There's a reason The Metropolitan Museum of Art welcomes about seven million visitors each year and why after 9-11, the city asked it to reopen quickly.
“The museum was called by the mayor who said, ‘you need to open on Thursday. You need to be there for people,’ and you know when we got there, there were lines waiting to get in. People needed that inspiration and they will need that again and we will be there for that,” said Tom Schuler, Chief Government Affairs Officer of the MET.
Now, the MET is shuttered indefinitely because of the pandemic. It's projecting a 100 million-dollar shortfall. But cultural treasures without the MET’s deep pockets are having more difficulty weathering the storm.
So the MET created a social media campaign called #CongressSaveCulture that is asking for economic relief. It succeeded in getting some funding. But this industry leader says more could still be done.
“Congress can change the tax code so that whole donation could be deductible on their taxes,” said Schuler.
How much cash flow could that create for organizations?
“It could be billions of dollars for institutions nationwide,” said Schuler.
Meanwhile, some of the biggest names in charitable giving, like Carnegie Corporation and Bloomberg Philanthropies, have created the NYC COVID-19 Response and Impact Fund.
The New York City COVID-19 response and impact fund provides $75 million to help small and mid-size arts organizations with interest free loans.
“Organizations have to have an annual operating budget of less than $20 million, be a 501C3 in good legal standing, and have a track record for robust service to the people of New York, and be NYC based,” said Kate Levin, or the Bloomberg Philanthropies Arts Program.
Kate Levin who served 12 years as he city's cultural affairs commissioner says perhaps a thousand different organizations could be eligible.
Some of them also provide a lot of social services. That’s absolutely true. A place like Carnegie Hall has one of the best music education programs. The Queens Museum has one of the best art programs for people with disabilities anywhere in the world. The Mark Morris Dance Group in Brooklyn has one of the finest organizations that serves people with Parkinson’s.
“There’s a lot going on outside our windows that is not pleasant, but when it’s over people are going to want to come back to their museums and their zoos and their gardens and their performing arts centers and the orchestra’s to renew and regenerate and to feel their souls living again” said Schuler.
For more on donating or receiving help from the consortium fund go to NYCommunityTrust.Org.