The Hideout is among local venues doing digital programming during the shutdown. Credit: Robbie Botts

CHICAGO — Do312 is offering $1 million in free advertising to entertainers and small businesses to help them through the pandemic.

The organization normally promotes events happening around the city — but those are on hold for now due to coronavirus. Looking to help the artists, performers and other entertainment workers who have been hit hard by the pandemic and the stay at home order, Do312’s staff is now offering grants of free advertising.

The grants are meant to help people and small businesses who are doing something creative to make it through the pandemic, like bartenders who have created delivery services, artists hosting shows online and restaurants selling groceries to make ends meet.

“It’s highly important that we support all art and culture when they’re in a predicament like they’ve been pushed into with COVID-19,” said Do312 general manager Scott Cramer. “We kind of have to get into the trenches and fight with them. It’s just so very important to us personally and professionally.”

The free advertising can help by promoting a service being offered by the pandemic — and, if you’re throwing a digital event with a “virtual tip jar,” it can bring in more people for more donations.

DoStuff COO Kristin Owen said Chicagoans are currently creating so much digital content it can be “hard to break through the noise,” but having your work or events advertised with Do312 can open it up to more people.

Do312 wants to “help these people reach a larger audience right now and, in turn, hopefully get [them] a larger tip or something to help them sustain,” Owen said. “It’s [open to] anyone that’s looking for creative ways to sustain.”

Do312 hopes to help 400-500 Chicagoans and businesses through the program. The program is currently set to run through May 31.

Those who are interested can apply online. If accepted, the applicant’s fundraiser, event or service will be advertised on Do312’s website, social media pages and newsletter.

Do312 will provide ad templates that people can change if they don’t have experience making ads.

Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.

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