Leon Levy Foundation COVID Relief Fund

JUMP TO: OverviewEligibility | Logging InApplication Information | Evaluation | Info Sessions | Panel Process and Nominations 

Three Black women in white button ups and orange circle skirts and three black men in orange shirts with black bowties sing in front of a black curtain.
The Braata Folk Singers at the Christmas Grand Market by Braata Productions, a recipient of the Fall 2020 A.R.T./New York Relief Fund for NYC Small Theatres. Photo by Rolande Hyde Photography.



The Leon Levy Foundation COVID Relief Fund, a program of the A.R.T./New York Relief Fund for NYC Small Theatres, provides small New York City theatres with access to relief funding through flexible, general operating support grants of $2,500 that may be used for any purposes the grantee needs. With the generous support of the Leon Levy Foundation, the fund is intended to create an accessible relief fund for small theatres with annual budgets under $250k who are based in or primarily produce or create work in New York City. Grant applications are reviewed and scored on a rolling basis by a diverse panel of theatre makers and administrators from a range of roles in the field, and nominations for grant panelists are solicited from the public.

Applicants do not need to be members of A.R.T./New York to apply for the relief fund, and membership in A.R.T./New York will not be considered by or known to panelists scoring the applications.

For more information about applying to this program, please email [email protected].

Applications for the Leon Levy Foundation COVID Relief Fund closed on June 1, 2021 at 5pm. 

Program Goals

  • To provide financial relief to nonprofit theatre organizations (including those that are fiscally sponsored or “non-profit in spirit”) with annual operating budgets under $250,000 who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • To fund a vibrant mix of theatres working with diverse aesthetics and serving a wide range of cultural communities across New York City.
  • To support companies who are impacting the field in New York City and who have had limited access to relief funding and financial support.


  • Application:
    • Application opened: Wednesday, March 10, 2021
    • Panelist Nominations close: March 30, 2021
    • Final grant deadline: Tuesday, June 1, 2021 @ 5pm
  • Notifications and grant disbursements:
    • Funded applicants will be notified on a rolling basis. All applicants will be notified of whether their application was funded by June 30, 2021.
    • Applicants should only submit one grant application over the course of the application period. Applications remain in consideration for funding until the final panel meeting in June.
    • Grants will be disbursed on a rolling basis and can be disbursed either by electronic ACH transfer or paper check.


You do not need to be a member of A.R.T./New York to apply for this grant program. Applicants who applied to a previous round of A.R.T./New York relief funding are eligible to apply for the Leon Levy Foundation COVID Relief Fund, regardless of whether they received funding. To be eligible for this grant, you must:
  1. Be a theatre company, organization, or artist collective
    1. Applicant may be a 501c3, fiscally sponsored, or unincorporated entity that is “non-profit in spirit”.
    2. A.R.T./New York has an expansive definition of “theatre” as a discipline of live performance. If you call your art theatre, then you are eligible to apply for this grant! However, keep in mind as you write your application that a panel of theatre-makers will be evaluating your application for this theatre-based grant.
    3. This grant program does not fund individual artists, but artist-led theatre companies are eligible. If you are an individual artist looking for relief funding, please visit our resource page for links to other opportunities.
    4. This grant is not seed funding, and applicants should have been in operation prior to the beginning of the COVID-19 shutdown in March 2020.
  2. Have annual operating expenses for either of the last two fiscal years of under $250,000. 
  3.  Be based in, or primarily produce in, the five boroughs of New York City. 
    1. Companies that create work in NYC and then tour nationally and internationally are eligible for this grant program.
  4. Be financially impacted by the coronavirus shutdown. 

Logging Into the Grant Portal

All applicants should apply through our online portal. If you are unable to utilize the grant portal or need accommodations to access the portal or submit your grant application, please contact Corinne Woods at [email protected]

For Applicants who are A.R.T./New York Members

If you are an A.R.T./New York member, please log in by clicking on the “Log In as A.R.T./New York Member” button and use your Individual A.R.T./New York log in that you use to access event registration and other A.R.T./New York resources.

For Applicants who are NOT A.R.T./New York Members, but have previously applied for an A.R.T./New York Grant.
Applicants who are not members of A.R.T./New York but have previously applied for A.R.T./New York grants through this portal should use the same login they used to apply in the past.

For Applicants who are NOT A.R.T./New York Members and have NOT previously applied for an A.R.T./New York Grant.
Applicants who are not currently members of A.R.T./New York AND have not previously applied for an A.R.T./New York grant should register for a new account on the right side of the screen. Applicants can then use that information to log into the grant portal using the “Login as Non-Member” button.

If you have any questions or issues logging in, please email [email protected] and a member of the team will get back to you.


The application consists of three sections: Eligibility, Theatre Information, and Short Answer. Before logging in and starting the application, you may wish to review a copy of the application in full. To view the full application as a PDF, please click here; to view the full application as a Word document, please click here.

  • Eligibility:
    • Confirm you meet the eligibility requirements
    • Are you currently an A.R.T./New York member?
      This will not be shared with the panel, and you are NOT required to be an A.R.T./New York member to apply for this grant.
      • Yes
      • No
      • I don’t know
  • Theatre Information:
    • Applicant Name
    • Theatre Mission Statement (100 words or less)
    • Website
    • End date of your most recently completed fiscal year
    • Operating expenses for FY2020
    • Operating expenses for FY2021
    • What NYC borough(s) does your theatre work in? (select all that apply)
    • Please share brief bios of theatre leadership below. 
      There are no word limits, but please try to keep the bios brief. If you have a page on your website that includes your theatre’s leadership bios, you can include that link here instead of copy and pasting the bios into this form.
    • Primary Contact information (Name, Title, Email, Phone Number)
    • Secondary Contact information (Name, Title, Email, Phone Number)
  • Short Answer:
    There are no word count limits for these short answer questions, but please do not feel like you need to write a full page on each question. A few paragraphs on each will be enough for most applicants. Applicants are welcome and encouraged to copy and paste from other grant applications, including previous Relief Fund or Creative Opportunity Fund applications.
    • Describe your company's mission, vision, and your organizational goals. What is your contribution to New York City and/or the theatrical field? 
      • In answering this question, you may wish to consider what makes your theatre company distinct from other theatres in the city. It may be a method of working, an aesthetic style, the community you serve, etc. 
    • Who does your organization serve?
      • If you serve a specific and explicitly defined ethnic, cultural, or geographic community, please include that here.
    • Describe the impact that COVID-19 has had on your organization, and how this grant might help your organization to address that impact. How have you and/or how will you have to change the way you operate in response to the pandemic?
      • Please share not only the quantitative impact of the pandemic, but also the qualitative. How has the pandemic impacted your ability to fulfill your mission, vision, and goals?
      • This is not a direct commitment of how you would utilize this funding if it is awarded, rather this is your opportunity to think expansively about the challenges and opportunities your company is facing, and what an unrestricted grant would allow your company to do.
    • Is there anything else you would like to share with the panel about your theatre, your work, or the community you serve? (optional)


Evaluation Criteria

  • Demonstrated Need and Impact of Grant (40%)
    • Panelists will consider both the quantitative impact of COVID-19 and qualitative impact of COVID19 on the theatre. 
    • Does the applicant make a clear case for funding and share the impact receipt of this grant might have on their theatre? Would receipt of this grant help them to stabilize, address capacity issues, address various impacts of COVID-19, or address an opportunity or challenge over the course of the grant?
    • Does the applicant make a case for funding?
  • Impact and Service to the Community (40%)
    • Is the company creating work and programming that distinguishes itself from others in serving a specific community of artists or audience members?
    • Is the theatre’s work, staff, and/or artists reflective of and responsive to the community the company serves? Does the programming, staff, and/or artists of the theatre represent marginalized or underrepresented voices, communities, and/or artists on stage and off and/or centers ideas, subject matter, voices, or artists that are often marginalized or underrepresented?
    • How does the theatre and its work impact the local theatrical field? 
    • How is the company and its programming relevant to the current conversations in theatre and the field or society at large?
  • Organizational Identity (20%)
    • Does the applicant clearly articulate its mission, vision, and organizational goal? Are these in sync with one another? Is the work of the company and how they have responded to the COVID19 pandemic reflective of the stated mission, vision, and goals of the company?
    • Is the company serving a diverse audience and cohort of artists, and defining diversity effectively for their community?
    • There are many different ways of writing about the organizational identity of a company. However, applicants should articulate a clear mission statement, and address how COVID-19 impacted their ability to execute their mission.

Information Sessions

A.R.T./New York will hold three live virtual info sessions for the Leon Levy Foundation COVID Relief Fund. The info sessions are led by A.R.T./New York staff and will review the grant, eligibility criteria, and application process. Attendees will also be able to ask any questions they may have about the application. Attendees are encouraged to review the grant website and application prior to attending the info session. 

Grant Info Session #1
Monday, March 15, 2021
12:00pm - 1:30pm
Sign up »
Grant Info Session #2
Friday, April 9, 2021

4:30pm - 6:00pm
Sign up »
Grant Info Session #3
Tuesday, May 4, 2021

12:00pm - 1:30pm
Sign up »
  Recorded Info Session
Led by Director of Programs

Corinne Woods
Watch on YouTube
View the Transcript


The Leon Levy Foundation COVID Relief Fund and the A.R.T./New York Relief Fund for NYC Small Theatres are made possible with generous funding by the Leon Levy Foundation, the Seth Sprague Foundation, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), and A.R.T./New York.