Orchestras Speak Up on Tax Incentives for Charitable Giving - (October 20, 2011)

The League is highly engaged in advocacy in Washington, D.C. as the nonprofit community responds to proposals to change the deductibility of charitable giving. As we’ve reported to you, Congress has been debating a proposal by President Obama to cap the deductibility of gifts at 28%. While leaders on the Hill indicate that the President’s proposal is off the table for the time being, a wide range of possible changes to the deductibility of giving are still being considered as Congress debates budget priorities and broader tax reform. It is essential that orchestras continue to speak up in defense of tax incentives for charitable giving, and in support of the considerable public value orchestras offer to communities as tax exempt organizations.

Just this week, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing addressing a broad array of tax reform proposals. In advance of the hearing, four representatives of orchestras traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet in key offices on the Hill to share personal stories of the value of charitable giving in support of orchestral activity. Our thanks to the following for their extraordinary advocacy: Richard Dare, CEO & Managing Director of the Brooklyn Philharmonic; David Gross, President of the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra; Bob Wagner, Principal Bassoonist for the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra; and, Cathy Weiskel, Executive Director of the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras. During this week’s hearing, Ranking Senator Orin Hatch (R-UT) voiced his support for the unique public value of the nonprofit arts and urged his colleagues to resist changes to the tax deductibility of gifts.

Thank you all for doing your part. Orchestras have sent more than one thousand letters to the Hill in support of preserving tax incentives for charitable giving. Please continue to make your voice heard by meeting with your members of Congress when they are in their home state and districts, using our e-advocacy center to send customizable messages, and responding when League staff in D.C. contact you for your help.

In addition to contacting policymakers directly, it is critically important that orchestras participate in the combined efforts of the broader nonprofit community. Please take two minutes to sign onto a letter in support of protecting nonprofits from potential declines in charitable giving, hosted by the National Council of Nonprofits. Add your voice to those of other nonprofits in your state urging Congress to use caution in considering any modification to incentives for charitable giving.

Please direct any related questions to Heather Noonan, Vice President for Advocacy, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Najean Lee, Senior Manager, Government Affairs & Education Advocacy, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The League is a member of the Performing Arts Alliance, a coalition of national performing arts service organizations dedicated to advocating for national policies that recognize, enhance, and foster the contributions the performing arts make to America