Recap: The Big Cartel Financial Relief Fund
In late March 2020, as part of our response to the COVID-19 crisis, Big Cartel announced our first ever Financial Relief Fund.
We’re a small company, so we knew this fund wouldn’t change the world. But our leadership team also felt it necessary to do what we could to help the artists and entrepreneurs hit hard by the need to isolate and limit physical contact. So we committed $50,000 to disperse to Big Cartel shop owners.
Immediately after announcing the fund, submissions rushed in. The response was overwhelming, and heartbreaking: People needed to fix or replace machinery needed to produce their products. Laid off workers weren’t sure how they’d pay the next month’s rent. Groceries were running low. In a matter of hours, we received over 12,000 requests, and made the tough decision to close the submission form. It was clear that there was widespread urgent need and we wanted to be able to respond to people quickly. Our small team needed to get to work and get money in people’s hands.
As word spread about the fund, we received so many unexpected responses: business owners who said “Thanks for doing this, but I’m okay right now. Give the money to someone else.” Others who asked for ways they could pitch in. A few very special people volunteered to match our $50,000, bringing the total available funds to $100,000. Then several Big Cartel employees asked if they could donate to the fund and take advantage of our company’s charitable match benefit. The fund increased to $121,500.
Over the next few weeks, we sent money to over 1000 people. It’s a drop in the bucket at a time when the whole world is aching, but we are touched by the patience, generosity, and selflessness that we witnessed throughout this process.
If you need financial help or are looking for opportunities to donate to others in need, check out these potential resources:
- The US federal government is offering help as part of the CARES Act. Both small businesses and self employed individuals can qualify for up to a $10,000 grant as a part of the Economic Disaster Loan program through the Small Business Administration (“SBA”).
- The Makers Collective is collecting business resources for creative enterpreneurs.
- Creative Capital has created a list of workshops and assistance for artists.
- MusiCares has created a relief fund specifically for the music community.
- If you’re a musician who has lost income due to COVID-19, Sweet Relief Musicians Fund can help you organize a fundraising campaign.
- She Shreds has ideas for how to support musicians, and how artists can connect with their audience while staying safe.
- Female founders can use The Helm’s list of resources to navigate financial assistance opportunities.
For now, the Big Cartel Financial Relief Fund is closed. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t more help for indie folks like the Big Cartel community, and it doesn’t mean that our team is done thinking of ways we can help. We’re making your shop’s features better at no additional charge and we have more plans to build tools especially suited for this strange time we’re living in.
Thanks for sticking with us, for offering to help, for staying home, and for keeping your friends, family, and neighbors safe. We’ll get through this.