Sustaining Our Artists Through Two Years of Pandemic
It’s been two years now of pandemic. With every additional month of pandemic, artists lose more of their income, and rely more on Music Maker’s assistance to pay critical health and utility bills and to keep groceries in the fridge.
Throughout 2021, we distributed more than 1,000 sustenance grants to 135 artists, reaching a total of $207,000. To see the impact of COVID clearly, just compare those numbers to 2019, the last full year without a pandemic. In 2019, co-founder Denise Duffy says, the foundation distributed $120,000 in sustenance grants — a total that almost doubled in just two years.
Throughout the history of Music Maker, our partner artists have struggled to stay above the poverty line. But without the income they can earn from gigs, their fight gets harder every day. That money shrinks not only because the artists are offered fewer bookings but also because venues are closed.
“The persistence of poverty over long periods of time makes it harder and harder for people to weather larger expenses that come up — surprise expenses like car repairs, the need for a new vehicle, major home repairs,” Denise says. “When people are literally just getting by month-to-month to try to keep food in the house, those sorts of expenses just become impossible barriers. I saw more of that this year because people have been going without the earned income of gigs.”
What makes Music Maker capable of meeting the increased demand is the generosity of our donors.
“People have been giving more,” Denise says.” I hope we’ve done a better job of explaining to them both the needs and what their funds do and their impact — and that inspired people to give more. I mean, there’s also the simple fact of the matter that people who can afford to give, by and large, have done pretty well throughout the pandemic financially and their capacity to give has increased as well. We are truly grateful that those who can afford to give more have been so very generous and compassionate.”
To download our full 2021 sustenance report, just hit the button below.