Friday, May 15, 2020

Last week, a letter signed by 140 chambers of commerce from 39 states across the country was delivered to Congressional leadership in support of federal relief for the nonprofit arts and cultural community. 

“Collectively, the nation’s performing arts centers, museums, zoos, and aquariums are losing millions of dollars a day due to closures and are in desperate need of significant federal support to continue to employ many thousands of people, rebuild our nation’s tourism industry, and simply survive the months to come,” the letter states. Additionally, it states, “These institutions are important to every community, exposing residents to creativity and education and enhancing their quality of life.”

This letter was generated by a small group of chambers and shared widely by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) to add signers. Americans for the Arts has been working with ACCE to distribute this letter but was not involved in crafting the letter.

Specifically, the letter calls on Congress to:

  • Increase the allocation to at least $6 billion for the Institute of Museums and Library Services to provide direct economic relief.
  • Increase and extend the Paycheck Protection Program and loan forgiveness provisions in the CARES Act through December 2020 and make nonprofits with greater than 500 employees eligible for loan forgiveness.
  • Expand the universal charitable deduction provision by removing the $300 cap and by eliminating the 60% limit on Adjusted Gross Income that may be deducted through charitable gifts of cash.
  • Support the proposals of Americans for the Arts that will both stabilize the assets of cultural organizations while they wait to reopen and help them when restarting is possible.

If your chamber is listed in the final letter, please take a moment to reach out and thank them. Business and arts partners can work closely together to weather this crisis, and this show of support is an incredible example.