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Craft Emergency Relief Fund, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Services, Emergency Assistance, Human Services, Mutual & Membership Benefit

Mission: CERF+ safeguards and sustains the careers of craft artists; and provides emergency resources that benefit all artists.

Results: Highlights from Fiscal Year 2009 Services to the field --$85,750 in emergency relief assistance (grants, no-interest loans, and brokered assistance such as booth waivers, discounts/donations on supplies and equipment) was distributed to 37 craft artists. --CERF+ announced a new set of Emerging Artist Guidelines to expand our relief assistance program to a broader pool of applicants. --CERF+ received the Craft Organization Development Association’s (CODA) award for leadership, creative thinking and outstanding service at the 2009 annual CODA conference in St. Paul, MN. Organizational and project support --CERF+ added 225 new donors to our list of supporters and advocates, augmenting the total number of supporters to 1,034 individuals, businesses, and non-profit organizations. --CERF+ garnered a major grant of $75,000 from the Nathan Cummings Foundation to support our leadership of a national coalition of 20+ major arts organizations fostering the improvement of an organized, nationwide safety net for artists and arts organizations before, during and after disasters. --CERF+’s new disaster readiness and response tool—the Studio Protector—attracted sponsorship for production and marketing from Americans for the Arts, Craft in America, American Craft Council, ARTISIN, LLC, New York International Gift Fair, and the Robert M. Katz Memorial Foundation; over 4,500+ copies were sold in advance of the Fall 2009 release. --CERF+ also secured renewed grant funding ($40,000) from Joan Mitchell Foundation to support our leadership in the national coalition described above and in support of the Studio Protector. --CERF+ received a $100,000 challenge grant from the Windgate Charitable Foundation to help launch our first campaign for the future in 2011.

Target demographics: US craft artists for emergency relief and professional development services. All US artists for emergency preparedness programs.

Programs: Through cerf+'s emergency relief and recovery programs, the organization distributed assistance in the form of 46 grants, 2 no interest loans, and 23 brokered donations of equipment, materials, and services to a total of 55 artists. Assistance totaled 157,043. Cerf+ also managed 32 active, no interest emergency recovery loans and provided emergency response counseling and referrals to 207 artists. During this time, cerf+'s maximum grant went from 3,000 to 4,000.

in fiscal year 2014, cerf+'s preparedness and resiliency building programs largely focused on three areas: increasing information about and access to business insurance; educating the next generation of makers about career protection; and spearheading a national movement in the arts sector to improve the overall safety-net for artists before, during and after disasters. Through these efforts, we served 951 individuals with business strengthening counseling (including education about business insurance) along with workshops/educational presentations on safeguarding artistic careers. Cerf+'s career protection curriculum training expanded with nine (9) participants from seven (7) nationally-recognized independent art schools and college art departments. This "train the trainer" program introduces faculty and career services staff to techniques of integrating the topic of risk management into their professional practice courses and workshops. Since the launch of this training program in 2012, eleven (11) schools have sent representatives. In the 2013-14 academic year, we estimate that more than 300 students (in bfa, mfa and certificate programs) received instruction in strategies to safeguard a creative career. Graduates of the 2012 and 2013 pilot workshops not only have exchanged teaching materials they have produced, but they are also promoting the importance of this curriculum to their colleagues both within and beyond their institutions. More than 900 people attended the nineteen (19) workshops and conference presentations cerf+ staff provided. In addition, our staff served as career-strengthening resources for artists by having our information booth at several conferences and art shows, such as the national council on education for the ceramic arts (nceca) and convergence, a conference of the handweavers guild of america in fiscal year 2014, cerf+ continued to provide a leadership role in building new alliances between the arts sector and the general emergency management field. Our national advocacy efforts to change the interpretation of artists' (and other self-employed workers) eligibility for post-disaster tool and equipment replacement by the federal emergency management agency (fema) continued to be one of two policy position priorities adopted by the national voluntary organizations active in disaster (nvoad). Cerf+'s director of programs was a featured presenter at nvoad's annual conference describing efforts within the arts community to become more disaster resilient and highlighting how the arts sector can contribute to recovery in communities after disasters.

in fiscal year 2014, cerf+ continued its role as co-chair of the national coalition for arts' preparedness and emergency response along with south arts, a regional arts organization based in atlanta, ga. During this time, the coalition steering committee worked with two consultants to produce a seven-year strategic and operational plan for its evolution from an informal task force to a sustainable/stable national network of arts responders. We have begun to implement the plan as well as initiated planning for a new arts responder network in illinois. Cerf+ also was one of the chief planners for a fall 2014 day-long summit of grantmakers in the arts to discuss how to address the human needs of artists in the wake of disasters.

Community Stories

2 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2 guscancro

Client Served

Rating: 5

I cannot speak highly enough about CERF+. The staff is incredibly friendly and efficient.
I was completely devastated when my workshop burned down. I lost my tools, lumber and livelihood. A friend and longtime donor recommended CERF+. I figured I'd give it a shot.

I contacted them and "Les" helped me through the application process. He was kind and understanding. Within a few days I received a letter of acceptance. They gave me a very generous grant to rebuild. They even gave me a nice drill that was donated to them!

Along with the grant Les offered extremely valuable information and resources to aid in my recovery. I will refer to the information regularly as I rebuild my career. Absolutely fantastic experience and service.



Board Member

Rating: 5

I first was involved with CERF+ when Hurricane Katrina's storm surge busted New Orleans' levees. CERF+ provided not only funds to help our craft community recover, but grew another leg due to the organizations determination to respond even more powerfully in the future. I became a board member in 2011, and thoroughly enjoy all facets of participation on this board. We continue to increase grant and loan funding levels as well as promote emergency preparedness with a very unique focus on the needs and lifestyles of craft artists and their careers. Our effectiveness is ever-strengthened by the continual-improvement ethos that the staff, our director, and board members cultivate and nurture.