Twitter C.E.O. is to donate $3.5 million to the Guaranteed Income Pilot of San Francisco
"Our artists make San Francisco special and bring so much life and energy to our city. The arts are truly critical to our local economy and are an essential part of our long-term recovery. If we help the arts recover, the arts will help San Francisco recover."
Jack Dorsey, Twitter C.E.O., has donated to San Francisco’s experimental program offering $1,000 guaranteed income for artists. He offered $3.5 million through his charity #StartSmall.
The basic income program by Yerba Buena Centre for the Arts – announced by Major London Breed – is part of San Francisco’s recovery plan. The original plan was that 130 artists would receive $1,000 per month for six months, but the organization extended it to 1.5 years, and 180 artists thanks to the donation.
The emphasis is on communities affected the most by the pandemic, including Latinx, Black, Asian, Indigenous, immigrant, disabled, and LGBTQ artists. The Yerba Buena Center will collaborate with five other arts and culture organizations in the city to select the applicants who receive the payment.
As the major stated: “From the first day the pandemic arrived in San Francisco, we knew that this health crisis would impact artists and artists of color in particular. Our artists make San Francisco special and bring so much life and energy to our city. The arts are truly critical to our local economy and are an essential part of our long-term recovery. If we help the arts recover, the arts will help San Francisco recover. This new program is an innovative effort to help our creative sector get through this challenging time and come back even stronger and more resilient than before.”
“To know that we have the confidence of #StartSmall to be able to truly pilot this, to grow from the six-month pilot the city has funded to an 18-month pilot, to be able to deepen the learnings and also to be able to add artists, is truly extraordinary,” – said Deborah Cullinan, Buena C.E.O. about the expanded program.
Source: Twitter @ybca
The program is an extension of the center’s “commitment to advancing new economic models that address systemic racism and inequity and historic financial instability in the arts sector,” – she said in s statement. “The learnings from this expanded pilot will ensure that we can pave the way for local, state, and national policies and models that are equitable and resilient.”
The conditions for applying to the program included living in one of the 13 zip codes identified as the most affected during the lockdown and earning less than $60,900 a year. 95% of the recipients are persons of color, immigrants, LGBTQ, or disabled.
The #StartSmall organization has distributed around $380 million to date. Dorsey announced his plan at the beginning of the pandemic to give away $1.5 billion of his own wealth to support important causes. The list of grantees and amounts is here. He focuses on UBI (universal basic income), COVID-19 relief, and girls’ health and education, as he thinks these represent "the best long-term solutions to the existential problems facing the world."
The Guaranteed Income Pilot for artists perfectly fits #StartSmall’s goals, as it both addresses COVID recovery and UBI.
As YBCA writes about the art sector on their website, proving the importance of the pilot “San Francisco’s arts and culture sector generated $1.45 billion in annual economic activity while supporting nearly 40,000 full-time jobs pre-COVID. Artists are the heartbeat of our cultural and civic life. While they have worked tirelessly over the last year, artists, cultural workers, and makers, particularly those from historically marginalized communities, have faced the most disparaging financial impacts resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. These impacts are unsustainable, so we at YBCA are stepping up to build structures of economic support for our artists, our city, our people.”
Source of the cover photo: ybca.org