Summer Policy Updates: Ivory, IRA, & NEA

July 1, 2014

New Action on Ivory in Instruments

A great many existing musical instruments that contain small amounts of endangered species material - while legally manufactured and purchased - are now subject to new requirements for international travel, and may be impacted by upcoming proposals to curtail their future sale and re-sale. As the Obama Administration considers next steps in regulating African elephant ivory and other protected species material, the League is providing resources to help musicians and orchestras understand the new travel requirements, and is in ongoing policy conversations with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Congress to seek policy solutions that address wildlife conservation goals while also protecting musical activity.

Use our very latest Tips for International Travel with Instruments, including a link to the new U.S.-issued musical instrument “passport” application.

View the League’s June 9 Comments to the Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking.

Prepare for important opportunities to speak up. The next wave of policies will be developed through the regulatory process. Federal rule-makers will invite public comments on drafts of new policies later this summer, and we will let you know as soon as the comment period is opened.

The League’s work on this very important topic is carried out in close partnership with other national arts organizations, including the American Federation of Musicians, the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians, The Recording Academy, Chamber Music America, the American Federation of Violin and Bow makers, the National Association of Music Merchants, and the Performing Arts Alliance.

IRA Rollover Up for Reinstatement

As early as next week, the House may consider permanent reinstatement of the IRA Charitable Rollover and other important charitable giving incentives. The League has joined Independent Sector and hundreds of other organizations in signing a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives, urging lawmakers to vote for permanent reinstatement of these key provisions that spur donors to give more. The IRA Charitable Rollover, which expired at the end of 2013, permits donors age 70 ½ and older to make tax-free charitable gifts directly from their IRAs, up to an annual ceiling of $100,000. Under this provision, donors have given new and increased contributions to support the work of orchestras and other nonprofit organizations.

Find further background on the IRA Charitable Rollover provision in the League’s online campaign materials.

Jane Chu is New Chairman; Grant Deadline Quickly Approaching

Dr. Jane Chu was confirmed by the Senate last month as the 11th chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). She served since 2006 as President and CEO of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts—the performance home of the Kansas City Ballet, Kansas City Symphony, and Lyric Opera of Kansas City. Dr. Chu made her first public appearance as NEA Chairman at the June 27th convening of the National Council on the Arts in Washington, D.C., and describes in an NEA podcast how the study of music, visual art, philanthropy, and business strategy has shaped her approach to her new role.

Grants awarded to orchestras by the NEA provide critical funding for programs that increase public access to music in communities nationwide, preserve great classical works, support arts education for children and adults, and nurture the creative endeavors of contemporary classical musicians, composers, and conductors. Orchestras interested in applying for the 2nd round of Art Works grant funding should take note of the earlier deadline this year of July 24, 2014. Grant tips for your application are available on the League’s website.