Songwriters of North America (SONA) has established a new fund that will distribute $1,000 emergency grants to songwriters facing economic hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Applications for the SONA fund will be reviewed on a first-come, first-serve basis beginning Friday (May 15). The process will be overseen by an executive committee of songwriters and industry professionals including Jess Furman, Brendan Okrent, Catharine Wood, Leona Lewis, Autumn Rowe, Leland and JHart.
To be eligible, applicants must be professional songwriters or composers, have a membership or affiliation with a PRO lasting more than two years, be over the age of 18 and earn at least half their income from songwriting. Those chosen to receive the grants will have the option of allocating the money to rent, food, healthcare and other categories.
"As a trade organization for songwriters and as songwriters ourselves, we are all too familiar with the immediate need for relief our community faces right now," said SONA executive director Michelle Lewis in a statement. "We are also aware of the lack of resources earmarked specifically for songwriters and composers… Despite the setbacks and losses we may be facing at this time, this fund allows us to give help where it’s most needed and to let songwriters and composers know they don’t have to face the precariousness and uncertainty alone."
The SONA Songwriter Assistance Fund is one of two funds specifically designed to assist songwriters during COVID-19; the other, We're Ready In Time of Emergency Relief (WRITER), was previously established by the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI). Both funds -- the latter of which has since been closed to new applicants -- were made possible thanks to a $500,000 donation by Sony/ATV, with the total amount being split between the two organizations.
In a joint statement on April 23, SONA and NSAI offered thanks to Sony/ATV and its chairman and CEO Jon Platt for the donation.
"Thank you. Our joint statement can't really start or end any other way," said Lewis and NSAI executive director Bart Herbison at the time. "Sony/ATV Chairman and CEO Jon Platt reached out to us and has been in dialogue with our groups over the past two weeks understanding the need for assistance to working songwriters, many whose livelihoods have been devastated due to effects of the coronavirus."
To apply or donate to the SONA fund, visit www.songwriterfund.com.