The nation's museum community is facing an existential threat from the COVID-19 pandemic. The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) estimates that museums nationwide are losing at least $33 million a day due to closures and recently released survey data shows that one out of every three museums may shutter permanently without near-term assistance. We need ALL museum advocates, including museum directors, trustees, staff, volunteers, museum members and supporters across the country to weigh in now and urge Congress to:
- Continue Emergency Funding Programs by enabling a second round of Paycheck Protection Program forgivable loans and appropriating funds for federal grant programs to state and local governments that depend on nonprofits, including museums, to deliver services to the public.
- Extend Loan Programs to Mid-Sized and Larger Nonprofits with more than 500 employees, that the CARES Act largely excluded.
- Allocate $6 Billion Specifically for Museums, to be administered by the IMLS - Office of Museum Services, for general operating support, assisting museums in developing and sharing distance learning content, and pandemic recovery planning and implementation, including improvements to protect employees and visitors and reduce the spread of COVID-19.
- Strengthen Charitable Giving Incentives by expanding the above-the-line charitable deduction in the CARES Act from $300 in 2020 to approximately $4,000/individual in 2020 and 2021, so the incentive is universally available to all Americans.
- Provide Full Federal Unemployment Coverage for self-insured (reimbursing) nonprofits by increasing the federal unemployment insurance reimbursement from 50 percent to 100 percent of costs.
- Here are additional Talking Points you can use in making your case to elected officials.
- Share with them this recent letter signed by more than 200 Chambers of Commerce from all 50 states supporting economic relief for non-profit museums.
- You can also share this letter endorsed by more than 4,000 organizations from the broader nonprofit community nationwide, including AAM.
- Use our Letter to the Editor Template with your local news media.
We also encourage you to share this Alliance Advocacy Alert widely with your colleagues and friends.
#InviteCongress Today - Make the Case for Museums
Once you have sent messages to your legislators and have shared this alert with colleagues and friends, the best next step you can take is to invite your elected officials and their staff for an in-person or virtual tour, virtual meeting, or a call to discuss the importance of your museum to its community. Kudos to the museums that so far this summer have hosted legislators on physically-distanced tours and met with legislative staff by phone. Our Invite Congress to Visit Your Museum How-To Guide is updated for 2020 and includes all of the steps, tips, and messages you need to effectively host legislators live, virtually, or over the phone. Legislators are eager to connect with the constituents and communities they represent across all available platforms.
It's critical that museum advocates reach out now to tell your museum's story of how COVID-19 is affecting you, your museum, and your community. Lawmakers need to hear loud and clear the urgent need for immediate economic assistance.
Reach out to your members of Congress now! The next few weeks are critical. And don't forget to use #InviteCongress to share your activities on social media.
Thank you for your continuing advocacy for museums.