11/7/03

1. Success in Washington D.C.: Congress Agrees to Increase NEA Funding by $6.7 million
2. Rep. Oberstar Helps Save Transportation Enhancements
3. 2003 Report on Minnesota’s Nonprofit Economy

1. Success in Washington D.C.: Congress Agrees to Increase NEA Funding by $6.7 million

On November 3, 2003, the U.S. Senate voted to pass the final conference committee agreement on the Interior Appropriations Bill for 2004, setting spending for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) at $122.480 million, an increase of $6.7 million over 2003. $5 million of the new funding will be for grants to arts organizations, while $1.7 million will cover increased administrative expenses.

The House had already approved the bill, so the measure goes directly to the White House for the president’s signature. The NEA’s funding increase includes $1.7 million for administrative costs, as proposed in the president’s 2004 budget, and $5 million in new spending for Challenge America, down from $10 million in the original House bill. Since 40 percent of the NEA’s program funds are legislated for state arts agencies, that means that $2 million of the $5 million in new funding is reserved for Challenge America state partnerships.

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is set to receive $137 million, an increase of $12.1 million over 2003. $10 million of the increase will be directed towards the “We the People” initiative on American history and civics. This advocacy success will mean increased arts funds coming to Minnesota. Congratulations to Americans for the Arts for their great advocacy efforts!

2. Rep. Oberstar Helps Save Transportation Enhancements

The U.S. House of Representatives on Sept. 4 approved an amendment to restoring funding for transportation enhancements. The effect of the action is to ensure that the enhancements program – which funds transportation-related public art programs, historic preservation and renovation, and many other kinds of projects as well as bicycle and pedestrian trails – will continue to receive a fixed percentage of federal surface transportation dollars.The margin of the vote and its bipartisan nature bode well for the future of transportation enhancements. In the end, the House was simply unwilling to go along with killing a program that has distributed over billions of dollars for community-generated projects in the past twelve years. Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN) stood and spoke in favor of keeping these dollars available. Thank you to Rep. Oberstar! 2365 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 (202) 225-6211 Contact form: http://www.house.gov/writerep/

3. 2003 Report on Minnesota’s Nonprofit Economy

The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits released the 2003 Minnesota Nonprofit Economy Report at its Annual Conference at the beginning of October. This report is an excellent source of current economic information on the nonprofit sector in Minnesota. The report shows that 2002 was a year of growth for much of Minnesota’s nonprofit economy. However, preliminary data for 2003 reveals that this year will likely tell a different story as the effects of the recession begin to impact nonprofit budgets. The report includes both statewide and regional level data.

Some highlights:

Minnesota’s nonprofits saw a rate of growth surpassing the rest of the economy in 2002. The nonprofit workforce grew by 3.5% from 2001 to 2002. During the same period of time, total employment in the state actually declined by 1%. Nonprofit employees now account for over 9.5% of the state’s total workforce.
Although average weekly wages for nonprofit employees continue to lag behind wages for the for-profit and government sectors, median hourly wages for full-time nonprofit employees were generally competitive with for-profit wages in the same industries.
Revenues for charitable organizations reflect the nonprofit sector’s mixed economy. For example, nonprofit organizations with assets under $1 million in 2002 received 39% of their revenue from program services, 31% from charitable contributions, 22% from government grants, 5% from investments and sales, and 3% from membership dues.
While the nonprofit sector showed strong growth in 2002, we know the recession will make 2003 a different story. Nonprofits tend to experience economic downturns one to two years after the rest of the economy. And now all major nonprofit revenue sources are down at the same time – foundation grants, individual contributions, and government receipts. The complete 20-page report can be downloaded for free at www.mncn.org/nper.htm