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Maurice Sendak Emergency Relief Fund

Home > Awards and Grants > Maurice Sendak Emergency Relief Fund

The Maurice Sendak Foundation has seeded a program that will provide one-time grants of up to $2,500 to children's picture book artists and writers.

The Maurice Sendak Foundation (MSF) has partnered with the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) to launch an emergency relief grant program to support children’s picture book artists and writers impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The program will distribute unrestricted grants, up to $2,500 apiece, to artists who have experienced financial hardship from loss of income as a direct result of the crisis. The program is open to children’s picture book artists and writers over the age of 21 in the United States and territories.

MSF, a not-for-profit charitable organization, is devoted to promoting greater public interest in and understanding of the literary, visual, and performing arts. MSF has granted $100,000 to NYFA to begin the program; the initial goal for the fund is $250,000 with hopes that it will expand. Those interested in donating to the fund may do so here.

The application for the Maurice Sendak Emergency Relief Fund is now closed. We are sorry that we are no longer accepting applications at this time and encourage you to visit NYFA's Emergency Grants page for an extensive list of other COVID-19 funding opportunities.


Grant Launch: Wednesday, April 15, 2020, 10:00 AM EDT

Application Opens: Thursday, April 32, 2020, 1:00 PM EDT 

Application Closes: Applications are now closed 

Application Review: Thursday, April 23-Monday, May 4, 2020

Applicants Notified: By May 15, 2020


  • Applicants must be children’s picture book artists and/or writers who have published at least one picture book in the last five years (between 2015 and 2020) or who has a book currently under contract.
  • Applicants must be 21 years or older on or before April 23, 2020.
  • Applicants must show documented losses of income for the period of February 1 - July 30, 2020.
  • Applicants must reside in any of the 50 states, District of Columbia, or U.S. territories and be able to provide a W-9 and Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).


Please click here for a list of application questions and requirements for completing the application form.

  • Description of losses along with documentation in the form of signed contracts, email confirmations, letters of agreement or materials describing the confirmed date of activity and fee to be paid.
  • Proof of cancellation of activity in the form of state-based shutdown communication, email or personal communication about closure/job loss/opportunity postponement, etc.
  • Amount requested. Any amount up to $2,500.
  • Proof of publication of a children’s picture book. This can be in the form of a CV/resume, link to website, copies of press or links to bookseller sites.
  • Proof of age: Upload passport or state-issued ID.


Q: What is a children’s picture book?

A: A children’s picture book is a printed book utilizing a combination of images and text to form a visual and verbal narrative; though it may also be a wordless book with no text. It's primary audience is children.

Artists working in educational books, graphic novels, or comics are not eligible for this grant.

Q: I am a self-published illustrator and/or writer, am I eligible to apply?

A: No. Writers and illustrators that have self-published a book are ineligible to apply for this grant.

Q: I have been collaborating on a project for a picture book, can I apply as an individual?

A: Yes. If you have collaborated on a children’s picture book project in the past five years with another artist, you are able to apply using this project as evidence of your practice.

Q. Where do I find the application?

A: A link to the application will appear on this page beginning Thursday, April 23 at 1:00 PM EDT.

Q: When will recipients be notified?

A: We anticipate applicants will be notified by Friday May 15, 2020.

Q: What kinds of income losses are covered?

A: The fund will cover any documented lost income opportunities including, but not limited to: cancelled freelance commercial projects, teaching, speaking, or consulting assignments; lost temp work; layoffs or furloughs as a result of business closures, etc.

Your income loss does not need to be specifically related to your practice as a picture book illustrator or writer. It can be connected to your part-time / temp / additional employment.

Q: What kinds of losses are NOT covered?

A: More speculative, less quantifiable losses such as potential sales from a book fair that was cancelled or postponed or a fee-for-service engagement that was in the discussion phase, but for which no agreement was reached or contract signed, no matter how promising the conversations had been.

There needs to be a clear agreement between you and another stakeholder where a specific payment was agreed upon. Each agreement needs a date of activity, scope of services, and fee to be paid.

Q: Is this income taxable?

A: Yes, all recipients will be asked to complete a W-9 and will receive a 1099 if the grant is $600 or more.

Q: My losses total less than $2,500, may I still apply?

A: Yes, the maximum grant is $2,500, but applicants can request less.

Q: What file types can I upload to my application form?

A: The application form accepts the following file types: PDF, JPG, DOC, DOCX, and web links.

Q: How are the decisions made?

A: Applications are reviewed for completeness and must have clearly documented losses of income. Applications are funded in the order received until the total amount of the fund is distributed.

Q: What constitutes clear documentation?

A: A contract, letter of agreement, email, or other communication from another party committing to and confirming the date of activity, scope of services, and fee to be paid.

Q: May I include more than one activity in my application?

A: Yes, we understand artists frequently have a variety of things going on at once. You may apply for as many activities as meet the criteria, but the maximum grant will not exceed $2,500.

Q: What constitutes “activity” in my artistic discipline?

A: Evidence of activity is a minimum of one book published in the last 5 years (between 2015 and 2020) and/or a current contract for publication.

Applicants will need to provide an online link to the published work. This can be a link to either their website or the website of a bookseller or an executed contract or agreement stating the title of the picture book and the date of publication.

For applicants currently under contract, a redacted contract showing the artist’s name, and publication information should be submitted.

An artistic CV, link to applicant website or copies of press releases can also be submitted.

Q: I meet all the eligibility criteria but I have received a grant from NYFA and or a Sendak Fellowship, am I still eligible?

A: Yes, all past recipients of either NYFA or Sendak Fellows are welcome to apply.

Anyone connected to The Maurice Sendak Foundation (by employment or freelance work) are not eligible.

NYFA employees, members of the NYFA Board of Trustees or Artists' Advisory Committee, and/or an immediate family member of any of the previous are not eligible to apply.


Email [email protected].

Image Credit: Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, Illustrated By: Maurice Sendak

Copyright © 1963 by Maurice Sendak, Copyright Renewed 1991 by Maurice Sendak.

Used by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

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