Article Published: 29 Jul 2021

Arts Advocacy Updates

Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program Update; Supplemental Grant Award Phase Set to Begin the Week of August 23

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) continues to execute the $16 billion Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program. The SBA issued a press release on July 27 stating that the federal agency reached a milestone of awarding $7.5 billion in grants to over 10,000 venues. The federal agency also released an updated program progress report (as of July 26) and public data (as of July 26) indicating the number and types of grantees as well as their initial grant award amounts.

The SBA also recently released an updated FAQ document (as of July 22) that contains further information on the newly developed appeals process for declined applications and the reconsideration process for award modification for those grantees that received less than their requested grant amounts. The updated FAQ document also provides information concerning the supplemental grant award phase to commence after the initial grant award phase. The SBA will release additional guidance concerning various post-award reporting requirements in the coming days.

The updated FAQ document (as of July 22) also provides further clarifications concerning various issues, including the following issues:

  • Page 14, question 87 — Provides reasons for declined applications
  • Page 15, question 90 — Confirms that grantees who receive $750,000 or more are required to submit a single audit or an audited financial statement
  • Page 25, question 160 — Confirms that all grantees will receive single lump-sum payments for their initial grant awards and supplemental grant awards
  • Page 26, question 164 — Confirms that grantees will have one year to expend their grants from the date of receipt
  • Page 26, question 167 — The SBA provides increased flexibility for grantees to move costs between allowable categories within approved budgets. All grantees are required to submit a final budget upon grant close-out.
  • Page 32, question 196 — Provides further clarification concerning how SBA considers sponsorships as earned revenue or gross revenue for for-profit entities and nonprofit entities. For for-profit entities, sponsorships are considered earned revenue. For nonprofit entities, sponsorships are considered part earned revenue and part gross revenue.
  • Page 36, Appeals Process — Provides further information on the appeals process for all declined applicants. Applicants will have a two-week window to submit their appeal request and additional documentation. The SBA will send declined applicants an email notification inviting them to appeal. Applicants will also have an invitation attached to their application in the application portal.
  • Page 37, Reconsideration Process for Award Modification — Provides further information on the reconsideration process for all grantees that received $100 less than their requested initial grant amount. Initial grantees will have a two-week window to submit their reconsideration request and additional documentation. The SBA will send initial grantees an email notification inviting them to submit their reconsideration request. Applicants will also have an invitation attached to their application in the application portal.
  • Page 38, Supplemental Grant Award Phase — The SBA will provide supplemental grant awards (50% of initial grants pre-PPP deduction) to initial grantees who suffered a 70% or greater EARNED revenue loss (page 38, question 241) for the first calendar quarter for 2021 compared to the first calendar quarter in 2019. The SBA will send supplemental grant award notifications via email to eligible grantees. Eligible supplemental grant awardees will have a two-week window to act on their supplemental grant notification. If funding starts to run out during the supplemental grant award phase, priority will be given to those eligible supplemental grant award applicants who have a greater EARNED revenue loss in the first calendar quarter in 2021 compared to the same quarter in 2019.

The SBA has provided the following timeline for the upcoming processes and phases within the SVOG program:

  • Appeal process for declined applications — starts August 2 and lasts for two weeks
  • Reconsideration process for award modifications — starts August 4 and lasts for two weeks; the process will end two days after the appeals process ends.
  • Supplemental grant award phase – to commence the week of August 23
  • The SBA will stop accepting initial grant and supplemental grant applications sometime during mid to late August.

 

OPERA America Provides Signatory Letter Support to Increase Access to Arts Education

OPERA America has provided signatory support to a letter that will be sent to U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona concerning the need to increase students’ access to arts education. The letter is supported by various national arts and education organizations and coordinated by the Arts Education Policy Working Group, of which OPERA America is a member. The signatory letter reiterates and expands on various arts-education-related policy requests included in the arts transition statement sent to the Biden-Harris Administration. The signatory letter urges the Biden-Harris Administration to do the following:

  • Commit to data collection regarding access to arts education and student learning in the arts;
  • Issue a letter to state Title I directors, chief state school officers, and secretaries of education specifying the eligibility of arts education for use of Title I funds; and
  • Create staff leadership positions to advise on the arts and art learning.

 

OPERA America Provides Signatory Letter Support for Initiatives to Support the Nonprofit Sector

OPERA America has provided signatory support to a letter to be sent to the U.S. Congress urging increased support to the nonprofit sector during the current pandemic and beyond. The Charitable Nonprofit Policy Priorities Letter is based on a prior signatory letter sent to the Biden-Harris administration and U.S. congressional leadership on July 21 by 55 national nonprofit organizations identifying the challenges charitable organizations continue to face and seeking support for urgently needed policy objectives that will enable charitable organizations to contribute to the nation’s relief, recovery, and rebuilding. The signatory letter of support indicates: “Given our unique role of providing pandemic relief and economic recovery, we ask that Congress and the administration enact a package of relief solutions tailored to the actual needs and realities of these organizations that, like you, are devoted to serving the public good.” Those solutions include:

  • Nonprofit Jobs: Enactment of the WORK NOW Act, improvements to the Employee Retention Tax Credit, collection and timely reporting of nonprofit employment data; and
  • Nonprofit Resources: Extension and expansion of the Universal Charitable Deduction, protection of the itemized charitable donation deduction, appropriation of emergency grant funds, preservation of the ARPA state/local funds, and expansion of broadband.