Print Page | Contact Us | Report Abuse | Sign In | Join Now / Subscribe
COVID-19 Guidance for the IABD Community


Artists and arts organizations will be affected by the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19, the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.




IABD Town Hall | Thursday, March 19, 2020, 8:30 pm - 10:00 pm EST

With the emergence and spread of COVID-19, we all need to make adjustments in our actions and expectations. IABD would like to know HOW YOU ARE DOING. We understand that these are troubling times, and we are providing the following forums for us to come together:

  • A SURVEY to assist us with better understanding how you are being impacted; and
  • A TOWN HALL forum where we will discuss the challenges that lie ahead for us all and provide tips/recommendations to help you through this pandemic.


The SURVEY ( takes about 6 minutes to complete, and we need your participation. The philanthropic community has begun to respond with alternative ways to address fundraising for emergency readiness. We want to make sure that your voice is also heard and a part of their decision-making process. Please note that the completion of this survey is voluntary, and All responses are considered confidential and will only be shared with our partner, Nonprofit Finance Fund.


OPEN TO ALL, our TOWN HALL discussion provides an opportunity for you to speak with individuals who hold particular expertise in the field of nonprofits. We are here to support the dance community as best we can and hope that this town hall will be informative as you confront your challenges. IABD is also making efforts to provide you with the most up-to-date resources on our website, so feel free to bookmark for quick access to resources.

Guest speakers (in alphabetical order)

  • Andrea Briscoe, Vice President of Talent and Organizational Effectiveness, Nonprofit Finance Fund
  • Shane Fernando, Executive and Artistic Director of the Wilson Center
  • Carol Foster, IABD Special Programs Assistant, Performing Arts Readiness Circuit Rider
  • Dominique Hugg, Manager, Nonprofit Finance Fund
  • Denise Saunders Thompson, President and CEO, The International Association of Blacks in Dance
  • Reggie Van Lee, Chief Transformation Officer, The Carlyle Group
  • Trella Walker, Associate Director, Advisory Services, Nonprofit Finance Fund

**additional guests may be added 

But most importantly, take care of yourself and each other. We look forward to speaking with you in the next couple of days!


Reggie Van Lee's notes from the Town Hall on Addressing Crisis:

• Exercise transparency with all stakeholders — funders, staff, artists, audiences — to engender trust and compassion

• Differentiate yourself — and be creative and resilient — to rise above the clutter and noise of other organizations vying for attention and support

• Be optimistic — no one wants to support a pessimistic message — while being pragmatic and realistic 

• Be open to retrenching and focusing on what’s truly core to your mission — this may require you to pull back on some less critical programs and live to fight another day — “suspend yourself disbelief” around the ability to cut back and still achieve your mission 

• Eliminate all non-essential expenses and aggressively (and honestly) renegotiate any expenses and/or agreements with vendors if possible — creditors can oftentimes be allies as well but honest negotiations are required (vs. hiding from the issues)

• Take the time to LISTEN to staff and artists — collaborate with them on solutions, co-create solutions, pull them into the challenge (vs. just having them be victims of the challenge)

Carol Foster's notes from the Town Hall on addressing Emergency Preparedness:

For over a year, IABD has been unknowingly ahead of the curve, trying to spread needed awareness around Emergency Preparedness. We have attended training, provided presentations, workshops, consultations, risks assessments, and developed a much needed comprehensive Emergency Plan template for the arts community. This plan is in its first iteration and a working document; still, it is a clear guide for dance and arts organizations. We are eternally grateful for our partnership with the Performing Arts Readiness Project and the new skill set it provided the IABD organization. 


Even as prepared as we thought we were--the Coronavirus pandemic presents challenges no one expected or planned for. Now a simple thing like having a closet full of toilet paper brings us solace and comfort. With the possibility of being shuttered for weeks, maybe months, what can we do and where do we go from here. Fortunately, we can provide some guidance that can be applied immediately as well as long term. 


Here is a quick checklist of some specifics that might assist you. 


  1. The Coronavirus / COVID-19 ...Be knowledgeable!
Utilize best practices for safety and protection


  1. Protective Measures - self & family, staff, dancers, students, teaching staff, parents, etc.
Consider crisis communication and business continuity planning. Work remotely, and keep everyone informed communicate, communicate communicate.


  1. Staying OPEN - The show must go on but it can’t!
If you consider opening (on the down-low), you are taking unnecessary risks. Please understand you open your business, self, etc. to a lawsuit, and your liability insurance will not cover it.


  1. The Pillars of Emergency Management 
Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, Recovery - This is the time to plan. The formula I advise is also suggested by leading NonProfit resources such as the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Scenario planning For COVID -19, what are your Plans A, B, C? There are many templates out there for crisis communication and business continuity plans --however (commercial), if you are an IABD member, we’ve done the leg work and can assist you right now. 


  1. How will the closures impact your livelihood?
Loss of income - we need immediate solutions / short term / long term -- Be Creative there is an overwhelming list of resources to wade through. I’m still researching and hope to be able to pinpoint the most critical ones for the dance studio school community. *Give parents and students a minute.


Do you have loss of income insurance? Perhaps this is an excellent time to go to the PAR website, utilize the webinars, and the loss of income calculator, so when you have to ask for assistance, you will have reliable figures. 


  1. Most importantly, what is your recovery strategy?
Start strategizing now for recovery and what that will mean for your self, company, studio, and organization. Be vigilant--new information is coming out everyday--stay informed. You have contracts and contractual agreements that will need to be renegotiated. Costumes have been ordered, venues selected possibly paid for, guest choreographers and artists secured, performance tours, and more. Take this time to work through everything that’s in play and come up with a solid plan of action. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.


  1. RESOURCES --- Highlight a couple of resources
Please visit our website as well as others for a lengthy list of resources. Also, if you don’t want to go down the rabbit hole, use the almighty GOOGLE, which knows all, but you must be specific. I found the Chronicle for Philanthropy article Responding to the Coronavirus very useful also Dance Magazine’s article on  How Dancers and Dance Organizations [and other performing arts] Can Prepare for the Financial Fallout of COVID-19


Contact Carol Foster, Special Program Assistant, PAR Circuit Rider, for more information regarding Emergency Preparedness.



March 13, 2020

Dear IABD Community,

Today, the IABD staff met to activate our emergency preparedness and continuity plan around the COVID-19 outbreak and continue to closely monitor the recommendations enacted by our federal, state and local governments. Though there are no known cases that directly affect the IABD community, our priority is the safety of all members while continuing to plan for programming and events beyond the COVID-19 outbreak.

As an immediate response, IABD is offering all of our members access to our Zoom video conferencing platform at no cost.
We know that not everyone has access to teleconferencing options, and so we would like to offer this platform to you free of charge. If you would like access to our account, please contact to submit a request.

Please be assured that we are constantly
monitoring recommendations and widespread closures and will make decisions accordingly with the utmost safety of our community in mind. With that being said, IABD will remain open with all staff members working virtually and available, via e-mail. We are planning to operate as usual. As always, we will continue to send out updates via email, our social media channels and our website.

Should you need to reach us, please use the CONTACT US form at the top of our website.
Click here to learn of IABD event postponements. Please know that IABD stands ready to support the community and be of service.
On behalf of the Board of Directors and Staff, take care of yourselves!

Denise Saunders Thompson