NIVF Reopens Emergency Relief Fund, Expands Program Beyond COVID Aid


The National Independent Venue Foundation announced the relaunch of its Emergency Relief Fund today in order to provide economic relief to independent, music and comedy venues, festivals, and promoters across the United States experiencing a severe financial emergency due to circumstances beyond their control.

There’s a few changes to the fund since it was created in October 2020 to mitigate the catastrophic effects of COVID-19 shutdowns on independent venues. The updated Emergency Relief Fund will now cover additional unforeseeable situations beyond the control of recipients, including natural disasters, future pandemics, and the lasting effects of COVID-19. An application link and more information can be found at NIVF’s website.

“These venues and promoters contribute in immeasurable ways to the vibrancy of the nation’s diverse communities and economy,” said Lisa Gedgaudas, co-chair of the NIVF ERF Committee and program manager, Cultural Affairs Arts & Venues with the city and county of Denver. “While NIVF’s ERF is limited in resources compared to the federal funding we have seen, it is our social responsibility to have this program in place to help represent our independent contributors that are hardest hit and facing severe and catastrophic emergencies beyond their control. From pandemics to fire and floods, the new evolution of the ERF program stands in preparation for a stronger recovery in the face of various climate emergencies that may continue to impact independent venues in our communities over time.”

Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year and reviewed as received on a case-by-case basis by the ERF Committee under the direction of the NIVF Board of Directors. NIVF is committed to inclusivity, diversity, equity, and accessibility in its programs and decision-making processes, including the guidelines, application, criteria, and review process for the NIVF Emergency Relief Fund.

The NIVA Emergency Relief Fund was launched by the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) to help struggling venues and promoters on the verge of collapse, as they awaited critical financial relief from government programs. 

The NIVA Emergency Relief Fund awarded $3.17 million to entities in 40 states; $2.8 million to 148 independent venues and $370,000 to 18 independent promoters. These funds were donated by thousands of individuals across the country, and through the generosity of Mast-Jägermeister US, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Spotify, Universal Music Group, the Gerald L. Lennard Foundation, Sony Corporation, and Fender Musical Instruments Corp. Additional support was provided by YouTube Music to fund the SOSFest fundraising event benefiting the NIVA ERF.

“The long-term continuation of this program will support venues and promoters across the country when a crisis occurs,” said Hal Real, president of the NIVF Board and World Cafe Live in Philadelphia. “We encourage live music fans and sponsors to donate to our Emergency Relief Fund so we are ready to assist the next time independent venues and promoters are in dire need of assistance.”  

The Emergency Relief Fund is just one of several programs that NIVF is developing to proactively support the independently owned and operated community anchors.