Grantmakers in the Arts, the national association of private and community foundations, corporate funders, and government agencies that support communities across America by funding nonprofit arts organizations and artists, is writing to express our strong concerns about the proposed changes to the 2020 decennial census, including the Administration’s addition of a question on citizenship status. The 2020 decennial Census, if conducted improperly or incompletely and with the harmful impact of a citizenship question, will severely hamper the ability of our nation’s citizens to fairly benefit from Federal and State programs which support the arts and arts education. The question on citizenship status alone is especially troubling given the impact it will have on the ability of the census to accurately count all those living in and contributing to our nation.
Following the Trump Administration’s 2019 budget request that proposes the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), among other cultural agencies, the foundation presidents who fund ArtPlace released a statement in support of cultural federal agencies and their role in strengthening communities.
“If we lose federal agencies like the National Endowment for the Arts, we will not only lose significant direct investments in communities across all 50 states, we also lose the infrastructure that brings us together as one United States of America,” write the letter’s authors.
This statement follows a letter sent by the Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA) board of directors impressing upon Congress the urgent need to support appropriations funding for the NEA, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) at the highest levels proposed by either the House or Senate’s 2018 appropriations bills, and to reject outright the elimination of these agencies as proposed by the budget request.
The board of directors of Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA) has requested that Congress support appropriations funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) at the highest levels proposed by either the House or Senate’s 2018 appropriations bills, and to reject the elimination of these agencies as proposed by the Trump Administration’s 2019 budget request.
Larry Kramer, president of The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, penned a letter in which he reflects on philanthropy after, what he calls, “a year as tumultuous and unsettling as 2017.” Kramer points out the spirit of a funder’s work, the responsibility to steward tactfully a foundation’s resources, and the adaptations and responses required to navigate changes in the political landscape in the US and abroad.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy has published an easy chart comparing the current US House and Senate tax bills and how they could affect nonprofits. Click to enlarge.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.).