Organizers behind the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) have announced the launch of its latest initiative in the form of a 501(c)(3) non-profit in hopes of further lobbying for federal bail-out legislation before it’s too late.

Announced on Tuesday, the newly-minted National Independent Venue Foundation (NIVF) will partner and fundraise through individual, corporate, and foundation donations to expand upon NIVA’s efforts to pass the proposed Save Our Stages Act in Congress.

A statement shared by NIVA president Hal Real – who is also the founder/president of Philadelphia’s World Cafe Live – to go with Tuesday’s announcement reads,

The National Independent Venue Foundation is built on the same guiding principles as the National Independent Venue Association. While NIVA remains the advocacy, sponsorship, and membership trade organization branch of the cause, The Foundation has been created to focus on separate, supplemental initiatives, such as the Emergency Relief Fund. The Foundation hopes to learn from existing best practices and training programs undertaken by NIVA’s members and expand upon them to provide education and community programming, employee training and support, and economic development initiatives to further develop both organizations’ efforts to enhance diversity, equity and inclusion. Long-term, we hope to establish an endowment fund to assure the sustainability of NIVA and Foundation programming for years to come.

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Last month, NIVA hosted its virtual Save Our Stages Fest which raised over $1.8 million and featured 30+ artists from the mainstream/pop genres who performed virtually from 25 independent venues across the country.

Initially formed back in April, NIVA has grown to represent over 2,900 members (venues) in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., who are in desperate need of major financial aid until state governments allow for indoor public gatherings to return in full force. The Save Our Stages Act would provide over $10 billion in much-needed financial relief to venues across the country, and is part of the relief package proposed by a bipartisan coalition of congresspeople earlier this year.

If passed, the Act would open up $10 billion in grants to independent venue operators, which would not need to be paid back but can only be spent on specified expenses such as payroll costs, rent, utilities, and personal protective equipment. Venues will be able to apply for a grant up to $12 million, as well as a second grant equal to 50% of the initial grant.

With elected officials on both sides of the aisle currently at odds with each other surrounding the results of the 2020 election, it appears likely that no bi-partisan efforts will be made to approve the Save Our Stages Act anytime soon.