Action Alert: Support Charitable Giving

On November 16, 2017, the U.S. House voted along party-lines to pass their tax reform bill (H.R. 1) by a vote of 227-205.

The bill contains a number of provisions harmful to charitable organizations and the arts:

  • Overwhelming majority of taxpayers would no longer have access to make tax-deductible charitable contributions. That charitable tax deduction would be limited to the wealthiest 5% of taxpayers.
  • Entertainment, amusement, recreation and membership dues expenses related to a business purpose or meeting would be repealed.
  • Doubling exemptions and ultimate full repeal of the estate tax, which has historically generated major gifts to charities.
  • Elimination of the teacher supplies and instructional materials deduction.
  • Repeal of options to treat musical compositions and copyrights in musical works as capital assets.
  • Repeal of the historic tax credit.

In sum, Congress is rushing to pass far-reaching tax reform that would have a very negative impact on charitable giving. The latest analysis of the House bill by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that charities, including nonprofit arts organizations, could see a staggering loss of up to $20 billion annually. The resulting loss in charitable giving will cause significant consequences for the health of America’s nonprofit organizations and the communities we serve.

Please take two minutes to support charitable giving by sending a message to Congress. Ask for support for a universal charitable deduction and the Universal Charitable Giving Act (S. 2123/H.R. 3988.)

San Diego International Airport Arts Master Plan

The Airport Arts Program is preparing for the future with the development of a new Arts Master Plan. The plan will guide the Arts Program’s vision for public art and arts and culture programs at the airport for the next ten years.

The previous master plan was completed in 2006 and provided guidelines and policies for the program’s three core components: Public Art, Performing Arts, and Temporary Exhibitions. Since 2006, the Arts Program has grown both in its permanent art collection and its annual exhibitions. It has also redefined how the airport traveler experiences the airport, with everything from a first-of-its-kind performing arts residency program and live concerts, to educational programs with local schools, and special partnerships with community arts groups to Grammy winners.

It is now time to embark on a new arts master planning journey. We would like you to help us plan for the future. You can participate in this planning process by taking the survey that is linked below. It will help us understand your experiences in using the airport and your thoughts about how arts resources can engage travelers in enriching ways, create a welcoming ambiance unique to San Diego, and cultivate cultural partnerships in the region.

Survey links are HERE (English) and HERE (Spanish)

For more information about the SAN Arts Master Plan please visit:

California Arts Council Seeking Panelists

Serving on a peer-review panel is a powerful learning experience. By providing your support to the arts and culture community throughout the state, you are participating in cultural policy in action.​ 

The California Arts Council are seeking panelists to help the CAC ensure that the grant application review process is democratic, fair and representative of California’s diverse geography; wealth of organizations; racial, ethnic and gender identities; perspectives and knowledge.

Panelist Requirements:


  • Must be California residents
  • Commitment to access and reviewing up to 60 applications and all work samples (photos, videos, etc.) through our online system prior to meeting
  • Travel to Sacramento
  • Participation on a panel that may convene for one to three days in Sacramento
  • Applications and artists’ work samples (photos, videos and documents) are viewed online before the panel meeting. Ability and willingness to access the applications and samples online are crucial to preparing for the panel meeting.

Each spring, applications to our grant programs are reviewed by a panel of three to five arts and culture experts. Panelists are given approximately one month to independently read and review between 30 to 60 applications through an online grant portal. Panelists are provided with an orientation on the panel process, including instructions on how to rank applications according to program-specific grant guidelines and review criteria. Facilitated by a CAC program staff member, the panel then meets in Sacramento for one to three days to collectively rank the applications. The rankings are brought to the California Arts Council body (Council) meeting to inform funding decisions. A panel representative may be selected to join staff at a Council meeting to present on their perceptions of participating on the panel and the process.

For the 2017-2018 grant cycle, panels are scheduled from February through May 2018, located at the California Arts Council office in Sacramento. Selected panelist will be included in a panelist pool to be approved by the Council in November 2017 and January 2018. Panelist will be confirmed by staff to serve on specific grant panels from the approved panel pool for up to two years.


Approved panelists may be called upon to serve on one of our grant panels in 2018 or 2019. Those listed on the FY 16-17 panel pool do no need to reapply. To confirm you are on the approved panel pool, click here.


To learn more about the panelist positions, click here

San Diego Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 Report

On October 18, 2017, the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture launched its billion-dollar arts announcement (read Local Art Nonprofits Generate over $1 Billion in Economic Activity) with an exciting presentation by Vice President of Research and Policy of Americans for the Arts, Randy Cohen.

Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 provides evidence that the nonprofit arts and culture sector is a significant industry in the City of San Diego—one that generates $1.1 billion in total economic activity. 

The results of the study for the City of San Diego and the Balboa Cultural District are available for public use. Click on the links below to access the reports.

Balboa Park Cultural District Arts and Economic Prosperity 5 Report

City of San Diego Arts and Economic Prosperity 5 Report




The Arts: San Diego’s Billion Dollar Industry on October 18, 2017


The Arts: San Diego’s Billion-Dollar Industry

Why Investing in the Arts Matters to San Diego Now

Keynote Speaker: Randy Cohen, Vice President of Research and Policy, Americans for the Arts, Washington DC

Americans for the Arts has conducted the most comprehensive economic impact study of the nonprofit arts and culture industry in the United States. Randy Cohen, Vice President of Research and Policy will present the results of the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5Report and San Diego’s billion dollar impact with a special report on Balboa Park.

Presented with the support of the San Diego Regional Arts and Culture Coalition, the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, and the Balboa Park Conservancy.

When: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 10:00am – 11:30am

Where: Museum of Photographic Arts, Joan and Irwin Jacobs Theater
1649 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92110

Space is limited! RSVP  today

Action Alert: Possible Repeal of Historic Tax Credits for Historic Preservation​

Action Alert: Possible Repeal of Historic Tax Credits for Historic Preservation​

Your support is needed: Let Congress know that you want to save the Historic Tax Credit

The Federal Historic Tax Credit (HTC) is under threat of elimination or curtailment during current tax reform discussions. 

Between 2002-2016, the rehabilitation of 169 historic buildings in California—with $468M in federal credits—spurred $2.8 billion in redevelopment. And, the federal credit pays back more to the Treasury than it costs! 

For example, an estimated $493M has been paid in federal taxes on these HTC projects

Despite the HTC’s proven record for stimulating economic development, we are deeply concerned that the program will fall victim to the current federal tax reform efforts. 

Join SOHO, the California Preservation Foundation and the National Trust and send a clear and strong message that the Historic Tax Credit needs to be included within the tax reform proposal. 

Contact your representative in Congress individually using the links provided below and urge them to co-sponsor the Historic Tax Credit Improvement Act, which will further encourage reuse and rehabilitation of historic resources, maximize the impact of state historic credits, and broaden the eligibility requirement so more historic properties are applicable under this program. Thank you for supporting this important legislation! 

Senator Dianne Feinstein 
750 B Street, Ste 1030, San Diego, CA 92101 
Phone: (619) 231-9712 · Fax: (619) 231-1108 

Senator Kamala Harris 
600 B Street, Ste 2240, San Diego, CA 92101 
(619) 239-3884 · (202) 228-3863 fax 

District 49 
Rep. Darrell Issa 
1800 Thibodo Road, Ste #310, Vista, CA 92081 
Phone: (760) 599-5000 · Fax: (760) 599-1178 

District 50 
Rep. Duncan Hunter 
1870 Cordell Ct, Ste 206, El Cajon, CA 92020 
Phone: (619) 448-5201 · Fax: (619) 449-2251 

District 51 
Rep. Juan Vargas 
333 F Street, Ste A, Chula Vista CA 91910 
Phone: (619) 422-5963 · Fax: (619) 422-7290 

District 52 
Rep. Scott Peters 
4350 Executive Drive, Suite 105, San Diego CA 92121 
Phone: (858) 455-5550 

District 53 
Rep. Susan Davis 
2700 Adams Avenue, Ste 102, San Diego, CA 92116 
Phone: (619) 280-5353 · Fax: (619) 280-5311

Action Alert: Tax Reform and the Charitable Deduction




Republican Congressional leaders released their long-awaited tax reform framework yesterday on Capitol Hill, which could have a negative impact on charitable giving. 

We know that Arts Action Fund members care deeply about fully preserving the charitable tax deduction incentive since nonprofit arts organizations rely on donations made by individual taxpayers for approximately 25 percent of their budgets. We want to share our statement as well as highlights of our analysis below.

  • We commend the GOP proposal for preserving the charitable tax deduction for those taxpayers who itemize such qualifying expenses as mortgage interest and charitable gifts. 
  • However, the GOP plan also proposes to double the standard deduction. This would have the impact of moving taxpayers away from itemizing their deductions. While this change would simplify the average tax return, it would also have a negative impact on the future of charitable giving as whole.  It is anticipated that this plan could cause charities to lose up to $13 billion in donations each year.
  • Congress can avoid unintentionally harming charities by including a new “universal charitable tax deduction” provision that could be made available to ALL taxpayers, both itemizers and non-itemizers. With the incentive of a charitable tax deduction given to all taxpayers, it is anticipated that charities could see a $4.8 billion increase in donations per year.

Please take two minutes to help us urge Congress to expand charitable giving incentives to all American taxpayers. GOP leaders plan to move a tax package quickly through Congress by the end of this year, using this framework as the starting-point.

Help #ProtectGiving. Charities are the bedrock of our society, dedicated to advancing the public good.

SDRACC Recommendations to SD Commission of Arts & Culture Follow-up Letter

On September 8th, 2017, members of an ad hoc committee of the San Diego Regional Arts and Culture Coalition sent a follow-up letter to the San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture requesting to include the recommendations for FY19 Guidelines and Panel Process in the upcoming meeting agendas for review and discussion.


Dear Janet:

Congratulations on your appointment as the Chair of the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture. We would to like to thank you for stepping up to this very important leadership position and again to let Larry Baza know how grateful we are for his outstanding work as past Commission chair and arts advocate.

The SDRACC Ad Hoc Committee on the Commission Application and Panel Process understands the Commission’s Policy and Funding Committee will address the FY 19 OSP and CCSD funding application guidelines at its September and possibly October meetings. Because time is of the essence and staff capacity is limited, we appreciate the opportunity to engage the Policy Committee and Commission members in a deliberative process that focuses our previous requests on the priority recommendations listed below over the next two months. To that effect, and as a follow- up to our last correspondence we, the undersigned members of an ad hoc committee respectfully request that the Commission docket the following recommendations to the FY 19 OSP and CCSD Guidelines on the upcoming full Commission meeting agendas for a full review and discussion.

These recommendations are rooted in our collective experience as Commission contractors and arts professionals and reinforce our goals to: increase the efficiency of the application process for both the Commission staff members and arts organizations (the following recommendations require minimal changes for the Commission staff and contractors, as we are aware of the capacity challenges that both groups face); stabilize the application process; and ensure that the City OSP and CCSD application and funding process is as equitable as possible for organizations large and small.

  1. Short Form: The FY 18 funding cycle was the first to eliminate the option of a Short Form application. This was appropriate because the funding guidelines and application were completely revised and all contractors needed to participate in this new process equally. That process has been utilized and Commission staff has indicated no substantive changes are to be recommended to the funding guidelines for FY 19. Therefore, we recommend that organizations should complete the full application as staff has indicated it does not have the capacity to revamp the form and that organizations be exempt from the panel review process if they have received a high rank from past panel reviews and meet the appropriate eligibility criteria.

Adopting this recommendation will create efficiencies for the Commission, Commission staff, review panels and organizational contractors.  Reducing the volume of applications to be fully reviewed by panels will reduce the number of hours panels meet which will in turn reduce the number of panelists required to be recruited, trained and scheduled by Commission staff and will stabilize the application process for the contractors (who will now be able to plan ahead for the long and short form years).

  1. Appeals Process: We request the Commission reinstate the Appeals Process for all OSP and CCSD applicant organizations in the FY 19 cycle. The Appeals Process is a simple and important accountability measure that ensures occasional mistakes and misstatements by review panels which adversely impact an organization’s ranking can be addressed. The Appeals Process utilized by the Commission in the past included specific guidelines for an appeal to be considered and specific grounds upon which an appeal might be approved. It is our opinion that these same guidelines can easily be reviewed and reinstated so that staff and Commissioners do not need to spend unnecessary time constructing new appeals guidelines from scratch. The reinstatement of the Appeals Process is a recommendation that supports our goal of providing a more equitable process for all organizations.
  1. Review of Financials: We strongly recommend that all financial and governance information provided in the Request for Qualification documents be part of the full panel review The applicant organizations’ budgets and leadership information help tell the “whole story” and should be tied to their organizations’ goals, objectives and deliverables. The addition of the RFQ information in panelists’ packets will allow for greater equity in the review process as organizations are evaluated in a more comprehensive manner.

Thank you for providing an opportunity to discuss these recommendations in an open and transparent process.


San Diego Regional Arts and Culture Coalition Ad Hoc Committee Members


Matt Carney, Treasurer

Rising Arts Leaders


Llewellyn Crain, Director of Development

The Old Globe


Erin Decker, Vice President of Development

The New Children’s Museum


Victoria Hamilton, President

Californians for the Arts and California Arts Advocates


John Highkin, Director

Fern Street Community Arts

Michael Rosenberg, Managing Director

La Jolla Playhouse


Todd Schultz, Vice President for Institutional Advancement

San Diego Symphony


Dalouge Smith, President & CEO

San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory


Steve Snyder, President & CEO

Fleet Science Center 




cc: Commissioners and Staff

To read the first letter sent to the San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture on August 24th, 2017, please click here.       

SDRACC Recommendations to SD Commission for Arts and Culture for FY19 Guidelines & Panel Processes

On August 24th, 2017, members of an ad hoc committee of the San Diego Regional Arts and Culture Coalition sent the following letter to the San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture with recommendations for FY19 Guidelines and Panel Process. 


Continue reading SDRACC Recommendations to SD Commission for Arts and Culture for FY19 Guidelines & Panel Processes

2017 SDRACC Arts & Culture Funding Victory Celebration

 You are cordially invited to join your colleagues on  
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
5PM to 7PM 
The Berkeley
1492 N. Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101
Celebrate Arts and Culture funding victories at the City of San Diego, City of Chula Vista, California Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. 
$20 per person (includes appetizers and one drink). Your ticket purchase will be applied towards your Renewal or if you Join on August 16th
To attend, register here.