On Thursday, March 16, 2017, President Trump sent an outline of his proposed FY 2018 budget to Congress, to be followed by a more detailed proposal in the spring. The budget, known as “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again,” proposes a $54 billion increase in defense and public safety spending that is offset by equivalent cuts in discretionary non-defense programs. Included in those cuts are reductions in, or the total elimination of, funding for federal agencies with a history of supporting cultural heritage organizations and projects, including:
– National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)
– Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
– National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)
Budgets are still to be determined for other agencies with archives-related programs such as:
– National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
– National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) of NARA
– Library of Congress
– Smithsonian Institution
As archivists, librarians, and museum professionals, we know how our collections, institutions, and local communities have benefited from grant funding from these federal agencies. We collect statistics about the work we accomplish under these grants, but we also know that the impact goes far beyond numbers alone.
SAA’s Committee on Public Awareness is looking for stories that convey the impact that federal funding has had on individuals, our institutions, and in our local communities! Collected stories will be gathered, published online, and promoted by the Society of American Archivists through their website and social media channels. We hope to gather stories representing all types of archival repositories, and in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, so please consider sharing your story–no impact is too small when it comes to advocating for federal support for the arts and humanities!
Consider: Did your federal grant-funded project empower K–12 educators to teach with primary sources, connect family members through genealogical records, or inspire a community art project? Did a federal grant enable your institution to create jobs, contract with an external vendor, or carry out a project that had a fiscal impact on your institution? It is these stories of direct impact, whether personal or fiscal, and at all levels–within your institution, your local community, or even on a national scale–that speak to the true value of federal grant funding for the arts and humanities.
Personal impact is powerful. Please share the details of your federally funded project and the story of its impact.