Monica's blog

The Charitable Deduction: How Tax Reforms Could Affect Foundations

The Council on Foundations had published an informative update on how potential federal tax reforms affecting the charitable deduction (which allows individuals to write off contributions to nonprofits on their taxes) could negatively impact giving to private foundations. To mitigate consequences of changes to the charitable deduction, the Council encourages funders to advocate for “a universal charitable deduction as a part of tax reform.” The update from Council offers detailed information on how private foundations can engage in advocacy and lobbying on this issue.

In Rural Fergus Falls, MN, McKnight Foundation Supports Arts Vitality

A recent article from The McKnight Foundation highlights the thriving arts community in rural Fergus Falls, Minnesota:

In what has become a national model, artists in Fergus Falls worked within their communities to create a meaningful, vibrant, and equitable place. According to the 2017 Creative Minnesota report, the economic impact of the arts and culture activity in Fergus Falls alone is nearly $3 million every year.
Report Funded by California Arts Council Highlights California’s Booming Creative Economy

The most recent installment of the Otis Report on the Creative Economy of California, supported by the California Arts Council, takes a deep dive into California’s creative industries; more specifically, into their impact on the state’s economy. This year, California Arts Council funded an addendum to the report on the need for affordable housing and workspaces for artists, offering solutions for the future.

CEO of Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies to Retire

Christy Morse, CEO of Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies (MACP) and board chair of the organization’s grantmaking entities, announced that after more than 20 years of leading the organization, she is stepping down from her role as CEO.

Current MACP president, Paul Busch, will assume the CEO role on July 1, 2017, while Christy will remain as CEO Emeritus through January 31, 2018, when she will formally retire as CEO. Christy will continue serving as board chair of Margaret A. Cargill Foundation and Anne Ray Foundation, leading the efforts of each board in developing organization strategies, evaluating funding priorities, and assessing program effectiveness.

Hewlett-Funded Program Helps Outgoing Executive Directors Plan Smooth Transition

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has approved funding for a second cohort of a new program that supports long-time executive directors who are planning a transition. The program, called What’s Next: Leading a Thriving Transition, is administered by Third Sector New England. Leadership transitions — especially those of long-time leaders — can raise specific challenges and opportunities for executives, boards, and the organizations they lead.

Animating Democracy Releases Framework for Evaluating Arts for Social Change

Animating Democracy, a program of Americans for the Arts, has released a new framework for evaluating creative work at the intersection of arts and civic engagement, community development, and justice. Aesthetic Perspectives: Attributes of Excellence in Arts for Change presents eleven artistic attributes that “address the potency of creative expression to embody and motivate change.” The framework aims to elevate aesthetics in civically and socially engaged art, help describe and assess the work, expand criteria for considering aesthetics in the work, address historical domination of Euro-American aesthetic standards, and promote deeper appreciation of the rigor required for effective creative work.

Robert Booker Announces Retirement from Arizona Commission on the Arts

After more than a decade as the executive director of the Arizona Commission on the Arts and a 40-year career in the arts field, Robert C. Booker will retire from his current position on August 7, 2017. He will be succeeded by Jaime Dempsey, who has served as the agency's Deputy Director since 2006. Booker served as chair of the Grantmakers in the Arts board of directors from 2015–2016.

President Trump’s Newly-Released 2018 Budget Calls To Eliminate the NEA

President Trump has released the full version of his 2018 budget plan. From artnet News:

Donald Trump’s much-anticipated 2018 budget proposes steep cuts to domestic programs—including the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

According to a CNN report, which cites an outline of the budget released last night, the proposal “doubles down on some largely symbolic cuts” first rolled out by the administration earlier this year, including the elimination of the NEA. As usual, however, Congress remains intent on writing its own budget, so Trump’s plan is unlikely to go far on Capitol Hill. Trump’s proposal, CNN notes, is more a statement of policy than a practical budget that is expected to be adopted in full.

NEH Chairman William D. Adams Announces Resignation

William D. Adams, the tenth chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, announced today his resignation from the agency, effective Tuesday, May 23, 2017. In a brief statement to staff, Adams expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to serve as the chairman of NEH and his admiration for the work of the agency. Deputy Chair Margaret Plympton will serve as acting chair.

Video: Steven Tepper on the Power of Arts in a Changing World

Steven J. Tepper, dean of the Herberger Institute for Design in the Arts at Arizona State University, recently presented the keynote address at ArtsFund's 29th Annual Celebration of the Arts Luncheon. His speech titled “Creativity, Education, and Work in the 21st Century” makes the case for the vital necessity of creativity in today’s society as we face unprecedented rates of growth and change. Tepper was also a keynote presenter at the 2014 GIA Conference in Houston, Texas.