Launch of Fund Inspires Unprecedented Demand

Additional donations sought to direct to artists in need

TORONTO, April 1, 2020 – Since the launch of the Toronto Arts Foundation and Toronto Arts Council TOArtist COVID-19 Response Fund last Thursday, nearly 1,600 artists have reached out to us looking for support. 

The $572,175 in funds raised to date from generous donors and partners will help up to 600 artists – an impressive number but falling short of the overall need.  As requests for help continue to stream in, there’s a strong need for more money.

Thousands of Toronto artists have suddenly been thrown out of work by COVID-19 cancellations. Many self-employed artists cannot obtain EI and are cash-strapped until Federal support can reach them later next month. Moreover with the hospitality industry now shut down, additional employment opportunities for artists have vanished. Toronto Arts Foundation, in partnership with Toronto Arts Council, launched the TOArtist COVID-19 Response Fund to help Toronto’s artists by providing immediate relief.

We’re pleased to announce that Azrieli Foundation has recently joined on with a contribution of $25,000. This critical donation will have an immediate impact on Fund applicants, who will each receive up to $1,000. Disbursement of the first round of funds is expected by the end of this week; delivering these funds as quickly as possible is part of our commitment to artists who need this support now.

Individual Canadians are also showing their support. Donations from the general public have returned impressive numbers: contributions of all sizes have totalled over $100,000. This outpouring of care is incredibly heartening, and shows the value residents place on the city’s creators. 

“Many of us are turning to the arts during the COVID-19 crisis for a number of reasons. As you’re reading a novel, watching a film, sketching in your sketchpad or listening to music, consider your fellow Toronto artists who are no longer making an income” says Claire Hopkinson, Director and CEO, Toronto Arts Council and Toronto Arts Foundation. “Be assured that even now, artists everywhere are offering their talents through new innovative online ways to help us get through this uncertain time. When our city emerges from this crisis, and we begin to recover, we will look to our artists for help. Let’s make sure our artists are taken care of now so they can continue to support us in the future.”  

Artists may apply for relief through Toronto Arts Council, and donations can be made through the Toronto Arts Foundation website.

Toronto’s artists need your help. Please help us spread the word, and make a donation today:

“This is such an unprecedented time, and I feel grateful to have a home and the ability to keep working, for now. I wish you and our vibrant arts community, all the best. I will keep helping as much as I can.” – TOArtist COVID-19 Response Fund donor

In the Media
COMPLEX: HXOUSE & City of Toronto Start Fund for Artists Hit by COVID-19

The Star: Out-of-work actors, musicians and others have a new place to turn for help

The Star: Emergency funds for Canadian musicians top $1.5 million


About Toronto Arts Foundation
Toronto Arts Foundation is a charitable organization that sparks creative connections, spotlights artistic excellence, and supports vibrant cultural growth throughout our diverse city, through private sector investment. To learn more or to make a donation, visit

Contact information
For more information or to schedule an interview with Claire Hopkinson, please contact:  Sarah Gladki, Communications Manager at