Wednesday, February 16, 2011

NYCON CEO Doug Sauer Comments on Obama’s Proposed Budget Impact

WNYC featured an article on the proposed cuts from the Federal government and how they will impact nonprofits. NYCON's CEO Doug Sauer comments:

President Barack Obama's plans for cuts to domestic spending, as part of his $3.73 trillion budget for 2012, would directly impact local nonprofits that provide an array of social services. There would be less federal money to go around, and stiffer competition for a smaller pot of funds.

The proposed budget aims to slash $300 million, or 27 percent, from Community Block Grants, which fund affordable housing programs, infrastructure improvements and economic development projects.

“Nobody likes any cuts. The world we live in, it is clear, the federal government is going to spend less, state government is going to spend less and we have to find ways to live within that,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

Bloomberg said the White House called him several days ago to give him advance notice about the president's budget. A mayoral spokesman said officials are also looking at the effect the president's budget would have on mass transit and education.

Bloomberg presents his budget proposal on Thursday.

The National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities were hit with more than 10 percent in cuts, leaving both with $146 million each.

"If you looked at the arts situation, added to what’s going on in New York state and what the governor proposed, government involvement in the arts and funding the arts has just been dramatically reduced, and this just kind of adds to that," said Doug Sauer of the New York Council of Nonprofits. He said the Obama budget would also make it more expensive for nonprofits to hire workers.

Arts administrators said nonprofits tend to be more reliant on their National Endowment grants as a way of building credibility with foundations and donors. Loss of those federal grants will make it tougher to get other money.

Sauer said the president's budget also cracks down on how businesses, including nonprofits, use independent contractors to fill out their workforce. “There’s an increase in the unemployment tax that you’ll have to pay, which is part of the extension of unemployment benefits," Sauer said. "And that’s hurting nonprofits or small employers just as much as it’s hurting the small businesses."

He predicted that a tighter federal budget, along with austere state and city budgets, will force some nonprofits to go out of business or to merge.

Obama’s budget includes $451 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, but House Republicans want to cut funding to CPB entirely (Note: The Corporation for Public Broadcasting contributes more than $3 million to WNYC’s annual operating funds).

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

New Arts Advocacy Group Announced: ARTS NYS Coalition

Times Square Chronicles featured the following post on a new arts advocacy group:

New York City is the heartland of arts and entertainment including commercial and non-profit theatre. In fact, it is the cultural center throughout the country. However, the NY State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) is proposing the largest cuts of any State agency. It seems like a small part of the budget, .0003%, but in reality, with current economic times as they are, perhaps it represents a good portion. Without having a complete budget at hand and someone competent to explain it, I’m like most New Yorkers . . . trying to figure it all out. What is known, however, is that funding for the State Council on the Arts has been consistently reduced by nearly 30% over the past 4 years, representing the largest cut to any state agency. If we’re to continue our place as a major cultural arts center, we must have the funds necessary.

As a state, we have many attributes of which to be proud, but the arts are the soul of New York. Everyday, artists and arts groups throughout the state provide New Yorkers and the multitude of national and international visitors with pleasure, education, new ways of seeing the world, and enormous economic benefits.

Nonprofit cultural organizations in New York City are major contributors to the city’s economy. This sector is the second-largest component of the arts industry and is closely tied to the commercial sector. These organizations also share a labor pool of artists and other creative workers with the commercial sector and often develop artistic products that transfer to Broadway or is otherwise utilized commercially. A similarly complex interaction occurs between museums and commercial galleries and auction houses.

The nonprofit arts industry is labor-intensive. Half of the direct spending by all nonprofit cultural organizations goes to wages and benefits, and about 11 percent is for fees and services, including outside artistic fees. The majority of the employees are city residents, and many of the vendors and workers who supply goods and services to these institutions are located either within the city or in nearby suburban counties.

New York City is also a mecca for those who work in commercial theaters also apply their artistic talent and technical expertise in nonprofit theater and in the motion picture and television industry.

Who is ARTS NYS Coalition?They are a group of colleagues who joined together to ensure that the public has access to information on the state of the arts in New York State. Currently, the coalition includes the New York City Arts Coalition and the Arts Councils of Dutchess, Greene, Onondaga (Syracuse) and Westchester Counties, Huntington, Northern Adirondacks, Saint Lawrence and Southern Finger Lakes regions, Arts Alliances of Harlem and Buffalo, New York Folklore Society, NYS Alliance for Arts Education, and Museum Association of New York.

Thus far, the coalition has established this website,, which will be a resource for data on the arts in New York State as well as information on pending legislation at the state and federal level. This website, in partnership with Americans for the Arts, will provide contact level providing information for elected representatives and will allow individuals to send their representatives customized messages.

ARTS New York State Coalition will also plan and coordinate state-wide advocacy events for 2011 which will provide the arts community with opportunities to meet with elected officials to discuss arts funding in the 2011/12 New York State Budget as well as other issues. A designated Arts Day in Albany is scheduled for Tuesday, February 8, 2011 in addition to many arts advocacy events planned in local districts during the week of February 7 – 13, 2011. Today we have a new governor, who is facing serious budget deficits, and we need him and his administration to be aware of the extent of the past cuts and the need for thoughtful care as they develop the budget for 2012.

It is very urgent that the Governor of our state hear from those who enjoy and treasure the arts in New York State. Send your message to Gov. Andrew Cuomo today.

Lest we forget, cuts to the arts is not only state wide, but on a Federal level as well. In addition to contacting your local representatives, do the same with State Senators and Congressional reps.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Historic Huguenot Street ED Job

Historic Huguenot Street is seeking a dynamic and experienced leader for the position of Executive Director for this unique historic site. This national historic landmark is located 90 miles north of New York City in the Village of New Paltz, and is comprised of 7 stone houses and more than 50 acres. As CEO, the Executive Director will have the exciting opportunity to spearhead the achievement of the organization’s educational mission to share with the public the inspiring story of an American Community as it evolved from the 17th century to the present day. Additional information is available at

This is a career opening for an experienced and broadly-talented individual who has demonstrated success in fundraising, financial management as well as staff leadership and supervision. The successful candidate will have a proven track record of effective organizational leadership in an ever-changing environment in either the non-profit or for-profit sector. In addition s/he will provide leadership in all aspects of the museum’s operations including, but not limited to, construction and renovation, building preservation, operations, maintenance; long range planning, membership development, exhibition development, program planning, collections management and board management and development. Compensation will be competitive and commensurate with experience.

The search will be directed toward an April 1 start date but applications will be accepted until the Executive Director is selected. Application review will begin in early February. A cover letter, resume and the names, phone numbers and email addresses of three references should be submitted electronically to

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Amid cutbacks, efficiency is priority

The Poughkeepsie Journal reported on the impact of the proposed NYS budget, which includes reactions from the arts, public universities, and local cities:

Issue: Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed cutting grant funding for New York State Council on the Arts by about 10 percent, from $35.2 million to $31.6 million.

Impact: Many community arts programs in Ulster and Dutchess counties are funded with NYSCA grants, said Benjamin Krevolin, president of the Dutchess County Arts Council. The Dutchess County Arts Council under the 2010-11 state budget distributed $20,250 in NYSCA grants to arts organizations in Dutchess and the same amount to those in Ulster. The funding went to such projects as a street painting festival in Tivoli, free concerts at Locust Grove in Poughkeepsie and the Wassaic Project in Amenia, which converted a former agricultural facility into space for artists.

NYSCA funding allocated under the 2010-11 state budget and distributed by the Dutchess County Arts Council also accounted for $13,945 more in Arts in Education grants, split among Dutchess and Ulster groups, Krevolin said. The money funded a mural project in Dover Elementary School and a rock opera at Onteora High School, among other projects.

"Someone is going to get left out," Krevolin said of Cuomo's proposed funding cuts. "Someone's not going to have the opportunity to build their community, to bring in a festival or an event or a program that's going to spur economic development or improve education."

Eve Biddle, co-director of the Wassaic Project, said the $2,000 her organization received each of the past two years was used for outreach and artists honorariums.
"A small cut," she said, "can have a big effect."

Higher education
Issue: Reductions in aid to the State University and City University systems would be 10 percent. Benefits under the Tuition Assistance Program would be kept at the same levels. Proposed legislation would enable SUNY to streamline its procurement processes and establish public-private partnerships.

Impact: Donald Katt, president of Ulster County Community College, said the 10 percent cut would represent a $500,000 cut in funding to the college. The figure, he said, would compound the effects of a $1 million budget cut from the prior fiscal year.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Spending Cuts, Filing Information, and More from Nonprofit Advocacy Matters

Cuts, Cuts and more Cuts
The National Council of Nonprofits reported in their newsletter, "Nonprofit Advocacy Matters", that Spending cuts were the consistent theme throughout Washington last week as the President, during his State of the Union address Tuesday night, called for a five-year freeze in non-defense discretionary spending. Also on Tuesday, the House adopted a resolution capping spending for the current fiscal year at or below the levels provided in fiscal 2008. This limit is expected to produce budget cuts this year of $55 billion to $60 billion. In addition, the recommendations of the Republican Study Committee to cut $2.5 trillion in spending over the next 10 years were incorporated in the proposed Spending Reduction Act. Among many items, that bill would block spending for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and for national service programs. The legislation is not expected to be brought up in the House, but it does provide a roadmap for the areas that are being targeted for reductions in the future.

Federal Regulations and Job Creation
Federal regulations are frequently criticized for frustrating job creation, and the President and House Republicans are taking steps to identify key problem areas. On January 18, President Obama signed an executive order on Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review calling for "a government wide review" of federal rules and regulations to remove those "that stifle job creation and make our economy less competitive." The order was accompanied by an op-ed by the President published in the Wall Street Journal. In the House, Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) has created a website asking employers to identify government regulations and practices that either help or inhibit job creation. The website asks for responses to the questions: "Where does Washington help, and where does it hurt?" The National Council wants to know your ideas about particular rules or regulations that need improving.

Form 1099 Filing Requirements
There is strong momentum for repeal of the new tax-reporting requirement in the health care law that, starting in 2012, will require nonprofits and for-profit businesses to report aggregate payments to vendors in excess of $600 for goods and other property. A bill introduced last week by Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE), S.18, has bipartisan support and is paid for by rescinding prior appropriations. A second proposal introduced by Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), S.72, has no offsets. A House bill, H.R.4, has broad bipartisan support. President Obama expressed support for repeal of the requirement during his State of the Union address.