Archival Workers Emergency Fund Application Guidelines

Award Description

Created in the midst of the COVID-19 global pandemic in 2020, the Archival Workers Emergency Fund was established to provide financial assistance for archival workers experiencing acute, unanticipated financial hardship due to the crisis.

The number of recipients and award amounts will be determined by the SAA Foundation AWEF Grant Review Committee in collaboration with the SAA Foundation Board of Directors based on need and available funds. During the initial period (April 15 to December 31, 2021), the award amount will be up to a maximum of $1,000. Nonmembers will also receive a complimentary year-long membership in SAA.

Application Deadlines

Due to the unpredictability of the crisis and times of acute need, applications for AWEF will be considered on a rolling basis up to December 31, 2021.

Funding Priorities

Applications will be evaluated with particular attention to the statement of need. Grants will be provided to applicants for as long as funding permits.


All U.S.-based archival workers are eligible to apply, including archival consultants and independent contractors. Applicants must demonstrate current or recent work (as of March 2020) within the archives field or employment in a repository, regardless of type.

Application Components

To apply, applicants must supply the following information:

  1. Contact Information
  2. Description of Archival Work Experience (500 words maximum)
    This helps the committee verify the eligibility of the applicant as an archival worker. It should demonstrate archival work within one year of the date of application. Applicants will not be evaluated in terms of educational attainment or professional status.
  3. Statement of Need (500 words maximum)
    Applicants are asked to provide as much information as they are comfortable sharing. The statement of need should demonstrate acute, unanticipated financial hardship due to the COVID-19 crisis and might address the following components:
    • Caregiving responsibilities;
    • Health or health care expenses;
    • Debt burden;
    • Housing insecurity;
    • Food insecurity;
    • Ineligibility for or insufficiency of governmental aid; and/or
    • Any other details the applicant believes are relevant.

Application Review

 The AWEF Grant Review Committee is committed to following a transparent and equitable process of application and evaluation. Applications that are complete and meet eligibility criteria will be assessed according to an established evaluation rubric. The AWEF Grant Review Committee will determine recipients. 

Reporting, Program Assessment, and Records Management

The fund is grounded in the principle of mutual aid. The Foundation Board and the AWEF Grant Review Committee will not require any action from the recipient in return for the assistance, but will encourage recipients to contribute back to the AWEF (or other Foundation fund) whenever they are able to in the future.

The Foundation Board and the AWEF Grant Review Committee will assess the impact of the program periodically and during the Foundation Board’s November 2020 meeting based on Committee reports to the Board that include the number of grants awarded, money donated and disbursed, and any donor and recipient stories voluntarily contributed to the AWEF for the purposes of reporting, outreach, and advocacy. Following its fall 2020 assessment discussion, the Board will determine whether to extend the term of the fund and/or modify its purpose. (At the November 2020 meeting, the Foundation Board approved extending the AWEF program through June 30, 2021. At the April 2021 meeting, the Foundation Board approved further extending the AWEF Program through December 31, 2021.)

The AWEF Grant Review Committee will maintain an internal list of recipients. Recipients will not be listed publicly because of the nature of the fund responding to acute need. Application materials will be retained and destroyed in accordance with the SAA Records Retention Policy.


Approved by the Board, April 2020. November 2020: Program extended through June 2021. April 2021: Program extended through December 2021.