The Recipients Are Announced!
The Elevate Creatives Fund is a grant program jointly presented by Wave, the one-stop money management solution for small business owners, and the Shortys. Designed to fuel creative entrepreneurship, this program saw so many high-caliber entries that it added an additional recipient. The six recipients of this inaugural grant, totaling $120,000, were announced at the live event, with each recipient to receive $20,000 alongside personalized bookkeeping and accounting coaching from Wave's in-house experts to help take their business to the next level. The recipients are:
- Joseph Arujo: Latinx LGBTQ+ mental-health activist and content creator working on a debut children’s book.
- Jamie Feldman: journalist, essayist and content creator developing a podcast tackling debt and financial literacy.
- Kirby Porter: former Harvard women’s basketball player and founder of New Game Labs - a media firm for the athlete economy.
- Alyson Stoner: actor, author, digital creator, and the founder of Movement Genius, a platform making mental well-being affordable, accessible and culturally relevant.
- Rollie Williams: creator and host of Climate Town, a docu-comedy video series focused on demystifying the climate crisis.
- Tiffany Yu: content creator, speaker, CEO & Founder of Diversability, an award-winning and entirely disabled-run and led social enterprise to elevate disability pride.
Additional Shortlisted applicants are:
- Golda Arthur
- Bithia Dantoumda
- Damona Hoffman
- Kaena Alice Hood
- Felicia Hsu
- Amanda Morell
- Eno Oduok
- Blake Pfeil
- Nicole Rechtszaid
- Hamnah Shahid
- Carolyn Silveira
- Dane Stewart
- Keith Terrell
- Ariel Viera
- Kacie Willis
About the Elevate Creatives Fund
The 100,000 USD Elevate Creatives Fund is designed to remove financial barriers for creatives, so they can break the Internet—not the bank. Five recipients will each receive:
- 20,000 USD each to grow their creative business
- Free personalized bookkeeping and accounting coaching from Wave’s in-house experts
- Profile features on the Shorty Awards website and social media (this is a separate program from the Shorty Awards and Impact Awards)
- Invitation to the live celebration and networking event on November 13th
Eligible applicants include independent creators and freelance creatives and consultants in the US and Canada. The recipients will be selected based on the quality of their work, creative ambitions, and contribution to their communities.
- A brief description of a creative project you’ve completed or are working on in 2023
- An additional 1-3 examples of completed work (to be eligible, the work entered must have been completed after December 31, 2020)
- A brief essay about why you deserve to receive the grant that touches on your creative professional achievements, aspirations as a creative entrepreneur, following and engagement on social media and/or other platforms, any previous award wins, any extracurricular work to give back to communities, etc.
- Applicants may be asked to provide 2022 tax return to verify eligibility as an independent creator
A special judge panel from the Shorty Awards' judging community - the Real Time Academy - will be reviewing the applications and the recipients will be selected based on the following criteria:
- Originality and creativity of creative project and/or entrepreneurial endeavor
- Quality, craft, engagement, and effectiveness of work examples submitted
- Demonstrable use of a creative platform to influence and/or create a positive impact
- Plan for using funds received to accelerate growth as a creative entrepreneur
Jury members include:
- Dominic Andre, Creator (7M+ followers on TikTok)
- Qianna Smith Bruneteau, Founder, American Influencer Council
- Goldie Chan, Creator; Founder, Warm Robots
- Christen Nino De Guzman, Founder, Clara for Creators
- Stephen Gates, Founder, CRZY; Host, The Crazy One podcast
- Rani Mani, Digital Media Customer Comms Lead, Adobe
- Paul Marvucic, Director, Product Marketing, Patreon
- Kerry Reynolds, VP, Marketing, Wave
- Winnie Sun, Managing Director and Founding Partner, Sun Group Wealth Partners
- Kaya Yurieff, Creator Economy Reporter, The Information
- Josh Zimmerman, CEO, Creator Coach
- U.S. or Canadian independent creators who produce editorial (to inform, entertain, educate, inspire, etc), fine art, and/or commercial (e.g. branded or ad-supported) content, such as social media content, podcasts, videos, short films, etc.
- U.S. or Canadian freelance creatives/consultants such as designers, copywriters, and producers who provide services to brands, agencies, nonprofits, etc.
Key Dates and Fees
- Application opens: May 24th, 2023
- Early bird deadline: June 29th, 2023 - Application Fee: $39
- Official deadline: August 28th, 2023 - Application Fee: $59
- Late deadline: September 15th, 2023 - Application Fee: $99
- The recipients will be announced in November 2023
Wave will cover the application fee for anyone with a Wave account (it's free to sign up!). After signing up, simply check the box confirming you have an account and enter the same business name registered with Wave. Signing up isn’t a requirement to apply, nor a condition to receive the fund.
The total of $100,000 cash fund will be distributed to the five recipients at $20,000 each by December 31, 2023. Payment will be made directly to the bank account provided by each of the eligible recipients. The bank account must be associated with the individual applicant or their registered business. The recipients may be asked to provide proof of identity or their registered business, such as tax forms from the previous year. The Elevate Creatives Fund, the Shorty Awards, and Wave accept no responsibility for any tax implications. Applicants must seek their own independent financial advice.