December 17, 2021

In This Issue

Speak Up to Reinstate the Employee Retention Tax Credit!

While access to the Employee Retention Tax Credit for the 4th quarter of 2021 has been revoked, conversations about retroactively reinstating this important form of COVID-19 relief are still active in Congress. The League of American Orchestras has endorsed a bipartisan House bill, HR 6161, that would reinstate the ERTC. While opportunities for any further legislation to pass before the end of the year are slim, Congress will continue to consider this issue well into the new year. Please contact your members of Congress to explain that ongoing federal COVID-19 relief is needed, and specifically describe how the ERTC supports your orchestra’s workforce and mission.

IRS to Non-Itemizers: Donate Now!

This week the IRS appealed to the public to make the most of charitable giving incentives that expire at the end of 2021, and you can do the same! The Universal Charitable Deduction–an opportunity for taxpayers that do not itemize their returns to take a charitable deduction–was created under the 2020 CARES Act and was extended through 2021, allowing single filers to deduct up to $300 and joint filers to deduct up to $600 for cash contributions. As the year ends, remind donors of this opportunity to give more by sharing the IRS Tax Tip issued on September 28 and this week’s IRS Charitable Giving Overview. Please also speak up and use the League’s charitable giving advocacy campaign to call on Congress to permanently enact this incentive for donors to give more.

Shuttered Venue Operators Grants Enter New Phase of Implementation

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is continuing the final steps in grantmaking for the Shuttered Venue Operator Grants program, while also preparing new resources to help grantees manage their awards. Our latest Shuttered Venues Update spells out important actions orchestra grant recipients can take as initial and supplemental grant awards move into the monitoring, reporting, and closeout phases. The League remains in constant dialogue with the SBA throughout the full administration of the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program and posts updated information on our Shuttered Venue Operators Grants overview and on the Finance and Disaster Relief channels of League360.org.

National Endowment for the Arts Grant News and Updates

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) will announce in early 2022 the direct arts organization grantees of American Rescue Plan funding. This third installment of Rescue Plan funding, nearly $58 million, will follow previous awards to state, jurisdictional, and regional arts agencies for regranting (announced in April) and to local arts agencies for subgranting (announced in November). In all, the NEA was allocated $135 million in American Rescue Plan funds in order to support organizations and jobs in the arts sector impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In other news, Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson, nominated by President Biden to serve as the next chair of the Arts Endowment, passed the first stage of the confirmation process in early December when the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions unanimously agreed to favorably report her nomination out of Committee, along with the nomination of Shelly Lowe to chair to National Endowment for the Humanities. The next step in the confirmation process will be consideration by the full Senate.

Lastly, the NEA has posted new Grants for Arts Projects and Challenge America application deadlines and grant guidelines for fiscal year 2023. The League has updated our Grant Tips for orchestras and encourage all new and repeat applicants to review them to get acquainted with important changes and key information.

Our Year-End Thanks to You!

On behalf of our two-person team in Washington, D.C. Office, Najean Lee and Heather Noonan, we offer sincere thanks to the League member orchestras and supporters, advocacy partners throughout the country, and arts champions in the policy, business, and civic arenas that have advanced unprecedented support for the creative sector throughout the ongoing pandemic. Policy is fueled by collective action, and so many individuals made time amid unprecedented circumstances to raise their voice and tell their stories. We thank you and look forward to ongoing partnership in the new year to come.

Speaking of the new year, we’ve updated our Calendar of Opportunities for 2022, which flags dates when your federally elected officials are likely to be home. We have month-by-month suggestions for ways your orchestra can connect to commemorative events, federal holidays, and more. Direct engagement by you is the most effective advocacy, and we love nothing more than hearing how you are interacting with your elected officials at home!

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