The COVID Crisis: IABD To Provide Emergency Relief Funds To Black Dance Community

April 8, 2020

In response to the COVID-19 disruption, the International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD), and a team of other organizations have taken action to meet the needs of the Black Dance community.

The dance team includes support from the Ford Foundation, the Howard Gilman Foundation, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and individual supporters seek to meet the urgent needs of the Black Dance community through the IABD Emergency Fund. This fund will award grants to those directly impacted by COVID-19.

Applications to apply for the Emergency Fund opened to IABD Members Monday, April 6th. IABD Members in good standing may apply for emergency assistance funds which can be used for food, housing, healthcare, or any other economic hardships brought about by the COVID-19 disruption. Selected individuals will receive a one-time grant in the amount of $1,000, and selected organizations will receive $2,500 one-time grants to support general operation. To date, IABD has raised $155,000 for its Emergency Fund and fundraising efforts are ongoing.

“IABD has reinstated its Emergency Fund that was originally designed in 1991, upon the founding of the Association, to assist IABD artists and companies within the membership. In response to the challenges that lie ahead for many, it is our goal for this fund to provide critical support to the Black Dance sector and those individuals and organizations that have been drastically impacted,” says President and CEO, Denise Saunders Thompson. “It is our hope that some of the unrecoverable losses will be temporarily alleviated. We are deeply humbled by the response of our philanthropic partners who assisted in the reinstatement of this fund. Thank you for answering the call.”

IABD’s first priority is the health and safety of its dance family. The current health crisis is creating unparalleled health and unanticipated financial challenges throughout the country and the world. IABD recognizes that its members face income losses that range from canceled performances and teaching engagements to closed schools. These losses impact everything from individual healthcare costs, to food and housing insecurities, to the ability of dance organizations to continue paying dancer, teacher, and staff salaries while adhering to the COVID-19 sequester requirements.

Eligibility requirements for New York City Based Dance Artists and Organizations. New York City-based dance artists and organizations, who are not IABD members, are eligible to apply to the Emergency Fund. Funding is being distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Dance artists or organizations based in New York City may click on the button below to submit an application to the Emergency Fund. IABD is grateful to The Howard Gilman Foundation for providing this opportunity to expand its reach to Black dance artists and organizations in NYC who are not IABD members. “We are proud to play a part in this important funding opportunity”, said Laura Aden Packer, Executive Director of the Howard Gilman Foundation. “As always, IABD is leading the way in offering support and services to the black dance community, and we are pleased to be able to support that work here in New York City.”

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IABD asks that you consider being a part of lifting up the Black Dance community and making a donation. Visit
to donate. The Emergency Fund is need-based and will be reviewed weekly. Applicants must provide a brief description of the economic impact COVID-19 has had on their personal finances and/or life as a dancer, dance-related personnel in the field (i.e. choreographers, designers, production staff, etc.), teaching dance and/or employing dancers. In this time of increased need, the Black Dance community is rallying together to provide critical support for those who don’t have the resources to weather the crisis. Help IABD to financially support the Black Dance community in this time of great need.

The International Association of Blacks in Dance preserves and promotes dance by people of African ancestry or origin, and assists and increases opportunities for artists in advocacy, audience development, education, funding, networking, performance, philosophical dialogue, and touring. IABD has become the Mecca for Blacks in Dance such as administrators, artists, choreographers, dance companies, directors, educators, scholars, and those interested in artistry, black dance issues, and performance presentations. The Association, founded in 1991, provides a network, formal newsletters, choreographers directory, published papers and is the raison d’être for the annual conference and festival. The Association also responds to and initiates dialogue around issues that impact the Black Dance Community as well as the Dance community at large. IABD has developed national prominence and allowed the Black Dance Community to come together on issues important to them.

We believe in the inherent dignity of all people. But around the world, too many people are excluded from the political, economic, and social institutions that shape their lives. In addressing this reality, we are guided by a vision of social justice—a world in which all individuals, communities, and peoples work toward the protection and full expression of their human rights; are active participants in the decisions that affect them; share equitably in the knowledge, wealth, and resources of society; and are free to achieve their full potential. Across eight decades, our mission has been to reduce poverty and injustice, strengthen democratic values, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement.

Howard Gilman believed in the power of the arts to transform lives. The Howard Gilman Foundation honors his legacy by supporting the most robust, innovative, and promising performing arts organizations in New York City.

The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation is to improve the quality of people’s lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research, and child well-being, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke’s properties. The Arts Program of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation focuses its support on contemporary dance, jazz, and theater artists, and the organizations that nurture, present, and produce them.

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