ACSO News Blog

Speak Up Today to Repeal New Tax on Nonprofits

The comprehensive tax reform provisions signed into law last December include a new requirement for nonprofits to pay Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT) equal to 21% of the value of commuting and parking benefits provided to employees. The League of American Orchestras has partnered with the broader nonprofit sector to ask for clarification of the new rules, delayed implementation, and repeal of this unprecedented tax on nonprofit expenses. While no guidance has been issued by the Internal Revenue Service to clarify which benefits are subject to the tax and how to value certain benefits, the new requirements officially took effect beginning on January 1, 2018.

A tax package now under consideration by Congress includes a provision to repeal the new tax on nonprofits. You can take action today by contacting your elected officials to ask them to:

  1. Weigh in with the Treasury Department on your behalf, and ask for a delay in implementing the new tax.
  2. Take legislative action to repeal the new tax on nonprofit parking and transportation employee benefits.

The Johnson Amendment is at Risk Again - Take Action!

The Johnson Amendment is at risk again. This Amendment (passed in 1954) forbids nonprofits from endorsing candidates. We can of course take positions on ballot measures and legislation, but the Johnson Amendment protects us from being pressured to support a particular candidate for Congress, Board of Supervisors, or any other elected office.

Imagine if a major donor asked your organization to publicly support his choice for the Board of Supervisors. Or if a foundation president sent a letter to grantees asking them to publicly oppose the same candidate. The Johnson Amendment protects us from this kind of pressure.

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Wildfire Resources

We send our thoughts and prayers to our members affected by the wildfires in Northern and Southern California. We will update this feed as we learn more from our members. Also, we will share resources with those in need and ways you can help.

Resources for those Affected

ArtsReady
ArtsReady is your cultural organization’s online source for readiness resources, and a web application that can make disaster planning easy.

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Music for Our Veterans

Note from ACSO: The author of this article, Retired United States Marine Corps Major Brian Dix, was Director of “The Commandant’s Own,” The U.S Marine Drum & Bugle Corps, in Washington, D.C. He is currently an independent conductor and composer in San Diego, California.

It is a pleasure observing various symphony orchestras crafting Veterans Day programs each year on November 11. Having worked with several artistic directors on creating appropriate repertoires, I’ve seen common threads of misunderstanding. They often suggest well-intended selections for our nation’s fallen service members that are more appropriate for a day of solemn and earnest commemoration, also know as Memorial Day. In a nutshell, Memorial Day is a day of “remembrance”; Veterans Day is for the living.

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Important Announcement from ACSO Board President

It is bittersweet to share the news that ACSO executive director Mitch Menchaca has been appointed as the new executive director of arts and culture for the City of Phoenix and will be stepping down from his ACSO post November 30 to assume his new role.

Mitch joined ACSO at a transitional time when Kris Sinclair stepped down after 31-years of service. During his tenure, he worked with the board and staff to start the next era in advancement of the organization and its unique mission. This included moving the office from Sacramento to Los Angeles, finding new revenue streams in LA County, and managing the development process of a new strategic plan. Mitch also upgraded the association’s technology, hired terrific new staff and retained key contractors. He facilitated the continued growth and excellence of ACSO’s program offerings, and he invested time in enhancing the profile on the organization's advocacy efforts.

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Up and Down the Scale: September & October 2018

Sharing the latest developments and changes in the professional lives of our members. This edition covers announcements made in September and October 2018.

Individuals

The Carmel Bach Festival announced the promotion of Michael Beattie to the position of Director of the Virginia Best Adams Masterclass.

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ACSO Celebrates National Arts and Humanities Month

ACSO joins thousands of arts organizations and communities across the nation to celebrate National Arts and Humanities Month throughout October. National Arts and Humanities Month is coordinated by Americans for the Arts, the national organization working to empower communities with the resources and support necessary to provide access to all of the arts for all of the people. This month-long celebration grew out of National Arts Week, which was started in 1985 by the National Endowment for the Arts and Americans for the Arts.

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The LA Phil at 100

Note from ACSO: The author of this article, Julia Ward, is the director, development communications and strategy and editor, Past/Forward: The LA Phil at 100 at the Los Angeles Philharmonic. She is also on ACSO's Board of Directors.

When the Los Angeles Philharmonic was founded in 1919 by William Andrews Clark, Jr., Los Angeles wasn’t the likeliest place for a professional orchestra to spring up. It was a pioneer town with indigenous roots on the verge of what remains one of the largest population booms in U.S. history. The film industry had set up shop by then as well, and Fatty Arbuckle shorts weren’t doing much for the city’s reputation as a fount of classical art. But Clark and the impresarios who followed were nothing if not aspirational. 

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ACSO Celebrates National Arts Education Week by Highlighting our Youth Orchestra, Academic, and Orchestra Education Members

Passed by Congress in 2010, House Resolution 275 designates the week beginning with the second Sunday in September as National Arts in Education Week - that's this week! National Arts in Education Week is supported by Americans for the Arts on behalf of the field of arts education to bring visibility to the cause, unify stakeholders with a shared message, and provide the tools and resources for local leaders to advance arts education in their communities.

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Ask an Expert Webinar: How to Crack the Devotion Code

Intense customer loyalty isn’t just for companies like Apple and Harley-Davidson.  Today, all sorts of organizations and companies are competing to transform mere customers into vigorous communities of support.  That spells even greater competition for non-profit arts & cultural organizations.  In this webinar, Matt Lehrman shares 5 essential strategies to grow audiences and and sustain your patrons' fervent support.  The rules of allegiance for your ticket buyers, subscribers, member and donors are changing.  If you’re not diligently pursuing your Patrons’ loyalty, someone else surely is.

Matt Lehrman, whose keynote talk at the ACSO conference challenged attendees to grade “How Relevant is My Organization?”, leads Audience Avenue, a national consulting practice that helps arts & cultural organizations innovate on topics of strategic planning, community engagement, and audience development.

Jack of All Trades, or Master of One? How Musicians Make an Impact as Artists and Administrators

Note from ACSO: The author of this blog, Leslie Schlussel, is ACSO's Summer 2018 Conference and Membership Intern and her internship is supported by a grant from the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. She is entering her senior year at UCLA, majoring in Music Performance with a minor in Music Industry. She aspires to be a professional horn player in a symphony orchestra as well as work in arts administration.

What is my role as a classical musician in today’s world? In what ways can I help protect orchestral music’s integrity and further its efforts to address audiences’ evolving needs and expectations?

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Up and Down the Scale: Spring and Summer 2018

Sharing the latest developments and changes in the professional lives of our members. This edition covers announcements made spring and summer of 2018.

Individuals

The Santa Rosa Symphony has announced four new appointments to its board of directors. They are Marty Behr, Betty Ferris, and Jacki Reinhardt of Santa Rosa, and Andrew Lewis of San Francisco. 

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AB 2252 Will Help Nonprofits Obtain State Grants

Earlier this year CalNonprofits told us about Assembly Bill 2252, to create a searchable database of state grants —from all state agencies— on a single portal accessible to the public.

The bill also would enable nonprofits to submit state funding applications electronically. AB 2252 is sponsored by CalNonprofits and authored by Assemblymember Monique Limón, who is also Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on the Nonprofit Sector.

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New ACSO Leadership Elected

ACSO welcomes two new board members and elects new officers for 2018/2019. New board members include Steve Friedlander, executive director of the Carmel Bach Festival and Scott Vandrick, chief development officer, Pasadena Symphony Association.

Steve Friedlander is the executive director of the Carmel Bach Festival and was previously the Managing Director of Artistic Operations of the Grand Teton Music Festival with responsibility for the administration of the music program, musician housing, facilities, and education and outreach. Mr. Friedlander joined GTMF as Stage Manager for the 2011 summer season and joined the full-time staff in November 2011 as Director of Artistic Operations. During the 2012 summer season Mr. Friedlander served as Acting Executive Director and Director of Artistic Operations.

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San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory Receives ACSO’s Sinclair Leadership Award

The Association of California Symphony Orchestras (ACSO) announced today that the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory is the recipient of the 2018 Kris Sinclair Leadership Award for its Community Opus Project, a music education program for elementary students.

This award is named after Kris Sinclair who was the executive director of the ACSO for 31 years and is given to an ACSO Organizational Member that demonstrates recent and measurable leadership initiatives by its staff and/or board in one or more of the following areas: finance, governance, staff development, audience development, education, or community engagement.

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Welcome to the 2018 Annual Conference

It is an honor and pleasure to officially welcome you to the 2018 Annual Conference – the first of many events leading up to our 50th Anniversary celebration next year. Look for special programs and activities to take place over the next twelve months as we celebrate this milestone.

We applaud our members from across the state and region for the work you do in your communities, and we are especially grateful that you made the journey to Sacramento to help us kick-off ACSO’s year-long anniversary celebration.

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National Endowment for the Arts Announces $105,000 in Grants to Five ACSO Organizational Members and Awards $15,000 to the Association for its Service to the Field

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $80 million in grants as part of the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2018.  Included in this announcement is an Art Works grant of $15,000 to the Association of California Symphony Orchestras (ACSO).

“The variety and quality of these projects speaks to the wealth of creativity and diversity in our country,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Through the work of organizations such as the Association of California Symphony Orchestras, NEA funding invests in local communities, helping people celebrate the arts wherever they are.”

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ACSO Awarded CAC Statewide and Regional Networks Grant

The California Arts Council announced its plans to award $25,500 to ACSO as part of its Statewide and Regional Networks program. The Statewide and Regional Networks program is rooted in the California Arts Council’s commitment to supporting arts service organizations reflective of California’s diverse populations. The program provides general operating grants for arts service organization networks with regional or statewide reach. Arts service organizations serve as networks to provide specialized, practical services for artists, arts organizations, and cultural communities.

ACSO is one of 43 grantees chosen for the Statewide and Regional Networks program. The award was featured as part of a larger announcement from the California Arts Council.

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