Early Music Freelancers’ Relief Fund

MUSICIANS: Jump to the application.

UPDATED August 24, 2021: Relief fund grant recipients may apply for a seventeenth grant one month after the date they turned in their sixteenth grant applications. If you have continuing need, please resubmit your application. However, there is no need to submit documentation of recently lost work, given the paucity of gigs.

First-time grant applicants, as well as repeat applicants who have received fewer than sixteen grants, will receive priority. (You may file for a continuing grant one month after the day you turned in your previous application.)

As the coronavirus pandemic wreaks an unprecedented financial toll on the world economy, our local early music freelancers have been particularly hit hard. Months of work have dried up in days, leaving many musicians on the brink of financial ruin.

In an effort to help our musicians, the SFEMS board has taken the lead in setting up a short-term relief fund for local early music freelancers. Since then, we have received over $70,000 in donations. This fund will provide first-come, first-served $300 grants to musicians in need, and will do so until funds run out.

Because of your generosity, SFEMS is more than equipped to continue providing grants for the foreseeable future! We are temporarily suspending the ability to donate to the relief fund, but hope you will considering support SFEMS’s programming.

Early Music Freelancers' Relief Fund

  • Thank you for applying to the SFEMS Early Music Musicians' Relief Fund.

    This fund is open to all individual freelance professional musicians who 1) live in the following nine counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma; and 2) make their living primarily through the performance and teaching of early music.

    Organizations are NOT eligible for support under this relief fund. Musicians do NOT need to be current members of SFEMS. All applications will remain confidential.

    Application Process:

    Available funds will be dispersed on a first-come, first-served basis. Currently, we plan to fulfill each request with a one-time, $250 grant. In this time of great need, it is neither our place to weigh needs comparatively or to evaluate who deserves funds. The only limiting factor is the amount of money we are able to raise. It is possible that we will run out of funds before we can fulfill every request.

    We trust our musicians. If you need help, we want to help. We just need to make sure our trust is not abused to protect our status as a nonprofit. If you are applying for the first time, please submit:

    1) a recent resume or CV; and
    2) either a snapshot of published list of recent or upcoming engagements that were cancelled (i.e. on a website) OR a contract or confirmation email of a cancelled gig.

    Musicians applying for continuing grants do not need to submit the documents above. However, you will need to answer "yes" to a question about continuing and demonstrable need.

    Funds will be disbursed by check via mail once a week until funds are no longer available.

    If you have any questions, please contact administrator Stacey Helley at slhelley@sfems.org.