December 22, 2022

In the final days of 2022, Congress has come to an agreement on a year-end funding deal that includes victories for two League policy priorities – federal appropriations and enhanced charitable giving incentives. Your partnership helped secure bipartisan support and ensure inclusion of arts priorities in this year-end package!

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities will both receive $27 million increases for an FY23 budget of $207 million each. Orchestras spoke up throughout the year to show how the unique federal investments in the arts support creativity at the community level, and League testimony to Congress (PDF) provided examples of grants that support the work of orchestras. At the U.S. Department of Education, Title-IV funding, which can and has been used to support arts education, will receive $1.38 billion, an increase of $100 million over its current allocation, while the Arts in Education program fund will receive a continued funding level of $36.5 million.

The spending bill will soon be signed into law and also includes passage of the Legacy IRA Act, which will allow seniors to make tax-free contributions from individual retirement accounts (IRAs) to charities through life-income plans. It would also increase the existing IRA rollover giving cap, currently $100,000, to permanently reflect inflation beginning in 2023.

The League has advocated alongside nearly 60 national nonprofit partners, led by the American Heart Association, to expand the IRA rollover, and we thank the many orchestras that have responded to targeted requests for information and joined us in meetings with key Congressional offices. Charitable gifts from IRA accounts have been a substantial form of support for orchestras and the wider nonprofit sector. As our partners at the American Heart Association said, “These organizations, and so many others, provide critical services in communities across the country, such as health research and patient education, food assistance, domestic violence support, childcare, youth homeless shelters, cultural and arts programming and more. The Legacy IRA Act would make it easier for philanthropic-minded individuals to make tax-free contributions to vital causes from their IRAs.”

Many tax provisions that were under discussion, including the universal charitable deduction, did not make it into the bill, but the League will continue to join nonprofit advocates in urging reintroduction of this measure to democratize giving in the new session of Congress. And, of course we’ll keep you posted with more details about next steps in implementing the funding increases and charitable giving incentives.

P.S. Prospective applicants for the next round of NEA grants should take note that deadlines for FY24 grants are now posted, and the League has updated its grant tips for orchestras!


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