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Advocacy Day of Action – Friday, August 14 – COVID-19 Relief | OPERA America

Stage Directions • Theatre Buzz • August 14, 2020

Advocacy Day of Action: Today, August 14 | Join Fellow Arts Advocates in Speaking Up!

While negotiations among U.S. House and Senate leadership and the White House have stalled, key policy leaders are still debating the contents of the next package of relief for our nation’s businesses, nonprofit organizations, states, local communities, schools, families, and individuals to address ongoing and long-term challenges related to the current pandemic.

Today, we’re encouraging the everyone to submit letters to members of Congress, urging them to take immediate action to provide relief to the arts community. It only takes a few minutes to fill out the pre-populated letter.

You can tailor the existing letter to lean in with your personal voice and tell your story of how the pandemic has impacted your livelihood.

Click Here to Fill Out Your Letter to Congress

This is a coordinated effort with the League of American Orchestras, Theatre Communications Group, and Dance/USA. Together, we can flood our representatives with requests to restart negotiations and get an agreement made as soon as possible for the benefit of the entire arts sector.

WHY?

  • Because of the pandemic and in the interest of public health and in compliance with local health advisories, businesses and nonprofit organizations within the arts sector had to cancel various performances, educational programs, and other public events/activities.
  • The creative economy is an important and unique contributor to the overall economy, as well as to state and local economies. It provides millions of jobs and tax revenue and contributes to the overall quality of life for individuals and families in the U.S. and abroad.
  • The unexpected loss of event-dependent revenue and declines in charitable contributions are negatively impacting the ability of various businesses and nonprofit organizations in the arts sector to provide important public programs and initiatives.
  • Program initiatives established in the last relief package, the CARES Act, helped various businesses and nonprofit organizations in the arts sector to keep their artists and important employees in their payrolls.
  • Unless Congress provides additional relief, many businesses and nonprofit organizations in the arts sector will be forced to make more drastic decisions, including letting go their employees or closing their operations entirely.

UPDATED TALKING POINTS
(Please consider the following statements when personalizing your letter.)

  • Expand the duration of pandemic unemployment benefits and improve guidelines for implementation for independent arts workers with a mix of W-2 and 1099 income.
  • Expand resources under the Paycheck Protection Program, raise the $10 million cap on loan amounts, eliminate the 500-employee cap for nonprofit organizations, and provide dedicated funding available to nonprofit organizations. Extend the duration of Paycheck Protection Program, and expand eligibility for the program. Clear guidance on loan forgiveness is urgently needed.
  • Provide loan forgiveness for nonprofits through the Main Street Lending Program and the Economic Stabilization Fund, and ensure eligibility for nonprofit employers with more than 500 employees that have been left out of current relief provisions.
  • Fully fund the Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and eliminate the $1,000 per employee cap imposed by SBA so businesses with one or very few employees can access funds.
  • Provide additional forgivable emergency assistance loans, tax credits, and other forms of support to nonprofit organizations of all sizes and to self-employed workers, sole proprietors, and small LLCs to offset fixed overhead costs such as rent, utilities, insurance, and debt service.
  • Approve substantial funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Institute of Museum and Library Services as they administer dedicated COVID-19 relief that uniquely addresses the operational needs of cultural organizations. Expand waivers for public/private matching requirements to apply to all active FY2019 and FY2020 NEA grant awards, and allow current grantees to reallocate funding for general operating support that helps to address COVID-19 economic losses.
  • Include the arts sector in infrastructure investments needed to renovate, refurbish, and adapt to post-COVID-19 public health and workplace safety protocols.

 

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