Last summer, as COVID-19 created economic hardship for creatives everywhere, a variety of charities were set up to offer assistance. For musicians, there was MusiCares, while Save Our Stages helped shuttered music venues. When a group of songwriters saw that there was no assistance being targeted for their struggling colleagues, they sprang into action. With the backing of Songwriters of North America (SONA), the Songwriter Fund was created by songwriters and for songwriters.
Directed by an all-woman team of acclaimed songwriters Autumn Rowe and Michelle Featherstone with management by Sarah Robertson, the Songwriter Fund offers emergency grants to songwriters in need. It was launched with resources from SONA and SONY Music Publishing, amongst other private and corporate donations.
“Everything dried up all at once for the songwriting community: royalties from streaming, as well as the ability to do gig work or be a session player,” said Featherstone. “We were talking to fellow songwriters who were asking, ‘How will I pay this month’s rent? How will I buy groceries? Will I ever work again?’”
It was out of this intense, desperate need that the Songwriter Fund was formed.
Last year, Rowe had begun working solo to raise money for other songwriters, accepting donations from artist friends such as Leona Lewis and Billy Clark. She was thrilled at the opportunity to work with an organization like SONA to create a larger, more structured fund. So far, it has distributed over $400,000 in grants to songwriters who have been hardest hit by closures during the pandemic…and it’s just getting started.
“The Songwriter Fund is a resource for our community when there are no other options,” said Rowe. “Many writers who ran out of options received grants, and we were really grateful to help. I’d like the Songwriter Fund to feel like that friend who always has your back. Because there is so little overhead in our organization, the most possible money goes out to songwriters.”
With the repercussions of the pandemic continuing to impact the music industry, the fund is still accepting donations as it gears up to provide another round of much-needed relief to songwriters, with applications opening April 28th. To learn more about the fund or to donate, visit www.songwriterfund.com.