April 2020 COVID-19 Relief Fund Emergency Motion

April 27th 2020, via email

An emergency motion to create a relief fund as part of the upcoming Spring Fundraiser.

Amanda Guest:

In planning the spring fundraiser with Josef we began discussing the idea of setting up a disaster relief fund for artists and bands who are struggling.

The fund will be open to bands and artists who can demonstrate a loss of income due to venue closures.

  1. The fund will only be available to bands and artists living in the Bay Area and who have either played a BFF.fm show in the past or have been featured on BFF.fm. (this gives us a pool of at least 5,000 artists!)

  2. Priority will be given to those who can demonstrate the most acute financial need, particularly those with immediate needs, or those who have not been able to benefit from other programs.

  3. Money may be used for basic needs like rent, groceries, healthcare, etc.

I would like to make a motion for a vote to establish the fund under the following guiding principles:

  1. Once we begin accepting applications I will send the board to a folder including those meeting the requirements for review.

  2. Each member of the board must vote yes/no to approve funding

  3. If demand necessitates it, we will be voting to disburse funds on a weekly basis.

  4. I will disburse the funds via Paypal or Venmo, depending on what the recipient prefers.

If we vote on this fund and it is approved, the fund will be an add-on to the spring fundraiser, meaning after donors give to BFF.fm they will get a pop up message inviting them to also give to the relief fund.

We will work to reach out to as many of the bands previously involved in BFF.fm as possible. We should easily reach every Besties band, and every MUSH and BFF.fmBirthday band from the past.

Will anyone second my motion so that we can put forth a vote?

Tom Tierney:

I’ll second that fantastic idea. I love the add on on piece, does not take away funds from bff.fm while staying true to the mission

Ben Ward:

Question about the administration, both from the POV of what we need to do for robust oversight, and of ensuring we operate this thing efficiently, given the urgency of this kind of support:

1. While board oversight to all grants makes sense, do we want to require a full board vote to approve? Should we operate on a majority basis instead (that would still require 3 out of 4, I suppose)

2. Are there any requirements around public disclosure or documentation of who receives the funds (either ongoing, or as a report at the end of the program?)

3. What will happen to any funds that aren’t distributed?

Amanda:

1. I think majority would rule in this case.

2. This is a bit of a grey area...it seems like so many people are doing this sort of thing that it's going to be impossible for the IRS to track. I'm reaching out to the attorney who did our 501(c)3 this week to take a look at my draft of guidelines to see if there are any red flags.

3. We could either roll those funds into BFF.fm, or hold them for future aid.

Will Craven:

It's a great idea.

I'm eager to hear from an attorney, and settle on rough requirements.

Is the idea the amount to distribute to each party a uniform amount, or to give differing amounts based on demonstrated need?

Amanda:

It should be different amounts based on need. I was thinking $100, $250, or $500 at least to start with, since this was about what I was disbursing to DJs from the mutual aid fund.

It sounds like everyone is in agreement that it should be pursued. I really don't want to put legwork into developing this without a vote, though. There's only one week until launch and I don't want to use that time on something that may not be approved.

Will:

This appears to endorse the concept: https://wscadv.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Financial-Assistance-and-Grants-by-Non-Profits-to-Individuals-FINAL.pdf

I'm comfortable calling the vote, but do support also asking the attorney for guidance.

I call the vote.

And vote yes.

All board members vote YES.

Amanda:

Had the call with our attorney. As a musicians attorney, boy was he happy to hear from someone not at wits end hemorrhaging money. Anyway, here are the learnings:

1. Had a few basic questions about how to administer the fund which he felt we already have considered

  • Having a panel review and vote on applications, in our case, the board.

  • Making sure we avoid the appearance of conflict of interest. I showed him drafted language that states that staff, DJs, volunteers, and board members are not eligible to receive grants from the fund. He had me add "and their families.".

  • We reviewed my draft requirements and he thought they looked sound.

  • He asked if we had language that absolved us from being required to give away a specific sum of money or a specific amount of grants. I already had that covered. "Grant amounts as well as the number of grants will depend on how much money is available in the fund".

2. He actually had an interesting idea of an addition we could make with no risk to us, but better marketing potential: create two grant categories

  • First grant is what I had mapped out; immediate grants for artists who need money for basic needs now.

  • Second grant would be something like a "community impact" grant. There would be no financial basis for the grant. Any Bay Area band can nominate themselves or be nominated for consideration, and then we let the community weigh in via poll, social media, etc. I think this is very interesting!

    • He thinks this would actually be great marketing for the station and depending on how much money we take in donations we could give the grant to one or many Bay Area bands.