Ringing in the New Year with key policy developments!

January 15, 2016

League urges US Dept of Ed to support arts in high-poverty schools

At a public meeting at U.S. Department of Education headquarters, the League of American Orchestras delivered comments on January 11 urging the Department to take steps to close gaps in access to music and arts education in high-poverty schools as it administers the Every Student Succeeds Act. Alongside representatives from a wide array of national education organizations, including the Council of Chief State School Officers, Dignity in Schools Campaign, National Governors Association, and the National Education Association, the League spoke to top administrators and a public audience nationwide as the Department takes its first steps toward framing guidance for state and local education policy makers under the new law. The League's statement emphasizes that community-based organizations like orchestras are partnering with parents, educators, and school systems to seek improved opportunities for all students to receive the full benefits of an arts education, and urges the Department to issue guidance that will identify and address serious gaps in access to arts education in our nation's highest poverty schools. The Department is accepting public comments through January 21, 2016 regarding implementation of Title I, the portion of the education law "designed to help disadvantage children meet high academic standards." The League will keep you posted and engaged on further opportunities to support music and arts education as new education policies are made in your community and state, and at the federal level.

New tips for flying with instruments

Check out the newest guidance available to help musicians travel with their instruments by air!  The League worked in collaboration with the American Federation of Musicians, The Recording Academy, Chamber Music America, and a broad array of other national music organizations to produce a comprehensive handbook that describes how to prepare for travel and navigate airline policies under the new law that requires airlines to accommodate travel with musical instruments.  The handbook reflects key insights gathered from our conversations with the airline industry and the U.S. Department of Transportation.  In addition to downloading this resource, keep checking the League's online tips for traveling trouble-free for ongoing updates and links to portals for filing complaints if musicians encounter difficulties while flying.

IRA Charitable Rollover is back 4Good - spread the word!

Now that the IRA Charitable Rollover has been reinstated permanently, orchestras should notify their supporters that this provision is available for 2016 and beyond! The IRA Charitable Rollover has proven to spur new and increased giving to orchestras, as noted in the following testimonials: 

"One donor increased his annual gift by 10 times the usual amount, due to the IRA Rollover Provision." 

"I have personally seen the Rollover encourage larger gifts on the part of many generous individuals." 

"We depend on charitable gifts for approximately two-thirds of our annual revenue ...The IRA Rollover has been instrumental in contributing to this needed support every year since it began, and this year resulted in the largest single gift ever to our orchestra."

When informing your orchestra supporters about this giving incentive, remind them to contact their IRA administrator or tax advisor for more detail.

NEA and Arts Education see funding increases for FY16

Before adjourning for the winter holiday, Congress approved a $2 million funding increase for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and a $2 million increase for the Arts in Education Program at the U.S. Department of Education. For the NEA, this represents the agency's first increase since cuts to its budget in FY12. For the Arts in Education Program, the increase will provide new resources for competitive grants, such as model initiatives and partnerships that significantly impact students and educators. We will keep you informed as further grant opportunities become available.
 
Orchestras interested in applying for the next round of NEA grant funding should review the League's Tips for Preparing Your FY17 NEA Grant Application, which highlights important changes to grant guidelines, shares advice from panelists and NEA staff, and notes the dates for FY17 application deadlines and helpful webinars.