19 and Vermont Cultural Organizations” survey. We very much appreciate the 30+ responses we received. As the situation has evolved, two new, more encompassing tools for collecting impact data have been developed, and we encourage members of Vermont’s creative sector to use these moving forward:

Vermont Businesses and Organizations

The Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development has developed an online survey for accepting impact info. They are no longer accepting impact information via the email address announced previously.

National Arts and Culture Sector Survey

Americans for the Arts has developed this 5-minute survey to collect information about the financial and human impacts that the spread of the coronavirus have had on arts and cultural organizations. The survey also collects basic information about the participating organizations so that the data can be parsed by specific geographic regions, artistic disciplines, and budget categories.

Webinars and Online Professional Networking

The Vital Task of Adapting our Organizations During—and After—the Pandemic Webinars

From ArtsFwd, these sessions aimed to help leaders and staff in any role make real progress out of disorder and into viable futures, offering frameworks for adaptive practice and examples from practitioners alongside dialogue with peers. These 60-minute weekly sessions began on Tuesday, April 14th, and recordings of all four sessions are available online.

VBSR Webinar: Coronavirus (COVID-19) – socially responsible considerations to keep your business and community safe: Monday March 16, 2020 (Recorded, and available for download)

In this VBSR webinar, Duane Peterson, Co-President of SunCommon and VBSR board member, explores and outlines precautions and opportunities that businesses can take to be socially responsible about Coronavirus and play a leadership role in protecting their employees, clients, and communities. VBSR staff also provide more information and resources for businesses on COVID-19 during this webinar.
 

Originally held on Monday, March 16th, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm 

Download the VBSR webinar on socially responsible business considerations (clicking the link will cause the file to begin downloading immediately).

How to Plan a Virtual Event on Vimeo 

Vimeo’s live production team offers advice on how schools, event coordinators, marketers, and more are evolving their event strategies to optimize engaging live streaming experiences. 

How to Host a Watch Party on Facebook

With Facebook’s Watch Party feature, you can watch tons of videos and shows with members of groups you’re in on Facebook. This could be helpful for filmmakers or other artists whose screenings had to be cancelled.


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