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Arts Support Included in Federal COVID-19 Relief Bill

Arts Support Included in Federal COVID-19 Relief Bill

March 26, 2020

Late last night, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed (96-0) the third phase of the coronavirus (COVID-19) response relief package. The $2 trillion emergency stimulus package included important provisions supporting the arts sector and creative workforce. The nation’s arts and culture industry is experiencing devastating economic losses with closed venues and cancelled performances, exhibitions, and events as a result of the pandemic.

The U.S. House plans to vote on the bill tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. ET and President Trump, who has already signaled his support of the legislation, is expected to sign it into law shortly thereafter.

This vital piece of legislation includes direct support for both nonprofit cultural organizations and state and local arts and humanities agencies, as well as economic relief provisions for independent contractors, “gig economy” workers and artists, entrepreneurs, and small businesses working in the creative economy.

We are thankful to you, the thousands of advocates and state and local arts agencies, who responded to our action alerts these last few weeks. Your advocacy has been effective and many of our policy asks have been addressed. But we know it’s not enough and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin acknowledged yesterday at a press conference that he thought this legislation was just a three-month economic solution to help workers and affected industries.

Specifically, the bill includes the following arts-related items to address the continuing damage caused by the COVID-19 virus:

Federal Arts Funding (Note: This is a supplement to their annual appropriations)

  • $75 million for the National Endowment for the Arts
  • $75 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities
  • Special note: Congress accepted our ask to waive matching grant requirements and to waive the requirement for grants to be project-specific. All these new fast-track grants will be for general operating support with no match.
  • $75 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
  • $50 million for the Institute of Library and Museum Sciences
  • $25 million for the Kennedy Center
  • $7.5 million for the Smithsonian

Community Development Block Grants, Small Business Administration, and Unemployment Insurance

  • $5 billion for Community Development Block Grants to cities and counties. Arts groups should work directly with their mayors and local economic development offices for grant support.
  • $350 billion for Small Business Administration (SBA) emergency loans of up to $10 million for small businesses—including nonprofits (with less than 500 employees), sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals (like individual artists)—to cover payroll costs, mortgage/rent costs, utilities, and other operations. These loans can be forgiven if used for those purposes. This new eligibility has been a key element of the CREATE Act we’ve been pursuing;
  • $10 billion for Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) for loans up to $10,000 for small businesses and nonprofits to be used for providing paid sick leave for employees, maintaining payroll, mortgage/rent payments, and other operating costs;
  • Expanded Unemployment Insurance (UI) that includes coverage for furloughed workers, freelancers, and “gig economy” workers. The bill also increases UI payments by $600/week for four months, in addition to what one claims under a state unemployment program.

Charitable Giving Tax Deduction

  • An “above-the-line” or universal charitable giving incentive for contributions made in 2020 of up to $300. This provision will now allow all non-itemizer taxpayers (close to 90% of all taxpayers) to deduct charitable contributions from their tax return, an incentive previously unavailable to them. Additionally, the stimulus legislation lifts the existing cap on annual contributions for itemizers from 60 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI) to 100 percent of AGI for contributions made in 2020.

The inclusion of these provisions to help nonprofits, the arts sector, and the creative workforce can be attributed, in part, to the incredible grassroots outreach by arts advocates across the country, coordination with national nonprofit coalitions, and Americans for the Arts and Arts Action Fund outreach to Congress and the Trump Administration. It is likely that another stimulus package will be considered by Congress as the economic fallout from the coronavirus adds up across the country – we will need your help again!

Americans for the Arts and the Arts Action Fund will continue to work for increased support for our sector as we deal with this global pandemic. In addition to the continuing damage reports being collected through our national economic snapshot survey and dashboard, our up-to-the-minute COVID-19 Resource Center updates, we’re also planning a series of webinars through our ArtsU platform to present experts and guidance to the field to help navigate through these new federal provisions during this challenging time. More to come.


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Take Action TODAY: Include Arts Support in COVID-19 Federal Response

Americans for the Arts President's FY20 Budget Calls for Termination of Cultural Agencies AgainThe coronavirus has already had a devastating economic impact on America’s nonprofit arts sector—financial losses to date are estimated to be $3.2 billion. Since the first U.S. case was reported on January 20, cancellations and closings have been reported in thousands of communities spanning all 50 states. In order to support the sector at this vital time, request that your members of Congress include $4 billion—to be distributed though the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)—to help offset the losses of the nonprofit arts industry, and expand eligibility through additional federal programs to ensure artists, entrepreneurs, and small businesses in the creative economy can utilize business interruption relief.

In a national survey by Americans for the Arts, 91% of responding arts organizations indicated that they have cancelled one or more events. Many arts organizations have closed their doors for months to come. More than one-third of respondents expect to make reductions in staff; 26% have already reduced their creative workforce. These estimates are based on more than 3,000 respondents to an Americans for the Arts nationwide COVID-19 impact survey, and then further extrapolation of those data nationally using IRS data about nonprofit arts and cultural organizations. The survey is ongoing, and these figures will be updated regularly. Given that losses documented in the survey have occurred only in the last two months, Americans for the Arts anticipates additional billions in potential revenue losses for the nonprofit arts and culture field.

Join us in calling on Congress TODAY to designate a minimum of $4 billion—to be distributed through the National Endowment for the Arts—to help offset losses in the nonprofit arts industry and expand eligibility through additional federal programs to ensure artists, entrepreneurs, and small businesses in the creative economy can utilize business interruption relief.


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President's FY21 Budget Calls for Termination of Cultural Agencies Again

Americans for the Arts

February 10, 2020
For a fourth-straight year, the Trump administration has proposed to eliminate 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 of Public Broadcasting (CPB).  As misdirected as this proposal is, we are confident that Congress—as it has done in the past three fiscal years—will again reject this short-sighted budget request in a bipartisan, bicameral manner, and increase funding for these federal cultural agencies.

In the past three years, Congress not only dismissed these initial calls for termination, but in fact gave steady increases in funding to several of our nation’s cultural agencies.  Check out a brief history of budgetary proposals and final funding for these agencies for the past three years with the President’s most recent budget request in red below:

Key Federally Funded Arts Agency President Trump’s
FY 19 Budget Proposal
Final FY 2019 Funding President Trump’s
FY 20 Budget Proposal
Final FY 2020 Funding  President Trump’s
FY 21 Budget Proposal
National Endowment for the Arts
(NEA)
Termination $155 million Termination $162.25 million Termination
National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Termination $155 million Termination $162.25 million Termination
Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Termination $242 million Termination $252 million Termination
Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) Termination $445 million Termination $445 million Termination

Be sure to check out Americans for the Arts and Arts Action Fund President and CEO Robert L. Lynch’s full statement regarding the president’s budget proposal. Additionally, ArtsVote 2020 Chair Ben Folds testified on behalf of Americans for the Arts to urge the House Appropriations Subcommittee to increase NEA funding to $170 million for FY 21. Read Bob and Ben’s written remarks and watch Ben’s testimony on the Arts Action Fund website.

Be sure to check out Americans for the Arts and Arts Action Fund President and CEO Robert L. Lynch's full statement regarding the president's budget proposal. Additionally, ArtsVote 2020 Chair Ben Folds testified on behalf of Americans for the Arts to urge the House Appropriations Subcommittee to increase NEA funding to $170 million for FY 21. Read Bob and Ben’s written remarks and watch Ben’s testimony on the Arts Action Fund website.

 

I’m Contributing $5,000 to the Arts Action Fund

Americans for the Arts
                  - Arts Action Fund
              
Dear Arts Advocate,

Last Thursday December 5th, the Arts Action Fund kicked off its Year-End Fundraising Campaign to raise $30,000 by the end of the year.

We’ve already raised one-third of that goal from members like you!  In fact, I am contributing $5,000 personally to the Arts Action Fund PAC.  These funds go exclusively to the only political action committee in the country dedicated to supporting pro-arts federal candidates, who are committed to advancing the nonprofit arts in America. Additionally, I’m making a second contribution to the Arts Action Fund to carry out its grassroots activities to train arts advocates across the nation.

Attached below is a copy of the email that our Executive Director Nina Ozlu Tunceli sent you last Thursday.  Join me as an arts champion. Please contribute to the Arts Action Fund today.

Thank you for your commitment to the arts in America.

Robert L. Lynch
President and CEO, Arts Action Fund
Treasurer, Arts Action Fund PAC

———————————————————————————————————————–

FROM:  Nina Ozlu Tunceli, Executive Director of the Arts Action Fund on 12/5/19

Dear Arts Advocate,

Contribute to The Arts Action Fund’s Year-End Campaign this Holiday Season!

Thanks to members like you, we’ve had another effective legislative year in securing an increase in funding for the arts and humanities! We kicked off the ArtsVote 2020 campaign by interviewing presidential candidates such as Mayor Pete Buttigieg in our ArtsVote 2020 podcast with Ben Folds. In addition, we’ve been training grassroots arts advocates in Iowa, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, and North Carolina on how to ask key arts questions to presidential candidates campaigning in these early battleground states. Help us move into 2020 stronger than ever!

Will you make a year-end financial contribution to our ArtsVote campaign to help elevate the power of the arts as we fully enter the 2020 election year?

You can help stand up for the arts by:

  1. Contributing to our 2019 Year-End Campaign
  2. Using our Questions to Ask Pocket Card
  3. Signing and Sharing Our Arts Platform Petition

We can only succeed with your unwavering support. Keep the momentum going by being an ArtsVote champion today!

Make Your Year-End Gift to The Arts Action Fund by December 31, 2019.

Thank you for your generosity and have a happy holiday season!

Nina Ozlu Tunceli
Executive Director

P.S. Here is our official Year-End Letter to members, detailing the achievements we have made in this past year and how you can continue to help in this upcoming election year!

Take action
                          now!

Arts Action Alert! Please take two minutes to send your message to your U.S. Senators

Hello Arts Advocate,

While fiscal year (FY) 2020 began on Oct. 1, the U.S. Congress must still pass the 12 appropriation bills to fund the government through Sept. 30, 2020 (the government is currently operating under a continuing resolution [CR] through Nov. 21). At least one of your U.S. Senators sits on the powerful Appropriations Committee. They need to hear from you now about your support for robust federal arts funding and how it supports your community and state.

Last week, the U.S. Senate passed their version of the Interior Appropriations bill by an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 84 – 9, that included $2 million in increased funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)! You may recall that the U.S. House bill, approved earlier this summer, provided a $12.5 million increase in funding to those agencies.

These positive results are the outcomes of grassroots advocacy—from Hill visits during the National Arts Action Summit, to the emails (like this one) advocates have been sending to their congressional delegation throughout the year.

As negotiations are ongoing to finish up FY 2020 funding, it is vital to call on U.S. Senate appropriators to include these remaining pro-arts funding levels in the final legislation.

This includes:

Bipartisan Senate passage of FY 2020 spending package that included the Interior Appropriations bill.
  • Education bill—includes arts education grant funds and a provision calling for maintaining a federal “report card” in arts education
  • Defense Department bill—includes language supporting creative arts therapies for service members
  • Veterans Department bill—includes language supporting creative arts therapies and $5 million for veterans
  • Justice Department bill—includes a provision supporting inclusion of arts-specific intervention strategies for juvenile justice programs

Please take two minutes to send your message to your U.S. Senators. Thank you for taking action to support these end-of-year funding priorities.


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Federal Funding For Cultural Arts Agencies Update

Dear Arts Advocate,

On June 25, the U.S. House strongly rejected President Trump’s budget request to eliminate both the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) by approving $167.5 million in funding for fiscal year (FY) 2020! This is an increase for both agencies of $12.5 million over the FY 2019 funding level of $155 million.

The bill now heads to the U.S. Senate for possible consideration (the Senate may also take up their own version of this appropriations bill).

Why Is This Important?

This is the third year in a row that the Trump administration has proposed a termination of both the NEA and the NEH in his budget proposal to the U.S. Congress. The past two years, Congress has rejected this request and moderately increased funding for the cultural agencies. This year, the House is sending an even stronger message of the importance of arts funding by increasing the appropriation by $12.5 million.

The funding increase matches the 2019 Arts Advocacy Day ask, which would help broaden access to the cultural, educational, and economic benefits of the arts and to advance creativity and innovation in communities across the United States. This also follows public witness testimony Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert Lynch gave before the Interior Subcommittee in February, asking for the cultural agencies to be funded at $167.5 million, as well as a Dear Colleague letter circulated by Reps. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and Elise Stefanik (R-NY)–asking for the same amount of funding for the NEA and NEH–signed by a record-number (184) of members of Congress.

We are hopeful that the Senate will follow the House’s lead in expanding funding for the NEA and NEH. We’ll be keeping close watch over every step of the appropriations process in case any threatening actions surface. Stay tuned for more updates after the July 4th recess!


Want to do more? Help us continue this important work by becoming an official member of the Arts Action Fund.  Play your part by joining the Arts Action Fund today– it’s free and easy to join!

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President’s FY20 Budget Calls for Termination of Cultural Agencies Again

Americans for the Arts
                  - Arts Action Fund
              

March 18, 2019

Dear Arts Advocate,

For a third-straight year, the Trump administration has proposed to eliminate 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 of Public Broadcasting (CPB).  As misdirected as this proposal is, we are confident that Congress—as it has done in the past two fiscal years—will again reject this short-sighted budget request in a bipartisan, bicameral manner, and increase funding for the Endowments.

Will you contact your member of Congress today to urge them to reject the president’s proposal?

In the past two years, Congress not only dismissed these initial calls for termination, but in fact gave steady increases in funding to several cultural agencies.  Check out a brief history of budgetary proposals and final funding for these agencies for the past three years below:

Key Federally Funded Arts Agency President Trump’s
FY 2018 Budget Proposal
Final FY 2018 Funding President Trump’s
FY 2019 Budget Proposal
Final FY 2019 Funding  President Trump’s
FY 2020 Budget Proposal
National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Termination $152.80 million Termination $155 million Termination
National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Termination $152.80 million Termination $155 million Termination
Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Termination $240 million Termination $242 million Termination
Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) Termination $445 million Termination $445 million Termination

Be sure to check out Americans for the Arts and Arts Action Fund President and CEO Robert L. Lynch’s full statement regarding the president’s budget proposal. We also hope that you’ll consider contributing to our 2019 campaign to save these cultural agencies from termination.


Thank you,

Nina Ozlu Tunceli
Executive Director

Take action
                          now!

Congress Responded to Your Advocacy to Save Cultural Arts Agencies!

Americans for the Arts
                  - Arts Action Fund
              
Dear Arts Advocate,

The Democratically-controlled House and Republican-controlled Senate have finally resolved with the President the details for the Omnibus Appropriations bill for FY’19 (4.5 months late) to avoid another partial government shutdown tomorrow. It’s expected that the President will sign the bill passed by both chambers into law by midnight tonight. As anticipated, both the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) each received a $2 increase to bring their annual budget up to $155 million. Several other federal cultural agencies and programs (see chart below) received healthy increases as well.

Congress responded to your advocacy calls, emails, and visits to save these vital cultural agencies and took it a step further by actually increasing their annual budgets by $2 million each, despite President Trump’s attempt to terminate them.  The NEA and NEH administer thousands of arts and humanities grants to state and local nonprofit cultural organizations, universities, and governmental agencies in all 50 states and U.S. Territories and 435 congressional districts across the nation.

These FY’19 appropriations levels will be in place through the federal government’s fiscal year ending September 30, 2019. On March 5th, arts advocates kick-off Arts Advocacy Day for a much larger increase for the cultural agencies FY’20 budget, beginning October 1, 2019.

Please support our ArtsVote2020 grassroots and political efforts to build an even stronger pro-arts Congress.

Nina Ozlu Tunceli
Executive Director

Take action now!

Support the Arts This Holiday Season

Americans for the Arts
                  - Arts Action Fund
              
Dear Arts Advocate,

Let’s Celebrate This Holiday Season.

We #SavedtheNEA. Thanks to members, like you, who supported our

       

View real-time results
of the campaign by clicking
on the thermometer.

advocacy campaign, signed petitions, sent emails to and met with Members of Congress, and supported pro-arts candidates through the Arts Action Fund PAC, we were able to save (and even increase) public funding for nonprofit arts organizations across America. Let’s now begin 2019 strong.

Would you contribute to our Year-End Campaign with a financial gift?Help us reach our goal of $30,000 by December 31st.

Continue to Be an Arts Champion!

You are essential to the grassroots movement to advance public funding for the arts and arts education. Your contributions allow us to:

  • Financially support those candidates who demonstrate support and leadership for the arts.
  • Produce our biennial Congressional Arts Report Card.
  • Generate ArtsVote campaigns to build political clout and voter engagement at the local, state, and federal levels.
  • Rally national support against attacks to the arts.
  • Keep our network of 400,000 Arts Action Fund members informed and ready to take action through timely alerts.

Keep the momentum going. Make Your Year-End Gift Today to the Arts Action Fund PAC.

Have a safe, joyous and peaceful Holiday Season.

Nina Ozlu Tunceli
Executive Director

P.S. Please know that 100 percent of your PAC contributions support pro-arts candidates across the country.

Take action
                          now!

Federal Arts Funding Update October 2018

Americans for the Arts - Arts Action Fund
              
Dear Arts Advocate,

Congress was able to pass a large funding bill on September 28th to avoid a federal government shutdown, which included final FY’19 funding for the military and several education-based agencies. The bill also included temporary funding in the form of a Continuing Resolution (C/R) for the balance of the federal government’s agencies and programs, including the National Endowment for the Arts. The C/R will provide flat funding at FY’18 levels temporarily until December 7, 2018, so that Congress has enough time to pass these remaining bills at hopefully the higher proposed FY’19 levels.

Please note that even if there are major shifts in party control following the midterm elections, newly elected members will not be sworn into office until January 2019. However, we would still anticipate disruption in the legislative timeline and process. Please support our ArtsVote2018 grassroots and political efforts to build a strong pro-arts Congress.

Nina Ozlu Tunceli
Executive Director

P.S. Also last week, Americans for the Arts released Americans Speak Out About the Arts in 2018, one of the largest national public opinion surveys of American perceptions and attitudes towards the arts and arts funding. The new research demonstrates that Americans continue to be highly engaged in the arts and believe more strongly than ever that the arts promote personal well-being, help us understand other cultures, are essential to a well-rounded education, and that government has an important role in funding the arts.

Take action now!