League of American Orchestras
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Sponsored by Henry Fogel Arts Organization Consulting
A Glance at Innovations in the Field
Want to know more about emerging practices and innovations in the orchestra world? Take a look at the website for MUSIC CentriCITY, the League's National Conference, June 3-5, 2019, in Nashville. While the descriptions of the sessions alone will give you an idea of what's bubbling in the industry, we hope you'll go beyond reading them and join us for the event itself. There are special meetings just for board members of orchestras, plenary sessions, and electives organized around five tracks:
Your Orchestra Needs Your Voice
As a board member, one of the best ways you can support your orchestra is to be an advocate for the organization with everyone—from prospective donors to legislators to new audience members. In the latest issue of the League’s Symphony magazine, author Susan Howlett provides proven practices that you and your executive director can use to help fellow board members represent your orchestra in the community. It’s an excerpt from the new edition of Howlett’s influential book, Boards on Fire! Inspiring Leaders to Raise Money Joyfully.
Why EDI Matters in the Orchestra World
At its January 2019 meeting, the League of American Orchestras’ board of directors adopted a strategic framework for the League’s work in advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in the field. If you’ve been wondering about the phrase “equity, diversity, and inclusion” and why this work is important to the League (and why the League thinks it’s important for all orchestras), you’ll want to take a look at “Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: An Evolving Strategic Framework.” The document provides a definition of terms, as well as an outline of the League’s vision, values, goals, and strategies related to EDI. While the framework was designed for use by the League, we’ve been asked by some leaders if they can adapt it for their own boards and orchestras, and of course we said, “Yes!”
Maps Show Your Orchestra’s Reach 
Customized maps, available free as a benefit of membership, provide a powerful picture of the work your orchestra does in the community. The breadth of your orchestra’s engagement is displayed visually in a set of maps and accompanying lists that show the number, variety, and geographic spread of the schools, community organizations, and business partners with which you interact. Click here to view sample maps and to order yours.
Supporting Charitable Giving as New Tax Laws Hit Home
The decisions individuals make about charitable giving are being watched closely as taxpayers file their first returns under the new law passed in December 2017. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is expected to substantially reduce the number of taxpayers who itemize their returns, while also raising the limits on what those who continue to itemize can deduct.  
Orchestras and their partners in the wider nonprofit sector are advocating for Congress to restore and grow the full scope and value of tax incentives for charitable giving. On February 14, 2019, Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL), a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, introduced a bill that would create a universal charitable deduction available to all taxpayers, whether or not they itemize their returns. The League’s Washington, D.C. office is a leading partner on this and other urgent nonprofit tax policy issues that affect orchestras’ capacity to serve their communities. Learn more in our tax policy issue center.
Photo: Rep. Danny Davis speaks with Joshua Grandy, a musician from Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids program, at a 2017 charitable giving briefing in Washington, D.C.