(And Always Look for the Helpers)
We have a few items of good news for you today.
Minnesota Citizens for the Arts obtained a few changes to the Legacy Fund law that will be helpful to the Minnesota State Arts Board and Regional Arts Councils and their grantees as they respond to the Covid crisis.
- FY19 Grants that were set to expire by June 30, 2020 can now be extended, giving grantees more time to complete their work to serve the public.
- FY20 Grants can be written to give grantees more time to complete their work.
- Language was added to allow the MSAB/RAC system more flexibility to respond to the crisis in the field. Here’s the new language:
“To the extent permitted under article
XI, section 15, of the Minnesota Constitution,
money appropriated under this article may be
used to assist grantees to maintain their
financial sustainability and long-term viability
during any peacetime emergency declared by
the governor in an executive order that relates
to the infectious disease known as COVID-19
and the period following that peacetime
The MSAB and RACs can now make plans with these new dates and language.
Despite this great news, it’s important to note that revenues to the Legacy Fund, which come from sales tax receipts, will be way down next year (and nobody knows how far down it will be as of yet). The legislature cut some projects from other funds by 14% so far. Note that the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits study found last week that 68% of arts organizations will be in crisis within six months, so this language is sorely needed.
Always Look for the Helpers
As Mr. Rogers used to say, “Always look for the helpers” in a crisis. There are three organizations providing access to live human beings who can help nonprofit arts organizations and their boards find ways to manage the challenges we are all facing:
1. Propel for Nonprofits is a great resource during normal times but they are also offering a series of webinars to help nonprofits weather this crisis. Tomorrow, May 19, 12:00 Noon – 1:00 PM, for example, they are offering “Ten Actions for Boards Governing in a Crisis.” Check out their other learning opportunities here.
2. The CARES Act that brought some relief to some nonprofits with the PPP loan program is confusing, difficult, and seems to keep changing. What a relief then to talk to someone who understands how to navigate it. Americans for the Arts’ Nina Ozlu is offering daily ‘Office Hours with Nina’. Join Nina on a drop-in basis Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. ET (10:00 AM to 11:00 AM Minnesota time) until June 12 to ask questions—whether broad or specific to your situation—about funding opportunities and deadlines related to the $3.2 trillion federal aid package. Nina also wants to hear from you about your experience in filing applications with the Small Business Administration (SBA), state unemployment offices, banks, and others to help inform your colleagues nationwide, develop FAQs, and build an advocacy case for future advocacy.
3. Artspace is offering pro bono consultations and technical support to any arts and culture organization or municipality that is working on a space-related initiative. These services will be available from now until June 30, 2020.
In particular, Artspace Consulting can help you with:
- Reviewing existing capital and operating budgets, and outlining potential scenarios
- Evaluating project priorities and recalibrating timelines and strategies
- Creative thinking around capital project resources
- Reviewing written fundraising materials and other communications
- Coaching organizations on how to access the new emergency resources