Dear Friends, 

Hoping this Friday finds you and yours healthy. This is an uncertain time for all of us, and we hope that this week’s updates will provide some initial relief and guidance for our grantees, friends, and colleagues.
Applications for The Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program open today on a first come, first serve basis. This program provides potentially forgivable loans to nonprofits for certain payroll and operating expenses. See FMA's resource page for more information -

Update from our Board

Last week our board held an emergency meeting to discuss the extraordinary circumstances our communities and grantees are grappling with at this time. Recognizing the severe impact to the arts and culture sector, whose venues were suddenly shuttered, we would like to share the following board decisions. In allocating our funding and staff resources, we have prioritized the smallest, most vulnerable groups in our initial response:

Artistic Vitality
  • Expedited 2020 general operating funds have been offered to existing artistic vitality grantees in both regions, totaling $2 million dollars. This includes releasing $1.2 million previously awarded grant payments months early, in addition to expediting approval of $800,000 in renewal grants.
  • As part of the Arts for Illinois Relief Fund, we have awarded $200,000 to the Arts Work Fund, a GDDF grantee, for its emergency relief fund for arts organizations with budgets under $1 million dollars. More details and the application can be found here - We encourage other donors to join the Relief Fund, which supports individual artists in addition to organizations. More details here -
  • A $100,000 emergency relief fund is being created for Lowcountry arts grantees with budgets up to $1 million dollars. The fund will provide up to $5,000 in aid per organization to address critical needs. Details will be announced next week, with the goal to release the funds over the coming month.
  • We are creating an emergency relief fund of $200,000 for grants up to $10,000 each for small, regionally-focused, museum and library collections organizations with budgets up to $1 million dollars in Chicago and the Lowcountry. Details will be announced next week.
  • We are expediting general operating grants totaling $125,000 to five grantees that serve as resource organizations in our two regions.

Land Conservation

  • While the arts & culture sector is facing the most severe immediate needs, we recognize the land conservation community will be grappling with significant impacts over the coming months. We realize that both operations and revenue sources will be impacted. We are committed to supporting our long-term conservation grantees, are working with our board to develop a plan, and will share our efforts in this area as soon as we are able.  

Previously Announced

  • We awarded $25,000 to each of our two region’s community foundations’ health and human services emergency funds.
  • We are honoring all existing grants and grantee relationship and not reducing our overall grant payout for 2020. We have relaxed proposal and reporting requirements for all grantees.
  • We will continue to accept proposals from organizations new to us, and will review them on our standard schedule. 
  • We are supporting affinity groups and participating in advocacy efforts.
  • A curated list of resources can be found here: 
  • A list of virtual performance and other artistic opportunities can be found here: 

We will continue to monitor all areas, remaining available to grantees remotely, sharing and collaborating with other funders and partners, and conferring with our board on additional responses.
Illustrations by Chicago artist Natalie González. Other images and translated into more languages are available from Chicago United for Equity -
COVID-19 Updates
Copyright © 2020 Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, All rights reserved.

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