Updates to State Funding and Pandemic Assistance

Apr 27 2020

Updates to State Funding and Pandemic Assistance

Four Rivers strives to keep you updated on changes to the assistance programs available to our stakeholders. Here are today’s updates:

State Arts Council Emergency Grants Update

Recognizing that the extraordinary demand for State and Federal resources is resulting in application delays and increased wait times for responses, the Council and the Secretary of Commerce have approved changes to MSAC’s Emergency Grant program. The program now requires applicants to estimate anticipated funding from State and Federal sources but does not require proof of application. In addition, clarity on deadlines and review periods is provided below.

All applicants that have started applications, submitted, or have previously been declined for Emergency Grant funding have received notification from MSAC that their grant application has been reopened for resubmission.

Revised Eligibility Requirements:

  • For Organizations:
  • The organization must provide an estimate of any anticipated revenue from state and/or federal sources in the budget submission including but not limited to:
  • For Independent Artists:
  • Applicants must provide an estimate of any unemployment benefits in the budget submission.

Applications will be gathered for review on May 1 (for a May 5 review) and May 15 (for a May 20 review). Funding will be recommended through a comparison model (rather than a “first come, first serve” basis). Note that the timeline between approval and payment may be 90 days.

MSAC is not accepting new applications for its regular grant programs for FY20 funding until further notice, including the Creativity Grant, Professional Development, and Public Art Across Maryland programs.

For all COVID 19-related updates, visit MSAC’s COVID-19 Response page.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Update

On March 27, 2020, the federal government instituted a $2 trillion stimulus package with provisions for increasing access to Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits through a program called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

The PUA program offers benefits to many working in the creative sector, as well as those who are self-employed, independent contractors, gig workers, or have insufficient work history

On Friday, April 24, the Maryland Department of Labor launched a new, one-stop unemployment insurance application, Beacon One-Stop, allowing all Marylanders to file all types of claims entirely online. This includes those who are eligible for regular benefits, CARES Act benefits (including the PUA program), and individuals who were previously required to file by phone. To learn how services have been improved and expanded, visit the BEACON One-Stop Overview page. To directly access the new BEACON One-Stop, visit

For updated information and resources about applying for PUA relief, visit the Maryland Division of Unemployment Insurance.

Work Sharing Unemployment Insurance Program Information

Work Sharing is a voluntary program that provides an alternative to layoffs for employers faced with a temporary, non-cyclical decline in business due to lower economic activity. Qualified employers who participate in Work Sharing are able to retain an entire employee group by reducing that group’s hours of work by a percentage equal to the total reduction of hours that would have been achieved by a layoff.

For workers, the obvious benefit of Work Sharing is keeping their jobs while avoiding the emotional and financial hardships resulting from unemployment. Employees are not subject to the same conditions as those on regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) such as making an active search for work or accepting offers of suitable work from employers other than the Work Sharing employer. The employees whose hours are reduced receive partial UI benefits to supplement lost wages. Both the employer and employees must develop and agree to the conditions of Work Sharing.

See Employers’ Frequently Asked Questions – Work Sharing – Unemployment Insurance

See Employees’ Frequently Asked Questions – Work Sharing – Unemployment Insurance

Please contact for additional information

We plan to keep these updates coming as situations change, so please check back here for additional resources for nonprofits provided by federal aid packages. Thanks!