Emergency Relief for Curtis Alumni

Emergency Relief for Curtis Alumni (“ERCA”) is an emergency initiative funded by Curtis Institute of Music trustees and staff in response to the adverse impact that COVID-19 is having on Curtis alumni. With lead funding by Curtis trustees Nina von Maltzahn and Lupo von Maltzahn, more than $500,000 has been raised for ERCA to redistribute to Curtis alumni.   

The goal of ERCA is to provide emergency relief funding to Curtis alumni whose livelihoods have been adversely affected by COVID-19, are experiencing financial distress, and who are in need of financial support.   

Curtis Institute of Music is acting as the administrator of the initiative and will redistribute every dollar of funding received for ERCA. 

Applications are being accepted as of Thursday, May 7, 2020.




This section will be updated regularly as we receive feedback from Curtis alumni.


Grants will made in amounts up to $2,500 USD (two thousand five hundred United States dollars).

ERCA will provide emergency grants to alumni as long as there is funding to redistribute. We anticipate that there will be more requests than funding available.

Alumni can write to alumni.relations@curtis.edu with questions. A Curtis staff member will respond in a timely manner.

Eligibility, Selection, and Notification

Curtis alumni working in any profession, residing inside or outside the U.S., are eligible to apply.

The following alumni are excluded from eligibility: (a) current part- or full-time employees of the Curtis Institute of Music, including current faculty; (b) any graduate of a Curtis program who is currently enrolled in another Curtis program; (c) alumni who have already received a grant through ERCA.

Alumni can apply by visiting curtisinstitute.grantplatform.com which is Curtis’s page on a third-party website called Award Force. If you’ve used Award Force before and have an existing account, you will need to enter your login credentials. If it is your first time using Award Force, you will need to create a new account. This is a quick and simple process. If you have any technical issues on Award Force, such as questions related to password retrieval, confirming receipt of applications, or revising submitted applications, please visit support.awardforce.com. If you have questions about how to complete the application form or want to provide feedback of any kind about the program, please write to use at alumni.relations@curtis.edu.

Applicants will be asked to provide the following information:

  • Personal information to verify alumni status (name, name while at Curtis, date of birth)
  • Contact information and preferences (mailing address, e-mail, phone)
  • Optional demographic information for internal reporting
  • Country of Citizenship to help Curtis stay in compliance with IRS grant making guidelines
  • Personal statement (500 words or less) outlining the financial hardship brought about by COVID-19. The statement should be as specific as possible about:
    • the kind of work lost (e.g., cancellations, layoffs, and furloughs) due to COVID-19;
    • the scope of financial losses due to COVID-19;
    • the impacts of those losses on your ability to pay for basic necessities such as food, medical care, childcare, and rent;
    • any other relevant COVID-19 circumstances important for the review panel to know.
  • Request for funding up to $2,500USD (two thousand five hundred U.S. dollars)
  • Optional request for non-monetary support (250 words or less) outlining other ways that Curtis might be able to support your work during these times. Non-monetary support might include help in promoting online work through Curtis’s social media channels, making connections with other Curtis alumni for artistic or teaching projects, advice on how to improve teaching by distance, and other needs brought to Curtis’s attention.
  • Disclosure of relationships (if any) with any officers or trustees of the Curtis Institute of Music. Disclosure is required by the IRS and the presence of relationships does not disqualify applicants from receiving grants.

Once your eligibility is verified, only the personal statement will be provided to the review panel for review. Applicants will be selected on the basis of the severity of financial need as described in the 500-word personal statement. Alumni who have graduated during the past 15 years will be prioritized in the review process, but all applications will be considered.

The review of applications will take place as follows:

  • Determination of eligibility. A member of the Institutional Advancement department of Curtis will verify your alumni status and review that you have completed all of the steps in the application.
  • Review of applications. All eligible applicants will be reviewed by a three-member panel comprised of individuals very familiar with Curtis but who are not alumni or employees of Curtis. The names of the review panel will not be made public and the names of the applicants will not be disclosed to the review panel. For each application, the panel will review the severity of hardship brought on by COVID-19 based on the description provided; determine financial need; and only select applicants who have demonstrated that they are financially needy as a result of temporary distress related to COVID-19. The panel’s selection process will be undertaken on an objective and nondiscriminatory basis designed to provide emergency relief to persons who are needy and distressed.
  • Determination of award amounts. At its discretion, the panel will award standard grants in the amount of up to $2,500 USD (two thousand five hundred United States dollars).

Within three weeks of receipt of your application, you will be notified by e-mail as to the determination of the panel.

Curtis alumni who do not receive funding through ERCA may reapply through the Award Force portal.

Yes. For the health and safety of both applicants and the review panel, the application is only online through Award Force. A digital application allows the review panel and supporting administration at Curtis to maintain social distancing and abide by shelter-in-place orders.

Yes. We are aware that some individuals whose need is greatest may not have regular internet or computer access. If you wish to submit an application on behalf of another person with their consent, you will need to create an Award Force account for them and be sure to fill out the application with their information

As an applicant, your data will be viewed by staff in the Advancement Department of Curtis and members of the review panel who have passwords to view the data. Individual applicant data (including name) will not be shared, duplicated, or distributed publicly. Additionally, aggregated applicant data will be collected, summarized, and shared in reports to funders and/or the public, without disclosing any personal information. No information provided in the personal statement in Award Force will be co-mingled with or imported to Curtis Institute of Music databases.

Demographic data is an essential part of Curtis’s commitment to equity and inclusion. This information is being collected for reporting purposes and does not affect eligibility or selection.

Award Force operates with industry-standard security certificates and features for data collection and storage. More information is available here.


No. Personal information will never be disclosed or publicized by Award Force or Curtis. Curtis encourages alumni to share news about ERCA to reach a wider network of alumni who could potentially benefit from the program.

If you are a U.S. citizen, you will not be required to provide an accounting of how you used the funds. If you are not a U.S. citizen, IRS guidelines require such an accounting. Curtis will provide instructions to all relevant recipients about how to submit the report to Curtis

If the review panel chooses to award a grant, you will be asked through Award Force to electronically sign a grant agreement and confirm details for the electronic transfer of the award funds to your bank account. Because grant funds are taxable, you will be asked through Award Force to provide a signed W9, including a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) before the grant is distributed. Curtis may be required to withhold 30% of award amounts for non-U.S. citizens without a federal tax ID number. For information on Award Force’s privacy policy, click here.

ERCA is intended to help Curtis alumni experiencing financial distress due to COVID-19. All grants are unrestricted and can be used for any kind of emergency relief. As per IRS guidelines, U.S. citizens will not be required to reveal how the funding has been spent, but non-U.S. citizens will be required to provide to Curtis a report on how the funding has been spent within sixty (60) days of receiving funds.


Yes, you can support ERCA with a monetary donation here. Gifts to ERCA are restricted and are not applied to The Curtis Annual Fund. All donations are fully tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.