Persephone recognizes some care needs have a financial cost. We also recognize the contract-to-contract employment system that Artists subsist on contributes to financial insecurity.
In reflection on how our commitment to people-first care can help address these challenges, we are budgeting a universal fund to support emergent financial needs, which can be accessed by contract Artists. Currently, the Care Fund is a modest amount per Persephone Theatre production. This amount can change from season to season, based on our organizational budget. Funds not accessed for a given production will roll over to the subsequent production, and so on, until the end of the season.
Who is eligible:
The Care Fund is accessible to Artists and arts workers under contract with Persephone Theatre at the time a request is made. Access to the Care Fund operates on an honour system of need. The Care Fund is a limited resource, so Artists are asked to help us prioritize those with the most need by self-determining their own level of hardship, with consideration towards equity-owed groups.
Persephone Theatre defines “equity-owed” as those identifying as one or more of the following:
- Indigenous, Inuit, Metis
- Black/Person of African Descent
- South Asian
- East Asian
- West Asian/North African/Middle Eastern
- Blind/Low Vision
- Deaf/deaf/Hard of Hearing
- Disabled (including physical disability, neurodivergence, chronic and episodic illness)
- Trans and/or Non-Binary, Gender Non-conforming, 2 Spirit, Gender Expansive
- Those experiencing mental illness
- Seniors, aged 60+
- Grew up in and/or are currently living on/earning a very low income
Artists accessing this fund will not be required to produce receipts. These funds will be considered honorariums and therefore income by the CRA. For Artists who are GST registrants, the amount is not subject to GST, as it is not payment for services. The total monies paid out from the Care Fund will appear on a T4A form for the appropriate tax year. Individuals are responsible for remitting any taxes incurred in connection with receiving this honorarium via a T4A.
Care Fund Request Process:
- All support requests will be considered and held in confidence. No person shall be penalized for making a request for support.
- Requests for support are received jointly by the Artistic Director and Executive Director, exclusively.
- Requests are reviewed as they are received. When making a decision on who will receive funds, Persephone will take into consideration self-assessment of your level of need, and the number of requests received.
- Requests will be responded to within 10 working days, with decisions made jointly by the Artistic Director and Executive Director.
Persephone Theatre participated in Balancing Act’s Level UP! Initiative to pilot strategies, like this one, which forefront more inclusive, care-led workplace policies and practices. We will be sharing information about our experience implementing this Care Fund with Balancing Act, including what type of support was requested and the average amount requested overall. We will not be sharing any names or other identifying information as part of our reflections. You will be asked to participate in an anonymous survey at a later date to help strengthen the Balancing Act Initiative and inform advocacy work and policy change in our cultural spaces.
Persephone Theatre developed this Care Fund with the intention of removing barriers and adding support for equity-owed Artists. The intention of this Care Fund is to increase equity, justice, and inclusion for the Artists working for Persephone. We also recognize that freelance Artists are at an increased risk of underemployment, which can inhibit their ability to stay in the industry, and they may require additional support to be able to accept employment offers.
Each season, applicants to the Care Fund will be asked to participate in an anonymous and confidential survey to collect feedback on the efficacy of the Care Fund program. Persephone commits to an annual review of the aggregate data collected through the Care Fund, as well as the larger Statement of Care, to assess and discuss if and how the Statement of Care and/or the Care Fund may need to be altered to be more inclusive, expansive, or effective.
This Statement of Care was developed in consultation with Balancing Act, as part of the second cohort of the Level UP! Program, to foster more inclusive and care-led workplace policies and practices. We owe immense thanks to the first cohort who laid a lot of groundwork for others to follow in their footsteps: Why Not Theatre, Neworld Theatre, Obsidian Theatre, Toronto Dance Theatre, and Buddies in Bad Times.