The National Independent Venue Foundation (NIVF) is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) charitable organization. It was established in 2020 by the board of the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), a nonprofit corporation recognized by the IRS as a tax-exempt 501(c)(6) trade association. The mission of NIVF and NIVA is identical: to preserve and nurture the ecosystem of independent live performance venues and promoters throughout the United States; however, NIVF adds this additional statement: by supporting a transparent, competitive marketplace serving a diverse and inclusive community of artists, fans, and industry workers.
While NIVA is focused on lobbying on behalf of its members, NIVF focuses on non-lobbying activities in support of the mission such as fundraising, emergency relief funds, workforce development, education and community programming, employee training and support, economic development initiatives, especially in opportunity zones, underserved communities, and efforts to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the sector. NIVF seeks to harness this network of for-profit and nonprofit venues to remove barriers for under-represented communities (BIPOC, low-income, those with disabilities, LGBTQ+, and others) to enter or advance within the music business, to become business owners, and to broaden the appreciation of traditional and contemporary music genres for under-represented youth.
NIVF is governed by a seven-member board of directors led by Hal Real, who also sits on the NIVA Board. NIVF’s vibrant national board is poised for expansion and is representative of the sector with members connected to institutions and venues such as World Cafe Live (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), xBk Live (Des Moines, Iowa), Bohemian Foundation (Fort Collins, Colorado), Arts Midwest (Minneapolis, Minnesota), Warner Music Group (Nashville, Tennessee), Newark Symphony Hall (Newark, New Jersey), and The UC Theatre (Berkeley, California).
For its fiscal year ending June 30, 2021, NIFV had net assets of approximately $1 million and had provided approximately $2 million in emergency relief grants with another $1 million in emergency relief grants yet to be distributed. For its current fiscal year ending June 30, 2023, NIVF has an operating budget around $1 million. The strategy over the next five years is to increase contributed revenue significantly with targets to reach $7 million by fiscal year 2028. NIVF shares some administrative staffing resources with NIVA.