Stimulus, NEA FY10 Grant Tips, and Postal Increase (02/27/09)

Economic Stimulus Bill Update

Washington, D.C. - Last week, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 bill into law.  Your advocacy efforts helped ensure that the arts were included in this economic stimulus bill!  Orchestras responded in record numbers and sent more than 2,000 letters to members of Congress to urge their support of the arts.

The bill includes $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).  Forty percent of these NEA funds will be disseminated in formula grants through state arts agencies; sixty percent will be distributed through competitive grants.  In addition, the Coburn amendment to prohibit funds from going to museums, theaters, and arts centers was dropped from the final version of the bill.

The economic stimulus bill is extremely complex and it will take some time to identify all of the funding streams that could be available to arts organizations. Below is a list of potential areas of support:

  • Community Development Block Grants
  • Rural Development funding through the U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Transportation Enhancement program
  • Corporation for National and Community Service
  • Title 1 Education funding
  • Funding for school modernization
  • State Fiscal Stabilization which will include education, and because the arts are included as core subjects in NCLB, arts education should be eligible
  • Unemployment Insurance Modernization Program for part-time workers
  • Job Training & Employment Services
  • Economic Development Administration
  • National Park Service
  • Extension of COBRA and Medicaid benefits

Most agencies and departments that have been allocated stimulus funds now have 60-90 days to develop plans for disseminating those funds, and much of the funding will be determined locally.  To best position your orchestra's community to benefit from the economic stimulus bill, it is important to renew or establish relationships with mayors and local and state elected officials.  Be sure to remind them about the contributions your orchestra makes to your community and describe its economic impact.

League President Jesse Rosen has been invited, along with the other chief executive officers of the Performing Arts Alliance, to meet with NEA acting chair Patrice Walker Powell next month to learn how the additional $50 million will be dispersed.  As the League and the Performing Arts Alliance learn more details about federal funding opportunities in the economic stimulus bill, we will keep you informed. Please stay tuned!

See How NEA Grants to Orchestras Benefit Communities

FY10 NEA Grant Guidelines Now Available

The FY10 NEA Grants for Arts Projects guidelines are now available on the NEA website.  Grants for Arts Projects includes the Access to Artistic Excellence, Challenge America: Reaching Every Community Fast-Track Review Grants, and Learning in the Arts for Children and Youth categories.

To be fully prepared for the application process, read the guidelines very carefully, check out the NEA’s list of Frequently Asked Questions, and be in touch with an NEA music specialist well before the application deadline.  To assist orchestras with the application process, the League has outlined helpful tips for preparing your application, including an overview of guideline changes and suggestions on where to find more complete information.

Application Deadlines

  • March 19, 2009 and August 13, 2009: Access to Artistic Excellence. The types of projects eligible under the March and August application deadlines vary.  Read the guidelines carefully.
  • May 28, 2009: Challenge America: Reaching Every Community Fast-Track Review Grants
  • June 11, 2009: Learning in the Arts for Children and Youth

Read the League’s Updated Grant Tips

Postal Rate Increase Coming in May
The United States Postal Service (USPS) Board of Governors recently released new postage increases that will take effect May 11, 2009.  Each class of mail will see price increases an average of 3.8 percent and Nonprofit rates will see fluctuations along with First Class and Standard Mail rates.  Prices for mailing services continue to adjust each May, and the average increase by class of mail will be at or below the rate of inflation.

View the Postal Rate Chart

Arts Advocacy Day 2009
March 31 is national Arts Advocacy Day!  The League is a cosponsor of this event, which unifies arts advocates who gather in Washington, D.C. and sets the stage for advocacy throughout the year.  You can participate from home by writing to your member of Congress in support of the arts.  On the League's Advocacy and Government web pages, learn about a range of issues that impact orchestras, from Arts Education funding to Cultural Exchange programs and tax policy.  Click on any of the topics to find our latest issue briefs and key developments.

Remember, some of the most effective advocacy happens right at home, so be sure to note when your members of Congress are on recess and invite them to a performance or arts event.

Contact Congress on March 31


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. This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or Najean Lee, Government Affairs & Education Advocacy Manager, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, 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.