In Support: The Musician Assistance Fund

Mina Liebert, Director of Community Impact for the Pikes Peak Community Foundation and one of the administrators of the Philharmonic Musician Assistance Fund

Musicians came first.  In March 2020, when so much seemed uncertain, Philharmonic leadership took action and committed to paying musician fees for the rest of the Fiscal Year (thru July 2020) even if concerts were canceled. “It was the right thing to do,” said Nathan Newbrough, CEO of the Philharmonic. “And it was risky. But all the same I would do it again.”

Unfortunately, paying fees without concerts and ticket sales cannot go on forever. Knowing that turbulent times were ahead, the Philharmonic Board of Directors contributed $60,000 for a new Philharmonic Musician Assistance Fund to provide direct cash grants to Philharmonic musicians. Later, an extra $20,000 from the CARES Act was added to the Fund.

Grants are based on need, and the Fund is administered confidentially by the Pikes Peak Community Foundation and Bee Vradenburg Foundation. A panel from these organizations reviews applications and independently makes award determinations. To date, the Fund has granted more than $70,000 and no application has been denied. At every turn, musicians have been a top priority.

Unable to hold concerts, the Colorado Springs Philharmonic has lost an estimated $2.5 million in ticket sales due to the pandemic. Worldwide, organizations have had to adapt to their new circumstances and focus on the welfare of the workforce, while also maintaining the organization for the long term. The Philharmonic Musician Assistance Fund has extended cash grants for more than 11 months as a helping hand during this uncertain time.