Image: City of Chicago's Covid Awareness Billboard program
Covid Sunshine by Candace Hunter
3ER (3Arts Emergency Response)
3ER (3Arts Emergency Response) was originally designed to be an ongoing fund to help support any pressing needs experienced by artists in the 3Arts network. Through this program we provide swift, short-term relief when artists’ basic livelihoods are precarious or when urgent needs arise, using a distribution process requiring as little administrative burden as possible.
In December 2020, 3ER shifted focus to provide grants for artists adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. With contributions from individuals and grants from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Illinois, The Field Foundation of Illinois, the HMS Fund, and the SIF Fund at the Chicago Community Foundation, by the end of 2020 we were able to support 35 artists with $1,500 grants.
In early 2021, an anonymous donor at The Chicago Community Foundation refueled the 3ER fund with $250,000, enabling us to reach an exponentially larger group of artists during the second year of the pandemic. We combined this with funds raised from our 2021 Community Award campaign to distribute 154 3ER grants by the end of 2021.
In both 2022 and 2023, after successfully reaching campaign goals for our Community Award, we rallied donors to help us shore up the 3ER fund again. To date, we have provided 206 grants of up to $1,500 to artists, with a total distribution of more than $300,000 since 2020.
"Thanks to 3ER, I was able to avoid having my insurance cancelled, pay out-of-pocket surgical expenses, and avoid choosing between essentials like utilities and disconnection."
"The 3Arts community is one of the reasons why I still live here. 3Arts has continued to be one of the most supportive and active nonprofits in helping Chicago based artists achieve their goals. It means a great deal to be a part of this family."