Strengthening the AEF Community - Sharing Helpful Resources in the COVID-19 Crisis

To the Artist-Endowed Foundation Community:

The members of the AEF community and its many friends are rising to this fierce challenge in a variety of ways, including by collegially sharing information. I’ve received many queries on matters practical and philosophical. You may be aware of these valuable resources, below, but I hope that putting them into one place will be helpful in advancing their circulation, particularly among smaller or newer AEFs as well as those with living founders and donors. This select list isn’t comprehensive – please don’t hesitate to share additional ideas and info.

Assisting Artists

Do you want to provide useful information to individual artists as they work to weather this crisis? Share NYFA’s COVID 19 Resources and Updates webpage, a digest of numerous online resources for artists, and its Emergency Grants round-up list, as well as Creative Capital Foundation’s List of Arts Resources During the COVID-19 Outbreak, also a digest of helpful resources for the arts community.

Would you like to assist individual artists amid the pandemic – even if you don’t have the ability to make grants to individuals or execute grants on a quick turn-around basis? To help with emergency project support, check with the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, which works with a number of AEFs to administer awards to individuals and is looking for opportunities to bolster its national Emergency Grant Fund. Reach out for info to FCA‘s Stacy Stark at 

To help with emergency medical assistance, check with NYFA, which is administering the newly established, national Rauschenberg Emergency Grants program for unexpected medical emergencies and is able to administer funds for emergency medical purposes as well as COVD-19-related emergencies. Reach out for info to NYFA’s Michael Royce at

Helping Organizational Grantees

Are you concerned about helping organizational grantees get a grip on their fiscal situation? Share the article and tools COVID-19 – What Nonprofits Should do Right Now by the Nonprofit Finance Fund’s Sandi McKinley, a faculty expert on organizational capacity development for AEFI’s Seminar on Strategy.

Are you eager to help minimize administrative burdens and optimize the sustainability of your organizational grantees as they struggle with the crisis? Check out the ideas in the article Six Steps for Grantmakers to Take Now to Ensure Nonprofits Recover by the Nonprofit Finance Fund’s Antony Bugg-Levine. And take a look at how the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts has put these ideas into action in A Message to Our Grantees.

Accommodating the Social Distancing Imperative

Do you want to move your grant review and jurying processes to a remote, online format? Among various options, including bespoke set-ups, AEF colleagues are using (check for feedback with Donna McNeil, Ellis-Beauregard Foundation – – and Mary Clare Stevens, Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts –

While working remotely, are you considering moving your board and/or staff meetings online, seeking more personal connections than via a conference call? Among many options, AEF colleagues report using Zoom (especially for board meetings) and Google Hangouts and Facetime (check for feedback with Derrick Biney-Amissah, Joan Mitchell Foundation – damissah@joanmitchellfoundation.og – and Robert Benson, Helen Frankenthaler Foundation – Also, take a minute to review these two articles on effective online meeting practice 10 Tips for Better Virtual Meetings and Virtual Meeting Checklist.

Managing Crisis

Useful points from Bridgespan’s Eight Steps for Managing Through Tough Times:

– Act quickly, but not reflexively, and plan contingencies

– Protect your core mission

– Identify the people who matter most and keep that group strong

– Stay very close to your key financial resources

– Shape up your organization

– Collaborate to reduce costs and expand impact

– Involve your board

– Communicate openly and often


On behalf of my Aspen Institute colleagues, keep in touch, stay strong, and be well – Christine

Christine J. Vincent
Project Director
Aspen Institute Artist-Endowed Foundations Initiative/AEFI