Advocacy Alert: July 20, 2011

Two Federal Agencies Seeking Your Input; AAM Weighs in on Federal Debt Debate

In this issue:

  • IMLS Asks the Museum Field for Input on its Future
  • IRS Asks Nonprofits for Input on the New Form 990
  • AAM Expresses Concerns About Charitable Giving Restrictions in Debt Negotiations
  • New Education Measure Approved by House Panel
  • Participate in Let's Move! Museums & Gardens
  • AAM Offers Testimony to Congress, Writes to Department of Interior on NAGPRA

IMLS Asks the Museum Field for Input on its Future

Do you have ideas about the future of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)? Now is your chance to weigh in. IMLS is currently asking the museum field for input as it develops its five-year Strategic Plan and has turned to a crowd-sourcing format to ensure field-wide input. Keeping in mind the IMLS statutory authority "to support museum, library, and information services to meet the information, education, research, economic, cultural, and civic needs of the people of the United States," the public is invited to answer a set of five questions to help IMLS examine its grant programs, research, and leadership initiatives.  Visit http://imls.ideascale.com to read the questions, review the current comments and add your own comments. The deadline for public input is Friday, Aug. 12.

IRS Asks Nonprofits for Input on the New Form 990

The Internal Revenue Service is also asking for public comment about the new Form 990, and AAM is working with Independent Sector to collect your ideas and input. This year marks the second filing season for the re-designed Form 990, and the IRS wants to hear your recommendations for further improvements.  Please share this announcement with your COO, CFO, legal counsel, accountant, board members or others who may have opinions about the new Form 990. Visit Independent Sector's 990 Forum to submit or comment on ideas, or vote for the best ideas. Public input will be collected until Monday, July 25.

AAM Expresses Concerns About Charitable Giving Restrictions in Debt Negotiations

As President Obama and Congress discuss how to raise the debt ceiling and reduce federal spending, AAM has joined two efforts to express concerns about the potential direction of the negotiations. One effort—a letter spearheaded by Independent Sector—urges the President and Congressional leaders to consider the potential dual impact of deep domestic spending cuts on top of charitable giving restrictions. A second letter warns of the impact of restricting charitable giving especially during this time of economic difficulty. We will continue to monitor the negotiations. In the meantime, if you'd like to learn more about how these issues affect your museum—or how to do something about it!—register now for AAM's FREE Online Advocacy Training Program on charitable giving, slated for Sept. 27 at 2 p.m. (ET).

Education Measure Approved by House Panel

On July 13, the House Education and the Workforce Committee approved H.R. 2445, the State and Local Funding Flexibility Act by a 23-17 vote. The bill would allow states and school districts greater authority to determine how to use federal education funds. This bill is the latest in a series of bills passed by the House Education and the Workforce Committee aimed at rewriting portions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (commonly referred to as the No Child Left Behind Act). AAM previously reported on another measure—H.R. 1891—passed by the Committee that would eliminate more than 40 critical education programs. Learn more and tell your members of Congress how H.R. 1891 would impact YOUR museum.

Participate in Let's Move! Museums & Gardens

Does your museum have programs or exhibits that encourage families to eat healthy food or increase physical activity? There's still time to join this White House initiative—learn more today on the  IMLS website. Or read a great blog post on the Center for the Future of Museums website about how the Stearns History Museum in St. Cloud , Minn., is participating.

AAM Offers Testimony to Congress, Writes to Department of Interior on NAGPRA

Earlier this month, AAM submitted written testimony to a Senate Committee and a letter to the Department of the Interior on NAGPRA, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. The NAGPRA law was enacted 20 years ago to establish a process for dealing with certain objects in museum collections. In both the AAM statement to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and the AAM letter to the Department of the Interior, AAM expressed concerns about how the law has been implemented and highlighted the high standards with which museums manage their collections, referencing the AAM Code of Ethics, the Accreditation requirements and AAM's Standards and Best Practices. Read the AAM Ethics and Best Practices Issue Brief to learn more about the ethical guidelines and best practices of museums.