June 18, 2018
Bay State Nonprofit Leaders Ask Feds to Preserve Funding

February 27, 2017 — Massachusetts nonprofits, increasingly concerned about possible federal budget cuts, are sounding the alarm in an effort to mobilize supporters, including legislators, members, clients, and donors, to minimize potential reductions.

On Friday, the directors of five major Boston-area museums, in an open letter to patrons, members, and friends, expressed "alarmed at reports that the National Endowment for the Arts is under threat of being abolished, along with the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting."

They noted that funding from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) "has been instrumental at each of our museums, supporting our extensive programs of public access, teaching and scholarship, conservation, collection, and exhibition."

Signing the letter were Martha Tedeschi of the Harvard Art Museums in Cambridge, Jill Medvedow from the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, Peggy Fogelman from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Paul Ha from the MIT List Visual Arts Center in Cambridge, and Matthew Teitelbaum of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

"Federal support has been a critical piece of the puzzle for museums in our shared mission to foster knowledge, create cultural exchange, generate jobs and tourism, educate our youth, ignite the imagination of our audiences and nurture the creativity of working artists," the directors wrote.

In addition, Harvard University President Drew Faust is planning to meet with members of Congress this week to press for continued funding for scientific research, according to a report in The Boston Globe.

The Trump administration today announced its plan to boost defense spending, making up for it from budget cuts elsewhere other than entitlement spending. While Harvard receives funding from the Department of Defense, it also gets other federal funds, including from the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, and Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency, Housing and Urban Development, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation, among others.

The previous week, the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MNN), the state's nonprofit trade association, led a number of nonprofits from the state to lobby legislators in Washington, D.C., "to preserve and expand charitable giving."

Joining MNN were The American Red Cross in Cambridge, Boston University in Boston, United Way of Central Massachusetts in Worcester, and Williams College Museum of Art in Williamstown.

In a letter to U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, who represents the 1st District of Massachusetts, which spans Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire, and Worcester counties, Jim Klocke, CEO of MNN, urged Neal to help preserve the federal charitable deduction "as a viable tool for encouraging individuals to give back to their communities."

Noting that this year marks the 100th anniversary of the enactment of the charitable deduction, Klocke wrote, " Maintaining the value of the charitable deduction is essential to the ongoing work of charitable nonprofits. It is imperative that Congress does not make changes to the charitable deduction that could endanger the ability of nonprofit organizations to serve those most in need and to continue to strengthen local communities across America."

According to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MBPC), an independent nonprofit organization in Boston that provides non-partisan research and analysis of state budget, tax policies, and economic issues, one quarter of the state budget comes from federal funds.

MBPC President Noah Berger recently said potential large-scale federal budget cuts would impact Medicaid programs statewide, as well as housing and education programs.

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