United Way, Hear Fort Worth and Film Fort Worth extend, expand creative industry relief fund

Female musicain

An online relief fund created by a local musician to support fellow service industry workers who lost their income sources during the coronavirus pandemic has received further sustenance. 

The original musician’s initiative expanded to include filmmakers and visual artists

Rachel Gollay, a familiar face in the local Fort Worth music scene, had organized the Fort Worth Artist & Service Worker Relief Fund through crowdfunding platform GoFundMe on March 12. The goal was simple: raise money to donate and support workers who lost their livelihood as city officials mandated restaurants, bars and concert venues to close down.

The community came through, and in less than 10 days the fund received more than $10,000 in donations. Local artists, freelancers and service workers who reached out for and applied for assistance would receive about $200 each, Gollay said at the online campaign page.

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On March 25, Hear Fort Worth and Film Fort Worth and United Way of Tarrant County decided to chime in.

The three community-driven organizations have announced they are partnering to expand the GoFundMe campaign and will extend the initiative to collect more funds for the workers.

Visit Fort Worth, the parent organization of Hear Fort Worth and Film Fort Worth, will manage the application process and United Way of Tarrant County will spearhead collection of donations and fund distribution.

“Members of the creative community have been ambassadors for our city and we need to support them in this crisis,” said Mitch Whitten, executive vice president of marketing and strategy at Visit Fort Worth. “We want to support musicians, artists and filmmakers who have lost so much work and income. We’re grateful to Rachel Gollay for starting this initiative and to the United Way for helping us expand it.”

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The immediate goal for the expanded campaign now is to raise $20,000. However, the campaign will remain open for donations as long as it keeps receiving interest.

United Way of Tarrant County will host the donation and application page on their website https://www.unitedwaytarrant.org/artistsrelieffund/.

“United Way of Tarrant County is honored to partner with Visit Fort Worth to assist the creative community who have been impacted by COVID-19,” said Leah King, president and CEO of United Way of Tarrant County. “With so many artists relying on hourly or one-time income from large social gatherings in establishments now closed, this population has been hit hard by the virus. We encourage the community to support this initiative.”