Open Letter from Tim Delaney: Tax Bill Will Hurt Nonprofits and Communities

Tim Delaney, president and CEO of the National Council of Nonprofits, has published an open letter against the tax bill currently under consideration in Congress:

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act changes personal exemptions and the standard deduction in a way that effectively denies 95 percent of taxpayers any tax incentive for giving back to their communities. The amount to which tax incentives drive donations can be disputed, but surely it will cut revenues some. Indeed, economists at the Tax Policy Center at the Urban Institute report that the tax change would reduce giving by $13 billion to $20 billion every year. The same group estimates that changes in the estate tax will reduce giving to charitable purposes by another $4 billion.

Read the full letter from Tim Delaney.

Senate Appropriations Bill Recommends Continued NEA, NEH Funding at 2017 Levels

On Monday, November 20, the US Senate Appropriations Committee released a 2018 spending bill that would fund the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities at 2017 budget levels, $150 million for each agency. Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert Lynch released a statement Tuesday in response:

This action is in stark contrast to President Trump’s call for full termination of these agencies. I thank the strong leadership of Senate Subcommittee Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Ranking Member Tom Udall (D-NM), both of whom were awarded our Congressional Arts Leadership Award in 2017 and 2015, respectively.

The Senate Appropriations bill is $5 million higher than the $145 million funding level allocated by the House of Representatives in July. As the Senate and House will need to reconcile to reach a final funding decision, Americans for the Arts is urging support for the Senate version.

Read the full statement from Robert Lynch.

Arts and Culture in Dangerous Times: Rip Rapson’s Address to the 2017 GIA Conference

At the closing plenary of the 2017 GIA Conference, Rip Rapson spoke on how The Kresge Foundation has reasserted its values and called on arts funders and cultural workers to continue to put their own values into action.

“In no time in my memory has it been more important for arts and culture to become part of a larger movement of social justice — helping strengthen the alliances necessary to speak and advance those truths of equity, fairness, and justice that we know to be inviolable.”

Read the full transcript.

The Resilience Fund

In February 2017, the Greater Washington Community Foundation (Washington, DC) in partnership with the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, established the Resilience Fund to respond to the critical needs of nonprofits working to support our region’s vulnerable communities as a result of changes in federal policy. To date, we have surpassed our $500,000 fundraising goal and extended it to $1 million total. The Fund announced its first round of grantees in August 2017, and an emergency grant in early September in response to the President’s decision to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Learn more.

Defending the Dream Fund Supports Community Organizing in the Trump Era

The Hill-Snowdon Foundation, General Service Foundation, Jesse Smith Noyes Foundation, the Whitman Institute and other partners have announced the 2nd round of the Defending the Dream Fund.  The Defending the Dream Fund was launched in April 2017 to help fund grassroots community organizing groups address a variety of new and urgent threats related to Trump era policies or practices at the federal, state or local level.  These threats continue to evolve and emerge and the second round of the Defending the Dream Fund seeks to support:

  • Community Organizing & Power Building
  • Multiple Issues, Immediate, Mid and Long-term & Intersectional Work
  • State and Local level organizing

Priority will be given to grassroots community based organizations with budgets under $1 million; as well as work that is focused on under-resourced regions of the country (e.g. the South, Mid-West, etc.).

Learn more about the Defending the Dream Fund.

Northern California Grantmakers to Host Event on Fighting Intolerance

With support from Gerbode Foundation, Tides, The California Wellness Foundation, and Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, Northern California Grantmakers will host a live event for grantmakers on “Fighting Intolerance in the Bay Area and Beyond.” From the event page:

Join us for a thought-provoking and insightful program with local and national experts on these complex issues, and come learn about what funders can do to help overcome these challenges. Our speakers will share their strategies in education, policy, organizing, communications, and other critical social change methodologies.

Learn more.

Funders Respond to Charlottesville

The Chronicle of Philanthropy has compiled a list of statements from nonprofit and foundation leaders following the events in Charlottesville, VA, including GIA member Grant Oliphant of The Heinz Endowments. In addition to these, other arts foundation leaders have voiced their responses:

“Even as brazen displays of hatred rightfully appall us, subtle, everyday acts of racism and bigotry need to be rendered just as unacceptable. This is our shared responsibility.”
— Board Chair Meghan Binger Brown and President Kate Wolford, The McKnight Foundation

“Anti-Semitism, like racism, misogyny, homophobia and other forms of hate, are alive and well in American political discourse.”
Sharon Alpert, The Nathan Cummings Foundation

“Whether through our grantmaking, other ways we can best support our partners, or the use of our own voice, we will remain vigilant about how we can play a role, along with many others, to ensure that hate does not prevail.”
President James Canales, Barr Foundation

“Where we stand will define us for generations to come.”
CEO Fred Blackwell, The San Francisco Foundation

“Our country’s public officials, thinkers, and artists must respond to this moment by telling the full, unvarnished history.”
President Earl Lewis, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

James Canales on Charlottesville: We Must All Speak Out

Barr Foundation President James Canales wrote a statement in response to recent news of racist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia and President Trump’s subsequent comments:

We at the Barr Foundation add our unequivocal voice to the growing chorus that explicitly renounces the violent expressions of hate and the vile racism and bigotry that we witnessed in Charlottesville last weekend. Of course, such sentiments are not isolated to Virginia, and with a President who increasingly empowers these fringe actors, we will see more of it, even in Boston this coming weekend.

That we find ourselves in this moment only reinforces the fact that our work is far from complete on our way to fulfilling this country’s promise of “e pluribus unum.” It is a moment that should lead all of us to decide what we should do, how we can engage, and where we can commit energy and resources to demonstrate unambiguously that there are not “many sides” to moral imperatives such as fighting racism and combatting bigotry in all of its forms.

Read the full statement.

Members of White House Presidential Arts and Humanities Committee Resign in Protest

From The Washington Post:

The remaining members of a presidential arts and humanities panel resigned on Friday in yet another sign of growing national protest of President Trump’s recent comments on the violence in Charlottesville.

Members of the President’s Committee are drawn from Broadway, Hollywood, and the broader arts and entertainment community and said in a letter to Trump that “Your words and actions push us all further away from the freedoms we are guaranteed.”

The arts commission has focused on three main tasks: promoting a program called Turnaround Arts that supports arts integration programs in mostly urban and rural schools; encouraging economic revitalization through the arts; and undertaking cultural diplomacy, including a visit to Cuba to meet with some of the island country’s artists and entertainers.

Read the full article on The Washington Post.