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The Venue Fund advances the Economic Recovery Task Force's recommendations to support the arts, culture, hospitality, and entertainment sector. The fund is also aligned with San Francisco's other efforts to support entertainment venues, including Mayor Breed's $2.5 million in fee and tax relief for entertainment venues and the proposals to support arts and culture in the Mayor's Small Business Recovery Act legislation.
"These music and entertainment venues are part of what makes San Francisco such a special place to live and visit," said Mayor Breed. "This past year has been devastating for the entertainment sector, and these local funds will help these businesses hang on until they can start operating again."
In March 2021, Mayor Breed and Supervisor Matt Haney agreed to allocate $3 million to the fund as part of $24.8 million for small business loans and grants in the current year surplus spending plan. The first round of grants will expend all $3 million in equal amounts to every venue eligible to receive funding. Grants will be at least $10,000 for each venue, although that amount will vary based on how many venues qualify for the program.
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"Our independent music and nightlife venues have been hit hard over the last year, and desperately need the support that this fund will provide," said Supervisor Matt Haney. "Nightlife and entertainment are cornerstones of our city's economy and culture. As we reopen and recover, we need our city's venues to not only survive, but to be even stronger."
The fund is administered by San Francisco's Office of Small Business, and was developed in consultation with stakeholders from the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, the Entertainment Commission, the Small Business Commission, the San Francisco Venue Coalition, and the Independent Venue Alliance.
The fund is also available to receive donations from the public. Any private donations received before the first round of grants is issued will be distributed as part of that round. If additional money is added to the fund by the City or through donations after the first round of grants is issued, that money will be awarded in subsequent rounds of grants. Members of the public interested in donating may find out more information at sfosb.org/venuefund
"San Francisco's storied live music venues bring more than just economic activity to our City; they are the beating heart of our shared culture, diversity, and sense of identity," said Ben Bleiman, President of the San Francisco Entertainment Commission. "But due to the pandemic, many of them are teetering on the edge of permanent closure. We applaud Mayor Breed, Supervisor Haney, and our San Francisco leaders for swift, decisive action to establish the Music & Entertainment Venue Fund. These grants will play a crucial role in saving our live music venues before it's too late."
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"Live music venues have not been able to be open for even a single day, at any capacity, for over a year. They have been among the hardest hit businesses in San Francisco, and as a result are hanging on by a thread," said Sharky Laguana, President of the San Francisco Small Business Commission. "Many have been forced to permanently close. Music is a central part of San Francisco's identity and history, and speaking as a musician, I don't want to even think about our City without our beloved venues. This aid will make a big difference, and help keep music alive in San Francisco. Thank you Mayor Breed and Supervisor Haney for creating the Music & Entertainment Venue Fund."
Applications open on April 21 and the deadline is May 5, 2021. Venues eligible to receive funding must have held a Place of Entertainment permit from the Entertainment Commission prior to the start of the pandemic and must be able to demonstrate a track record of substantial live entertainment programming, among other eligibility criteria.
Venues interested in applying and members of the public interested in donating to the fund can learn more at sfosb.org/venuefund
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