Blog Posts for Illinois

Preparing Your Organization and Your Donors for Shifts in the Charitable Tax Deduction

Posted by Christina Ritchie, Feb 16, 2018 0 comments

On January 1, the 2018 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act went into effect, a substantial change to the U.S. tax code which has the potential to negatively impact arts and culture nonprofit organizations in a variety of ways. One of the most significant impacts will come in changes related to the thresholds and amounts associated with the charitable tax deduction. This 100-year-old provision was designed to stimulate giving to charities and other organizations serving the public good by providing an opportunity to claim a deduction as a reduction in an individual’s tax burden. While the repercussions of the federal tax code changes are still emerging, and corresponding shifts in state-by-state tax policy may impact your situation, the notes that follow are an introductory primer. If you have questions about state-level implications, we recommend you reach out to your state comptroller or state association of nonprofits.

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Arts Advocacy Day Is Coming

Posted by Kate McClanahan, Feb 01, 2018 0 comments

Although years may really just be a number, in its 31 years, Arts Advocacy Day has seen six different U.S. presidents spanning both political parties. It’s witnessed sixteen different congressional sessions and eight different Speakers of the U.S. House. Through it all, every year, attendees hear that “the arts are bipARTtisan.” Because, no matter who’s in office, arts advocacy matters. Funding decisions are made every year. Who’s deciding this year may not be deciding next year. Who’s to remember what happened before? Who’s to know why it matters? Who’s to learn from each other? The answer is us. All of us. All of us together.

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Undoing Power Dynamics by Incorporating Youth and Community Voices

Posted by Ashraf Hasham, Oct 18, 2017 0 comments

By wishing to incorporate youth and their communities in decision-making for initiatives that are intended to engage them and their peers, organizations and program managers are (knowingly or unknowingly) giving these young people a lesson on power dynamics, the power of organizing, and policy development via focus grouping, researching, and consulting with experts (aka themselves). By welcoming youth into the decision-making process, we can begin to show them how decisions—within our organizations and more broadly in society—could be made differently. Let’s lean into it and, in fact, give these young folks more power over programs that are meant to be for them, particularly in organizations that have little or no history of incorporating young people in admin-level spaces.

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Arts & Economic Prosperity 5: How the Nonprofit Arts & Culture Industry Impacts the Economy in Your Community

Posted by Randy I. Cohen, Jun 17, 2017 0 comments

When recently asked how best to advocate for the arts in the current environment, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (NM)—co-chair of the Senate Cultural Caucus and chief sponsor of the CREATE Act—was unequivocal: “Start by telling every one of your Senators about the economic benefits of the arts.” This familiar refrain is one we have heard for decades from city council chambers to governor mansions to the halls of Congress—and it works. Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 does just that. It changes the conversation about the arts from that of a “charity” to one about an “industry” that provides both cultural and economic benefits to the community.

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Invigorate Your Practice and Advocate Through Exhibitions

Posted by Chris Sykora, Mar 15, 2017 0 comments

How do we speak to people who have never taken part in art education? If someone has not experienced the arts personally or effectively, words may not be able to explain their value. In order to speak constructively with opponents, we must provide an environment that cultivates the sharing of ideas. It just so happens that art exhibitions are the perfect venue for advocacy discussions. Art communicates in unique and non-literal ways, which facilitates an openness that allows people to form their own conclusions. Exhibitions provide opportunities to talk about curricular impacts through the work on display. Audiences can connect artwork with student educational experiences in direct and empathetic ways. And most importantly, exhibitions easily unite advocacy for art programs with advocacy for the most powerful evidence we have: the students themselves.

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The Curious City Challenge

Posted by Claire Meyers, Mar 01, 2017 0 comments

I was fortunate enough to be awarded Urban Gateways’ 2017 PROPS Award for my proposal “Claire’s Curious City Challenge.” Influenced by a phrase our organization often uses, “The City as a Classroom,” I am using the funds to embark on a yearlong mission to explore the exciting and diverse programming that makes Chicago a vibrant city. I see this challenge as an opportunity to learn more about the interesting work happening in the city, for both my own interest as an active member of the Chicago arts community and for the potential it has to inform future programming and partnerships at Urban Gateways.

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