Emergency Relief Fund

The MRAC Emergency Relief Fund provides grants of up to $2,500 for immediate expense needs (salaries, artist fees, etc.) due to loss of earned income because of COVID-19 for arts organizations and informal arts groups with budgets under $400,000 that are located in the 7-county metropolitan area: Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott and Washington counties.

These resources are dedicated to providing relief for organizations that have experienced loss of income due to cancellations of arts events, projects and activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds should be used for immediate emergency needs and loss of income, and should not be used for future project expenses.

We are no longer taking applications for this grant program. 


  • Federally tax-exempt arts nonprofits located in the seven-county metro area with annual programming expenses of less than $400,000.
  • Informal and/or unincorporated arts-focused groups located in the seven-country metro area with expenses of less than $400,000. Informal groups must have a Fiscal Sponsor that is a federally tax-exempt nonprofit located in Minnesota, registered with the IRS with a Minnesota address, and must be active as a Nonprofit with the Minnesota Secretary of State.
  • Note: If you are either of the above and have received an Operating Support grant from the MN State Arts Board, you are still eligible for MRAC’s Emergency Relief Fund.  
  • If your application proposes a change to a current project that is MRAC funded, you must contact your Program Director to request a project change before your Emergency Relief Fund application will be reviewed.

Applicants cannot be: 

  • Non-arts groups and organizations are not eligible for these funds.
  • Applicant groups located outside the seven-county metropolitan area of Minnesota.
  • Individuals. 
  • Organizations that engage in political lobbying, serve the religious socialization of participants, or discriminate against persons or groups.
  • Organizations registered with the MN Secretary of State as a profit-making Minnesota business (e.g. Business Corporation, Limited Liability Corporation, Limited Liability Partnership, MN Public Benefit Corporations, etc.).
  • Public, private, alternative, charter, or home schools (this includes school support organizations such as PTAs, PTOs, school foundations, etc.).
  • Organizations whose main purpose is to raise funds for another person, organization, or cause.

Funds can be used for immediate needs such as: 

  • Organizational or group rental costs
  • Overhead costs for the organization (newsletter subscriptions, website hosting, electricity, phone bills, etc.)
  • Staff salaries and benefits, including artist payments

Funds cannot be used for: 

  • Future project expenses 
  • Travel expenses to or from Minnesota
  • Creating a reserve for future use
  • Creating another relief fund

Grant Questions: 

  1. What is the mission of your group?
  2. How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your organization/group? 
  3. How will you use these emergency funds? 

What happens after you apply? 

  1. The staff reviews all applications and materials for completeness and eligibility. 
  2. Funding recommendations will be made on a weekly basis.  
  3. Applicants will be notified via email of the decision. Successful applicants will be assigned a grant agreement and a final report form.
  4. The final report must be completed and submitted within ninety days of funds being expended. The final reporting requirements include: written acknowledgement to your legislator for the funds, and a comment on the ways in which these funds provided emergency relief to your organization.

To apply:

  • Visit the Apply Here link below on this page, or use this link.
    • If you have previously applied to MRAC grants, click “Log On” and enter in the email address and password for your organization’s grant account.
    • If you have not applied to MRAC grants, click on “Create New Account” and follow the prompts.
  • Once logged in, click on “Apply” at the top of the Applicant Dashboard.
  • Find “Emergency Relief Fund” and click Apply. 
    • A fiscal sponsor letter is required for the application. A fiscal sponsor is a tax-exempt nonprofit organization that receives MRAC grant monies and manages the financial aspects of the project on behalf of a group that does not have tax exempt status. Your fiscal sponsor must be a federally tax-exempt 501(c)3 non profit organization located in Minnesota, be registered with the IRS with a Minnesota address, and must be active as a Nonprofit Corporation with the Minnesota Secretary of State.
    • If you used a Fiscal Sponsor Letter to apply to a MRAC FY20 grant program, you may upload that letter and do not need to request a new letter from your fiscal sponsor.
    • If you upload a new Fiscal Sponsor Letter, it must include:
      • Fiscal sponsor’s EIN which is also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number
      • The mission of the applicant group
      • Signature of the fiscal sponsor contact

Equity Statement:
The Metropolitan Regional Arts Council will provide additional consideration to applicants from communities that have been disproportionately impacted by systemic inequities prior to the pandemic. These communities include Black, Indigenous, People of Color, People with Disabilities, and greater metro counties such as Scott and Carver.

If you have questions, email: emergencyrelief@mrac.org  

Thank you to all the funders of MRAC’s Emergency Relief Fund.

The MRAC Emergency Relief Fund is made possible, in part, by the voters of Minnesota through grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

The Legacy logo with the words 'Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment'








Applications currently closed until further notice. At this time there are no funds available for this grant program, but we are holding onto applications while we wait on a response from additional funding sources.

Skip to content