Fiscal Year 2024 holds the promise of our first full year without lockdowns, mask mandates, and other public health interference and instability. These possibilities only increase the importance of consistent and clear advocacy efforts focusing on our collective impact, recovery needs, and community value. The arts and humanities were the first to close and will be among the last to fully recover from impacts of Covid-19. We must continue to advocate for support as our venues open, practitioners resume their work, and organizations re-engage with audiences and residents.
Advocacy Platform at a glance. The arts and humanities need:
- $1.1 million in additional regranting funds
- $3.65 million in additional emergency relief funds
Where the Arts and Humanities Stand Currently
County Executive Marc Elrich proposed a $6,349,029 FY 2024 Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC) budget allocation for re-granting and administration. The proposal would increase AHCMC from $6,339,106 in FY 2023 to $6,349,029 in FY 2024. Any additional funding is good news; however, more is needed to meet the projected demand for FY2024 grants and address inflation. We thank the County Executive for his stalwart support and request additional re-granting funds to meet our community’s needs, navigate the economic recovery, and adjust to the rising costs of living and business operations.
FY 2024 Arts and Humanities Sector Response + Platform
AHCMC thanks County Executive Elrich for his stalwart support for the arts and humanities in Montgomery County and must request additional funding based on rising demand from the field, inflation, and continuing business and event disruptions caused by Covid-19-related factors.
The Advocacy Platform:
Our request for increased support is based on application data and survey responses from the field that inform a dynamic and impactful recovery strategy for Montgomery County’s arts and humanities sector. Unlike many other sectors, such as restaurants and retail, the creative industries cannot simply open our doors and expect the same audience demand as 2019; nor can we expect our organizations and professionals to navigate historic inflation without increased support.
In line with grants and services demand from professional arts and humanities practitioners and cultural nonprofits across Montgomery County, we request:
- $1.1 million in additional re-granting funds above the County Executive’s FY24 Budget Proposal for AHCMC’s FY24 budget allocation.
- $3.65 million in additional emergency relief funds from the remaining American Rescue Plan dollars; a third tranche of emergency funds completing AHCMC’s FY20 request for $10 million in emergency relief funds over three years.
The Need for Increased Support
Data from a recent AHCMC grantee survey and FY24 applications show an increase in demand exceeding $1.1 million for FY 2024 over FY 2023. The data also shows that in the first half of FY 2023 more than 50% of arts and humanities non-profits did not meet their earned revenue, attendance, or sales goals. As the creative sector recovers, additional emergency funds are needed to stabilize contributed income and offset long-tail effects from low sales due to health concerns from residents and patrons. The $1.1 million increase in demand encompasses FY24 grant applicants, increased cost of living, and an expanded FY24 grant pool resulting from COVID emergency relief and outreach initiatives beginning in FY21.
Additional Relief Funding is Critical:
Montgomery County received $203,774,467 in relief funds from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. The Arts and Humanities sector of Montgomery County requested $10 million of that funding be used to provide $10 million in relief over three years. AHCMC received funding in FY 2021 and FY 2023 and requests a final tranche of funding in FY 2024 of $3.65 million to meet the community’s needs and complete our initial $10 million request.