Honolulu offers $10M in culture and arts virus relief grants

HONOLULU — A $10 million Honolulu initiative is expected to provide coronavirus relief funding to Oahu cultural and arts organizations.

Businesses and nonprofit groups can apply to the city through two grant programs, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Wednesday.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced the grants are available to groups seeking reimbursement for implementing safety precautions to prevent the spread of the virus or related reopening costs.

The initiative is meant to assist artists and cultural practitioners who are part of the “gig economy” of people working on contract jobs with little security and few employment rights or benefits.

The grant money is part of the city’s $387 million share of federal coronavirus relief funding, which must be spent by the end of the year.

The Malamalama program will provide up to $10,000 in one-time reimbursements to businesses and nonprofits generating less than $1 million in revenues annually.

The Ho’ola program offers up to $50,000 in reimbursements for nonprofit groups making $1 million or more annually. Qualifying entities include museums, large theaters and organizations displaying cultural or art attractions or other commercial art exhibit spaces. For-profit organizations are not eligible.

Applicants must have been in business before March 20.

Qualifying organizations will be required to show receipts, canceled checks, credit card charge statements or other proof of expenses.

Nonprofit groups must show registration and good standing with the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. They also must show tax-exempt designation and operate or support the culture and arts industry defined by standard federal and state guidelines.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

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