OAKLAND (CBS SF) — The city of Oakland and the Kenneth Rainin Foundation announced Monday that they have launched a $625,000 relief fund for artists and art workers in Alameda and Contra Costa counties affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. 

The East Bay/Oakland Relief Fund for Individuals in the Arts will offer direct grants of up to $2,000 to artists, art teachers and nonprofit art workers who are economically vulnerable to the pandemic, particularly artists from underserved communities. Grant recipients can use the funds for any financial hardship, according to the city and the Kenneth Rainin Foundation.

The San Francisco-based Center for Cultural Innovation will administer the fund, which is supported by more than a half-dozen philanthropic groups and foundations as well as individual donors.

“Arts and culture are woven into the fabric of Oakland,” Mayor Libby Schaaf said. “And the work of these culture placekeepers is needed more than ever to help us make sense of these difficult times. I’m grateful to this public/private partnership of funders who’ve stepped forward to support our diverse artistic communities.”

Applicants must be full-time residents in either county, eligible for or currently receiving state unemployment benefits and cannot have familial or financial relationships with the boards, staff and executives of the CCI or the organizations supporting the fund.

Applications are open through June 5 at 5 p.m. Grant recipients will be notified by June 12 and can receive their funding via direct deposit or a mailed check. Applications can be completed at the Center for Cultural Innovation website.