Local nonprofit Annapolis Musicians Fund for Musicians (AMFM) has given more than $106,000 to musicians whose livelihoods have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization, which was created to provide emergency financial relief to professional Annapolis-area musicians, has approved 171 applications from 74 musicians who have lost an aggregate of 1,070 gigs since March 13.
“Right after the governor announced the shutdown of music venues, our board began strategizing how we could quickly assist as many musicians as possible,” said AMFM President Matt McConville. “We put some new processes in place, rolled up our sleeves, and went to work. Applications flooded in, and our first batch of checks went out on March 30.”
“We weren’t sure if we’d have sufficient funds to help everyone who applies for lost gig benefits,” says AMFM Vice President P. J. Thomas. The organization’s March fundraising concert at Rams Head On Stage, “In the Vane of Van Morrison,” was postponed to 2021, as were its June and September fundraisers, “In the Vane of the Beach Boys” and “In the Vane of Sun Records.” “Donations from individuals suddenly picked up over the past three months, and that generosity has helped fill in the gap,” she says, “but we’ve just had to place a hold on applications because our funds are fairly depleted at the moment.”
“The musicians have been incredibly grateful,” said McConville. “They’ve told us how our benefits help them put food on the table and pay household bills. We’ve been able to give them assistance immediately, while they wait for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance to kick in and for the crisis to pass. This is what we’re designed to do, and we hope to be able to continue helping everyone out.”
AMFM’s overhead is extremely low, so more than 94 percent of donations received go directly to musicians. Since its founding 15 years ago, the organization has awarded more than $500,000 in benefits. It also fosters the next generation of musicians in the Annapolis area through scholarship and award programs, with a focus on underserved youth.