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Craft Emergency Relief Fund

Frequently Asked Questions

We hope this information will serve as a helpful introduction to CERF+’s emergency relief programs. For complete details about these programs, please read CERF+’s Emergency Relief Grant and eligibility page.

What kind of emergency relief does CERF+ provide?

CERF+ provides grants. CERF+ also works with businesses to broker craft supplies, equipment and services at no or low cost to those found eligible for emergency assistance.

Who can receive CERF+ assistance?

CERF+ provides emergency assistance to artists working in craft or materials-based folk/traditional disciplines that are 18 years or older and have resided and worked in the U.S. or U.S. territories for the past 2 years. These artists must have experienced a recent, unforeseen, career threatening emergency.​

How do I know if my artwork qualifies as craft?

A detailed definition can be found here in the CERF+ emergency assistance guidelines. CERF+ considers craft to be the creation of original objects by the skillful manipulation of materials. While objects may be created out of traditional or non-traditional materials, and be functional or nonfunctional, but both types derive part of their meaning from their association with traditional functional forms such as chairs, vessels, garments or implements, and/or their association with cultural tradition.

Artists working in craft disciplines may self-identify as a maker, designer, potter, ceramicist, mixed media artist, etc. CERF+’s broadly defines whom it serves to be inclusive of all materials-based artists regardless of whether they use “craft” to describe themselves. See more on the Eligibility page.

What does CERF+ consider a serious emergency?

CERF+ defines a serious emergency as a recent, unforeseen or triggering event that has significantly and adversely affected your ability to produce your work such as a fire, natural disaster, or serious illness or injury. Financial distress that results from the normal uncertainties of doing business is not considered an emergency for CERF+ eligibility purposes.

CERF+ does not provide funding when the time elapsed since the event that initiated the emergency exceeds the typical recovery time for that type of emergency.

How do I know if my art practice qualifies as a career working in a craft discipline?

CERF+ serves artists at all stages of their careers and seeks to support people from diverse educational and cultural backgrounds. Eligibility is not determined solely by the amount of money an artist generates from their work and we recognize that many individuals have careers that rely on multiple streams of income and financial support. See more on the Eligibility page.

How do I apply for CERF+ emergency relief?

Artists interested in and potentially eligible for CERF+ emergency assistance are asked to apply via an application form. An assistance determination is made within two weeks of a complete application having been submitted.

Please review the CERF+ assistance eligibility guidelines and supporting documents requirements before completing the inquiry form.

How long does it take to receive emergency relief from CERF+?

CERF+ reviews every emergency relief application carefully. We may send you follow up questions or request additional materials for your application. Not all applications will be approved.
Generally, once CERF+ has received your application and your responses to any follow up questions, we will send you a notification about the outcome of your application within two weeks.
This timeline may be affected by the current volume of applications.
If your application is approved for a grant, you will need to sign an electronic grant agreement. You will be able to choose to be paid by check or by direct deposit / ACH. Further instructions related to payment will be made available to you at that time.

Can I apply for a grant and brokered assistance?

Yes. See the Grants + Brokered Assistance page for more information.

Once found eligible, how much financial assistance will I receive?

The CERF+ emergency assistance grant is $3,000.

Once found eligible, how much brokered assistance will I receive?

When an applicant requests brokered assistance after having been found eligible for CERF+ emergency assistance, we do our best to match the needs of the artist with the offers of goods and services from the art business community. Sometimes no matches are found and sometimes the matches take months to find and complete. For those receiving brokered assistance, the average value is $1,000 to $2,000.

Does CERF+ provide emergency relief to fine artists or photographers?

No, but there are links to other emergency relief resources for artists on CERF+’s website. If you are unsure if CERF+ would consider you an artist working in a craft discipline, review the eligibility guidelines carefully and then contact the CERF+ staff if you still have questions.

Am I eligible to receive more than one emergency relief grant?

Artists are eligible to receive one grant per career threatening emergency and no more than one emergency relief grant per calendar year. Artists are eligible to receive a maximum number of 4 emergency relief grants over the course of their lifetime.

Are charitable donations like my CERF+ Emergency Relief grant taxable?

No. Financial assistance grants from CERF+ are considered non-taxable grants/gifts and the IRS does not require us to provide a Form 1099. We always recommend that recipients confer with an accountant.

Why do you ask for Photo ID?

CERF+ reviews all applications to verify identity. CERF+ takes attempted fraud seriously and reserves the right to report all suspected fraudulent applications cases to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Trade Commission, and local law enforcement authorities. 

As part of our due diligence to ensure that applicants to CERF+ emergency assistance are in fact the artist they say they are, we require applicants to provide a government issued photo id to verify identity.

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