COVID-19 has surely hindered San Francisco’s queer nightlife community, leaving bartenders sans pay and prompting entertainers to embrace Twitch. In response, the SF Queer Nightlife Fund has been amassing donations to aid those workers and will begin distributing some $160K to accepted applicants.
To say that San Francisco's dining and nightlife scenes aren't faring too well right now is a boarderline euphemism because of its crassness; they're each contending with obstacles they've, historically, never faced before — and a large portion, maybe half, of all SF bars and eateries won't emerge from this pandemic fully intact. Or, frankly, open for business.
The SF QNF is proud to announce that we are disbursing awards from our first round of grant applications. In the month of March, we received #emergencyrelief applications from 258 #queer #nightlife workers, of which 176 met our eligibility criteria. https://t.co/5Pdnpp5XTh— SF Queer Nightlife Fund (@qnightlifefund) May 1, 2020
But SF’s Queer Nightlife Fund (QNF), created by a group of respected local LGTBQ figures that make up its "Steering Committee," has been proactive in raising donations to help those who make a living in the industry. As of this week, QNF has raised $160K in total funds — money which will now be disbursed through individual grants to 176 approved applicants.
"Our first campaign has been incredibly successful," reads a recent news release. "In a little over a month, we raised approximately $160,000 — almost entirely from individual donations. We have established new community rituals, including the weekly Sunday Quaran-Tea Dance, streamed live on Twitch, and Zoom [...] our fundraising efforts have revealed the strength and resilience of our community and have given us all hope for the future."
According to that same release, QNF received applications from 258 nightlife workers during the second half of March. Of those submitted, 176 met QNFs eligibility criteria and were selected to receive a single-installment grant. Per the Bay Area Reporter, those funded grants "will range from $2750, with $500 for dependents, and the [lowest amount given] being $300 for [applicants] with less financial need."
However, we can all attest to the fact that while there's a light at the end of this proverbial tunnel, it's hazy as to how far in the future said lumination exists.
"It remains uncertain when our vital cultural institutions can reopen and when we can again gather in person as a community," the organization continues, later hinting at the likelihood of a second round of philanthropy to come: "Therefore, the QNF has recognized the need for a second fundraising campaign and a new round of grant applications."
QNF encourages those who have the financial means (and savings safety nets already in place) to donate toward the fund. A weekly updated calendar of QNF-hosted virtual events — to soak up from the comfort of your isolated domicile — can be found here.
Image: Screenshot via Twitch