Harlem-based Black media non-profit Black Public Media (BPM) has launched the BPM Emergency Relief Fund to provide financial assistance to Black creatives facing crises brought on by unforeseen emergencies.

The organization will kick off the new initiative – which will act as a permanent reserve – by devoting its year-end campaign drive to raising US$20,000 for the fund to help support artists in need.

The BPM Emergency Relief Fund will offer assistance to Black creatives currently working on BPM-funded projects “or those within their archive of projects” that have been impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic, natural disasters and medical emergencies.

Interested donors can visit the BPM website to make contributions of any size, with all donations made to the fund going directly to support Black artists in need.

In addition, all proceeds from purchases made at the BPM Shop in December will go directly to the ERF.

Eligibility requirements will be announced next year, alongside the date when the fund will begin accepting financial requests.

“The sudden changes brought to everyday life because of COVID-19 and the shutdown of many aspects of the arts communities exposed how vulnerable many creatives are to drastic changes to their livelihood,” said BPM executive director Leslie Fields-Cruz in a statement. “With our new Emergency Relief Fund, we aim to help the independent artist community survive unanticipated emergencies even as the pandemic eases.”

The Emergency Relief Fund was created in response to BPM’s efforts to assist independent Black creatives devastated by financial emergencies during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 Relief Fund —created in Spring 2020 — saw the non-profit award a total of $30,000 in grants ranging from $250 to $1,000 to 36 creatives.

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