Funding Sources Get Reprieve

May 15, 2017

Independent filmmakers were among the many who watched and waited, with great concern, as Congress worked to arrive at a spending bill for the remainder of fiscal year 2017.

The Trump Administration had signaled a desire for significant cuts to both the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The arts world, however, breathed a sigh of relief on May 1 when the news broke that congressional leaders had reached an agreement that would not only maintain NEA funding for fiscal year 2017 but increase it by $2 million.

In a statement, the NEA struck an optimistic note, pointing out that the proposed appropriation of about $150 million was the level of funding that it requested from Congress in February 2016. “Congress released the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017, a bipartisan agreement that will fund the government for the remainder of FY 2017,” the NEA wrote in an email to the Los Angeles Times. “In this bill, the NEA is funded at its FY 2017 request level of $149.849 million. … The agency has been operating at its FY 2016 appropriation of $147.949 since October 1, 2016. Congress is expected to pass this bill later in the week, and the President is expected to sign it.”

The bill, which is now working its way toward President Trumps desk, includes $150 million for the National Endowment for the Arts and $150 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities — $2 million above the fiscal year 2016 level.

The viability of both the NEA and the NEH is key to projects seeking funding from either organization. As FC members well know, these funding sources will only issue grants to non-profits. So, instead of forming their own 501(c)3 organization, filmmakers often align themselves with FC, allowing them to apply for a wide range of funding opportunities.

We maintain an application procedure for sponsorship and filmmakers whose projects are accepted must demonstrate high professional standards, as well as a viable project plan and budget. As a supporting organization, FC is responsible for supervising the overall fiscal management of the project. This includes administering funds received in support of the project, overseeing the expenditure of funds to ensure adherence to the approved budget and funder requirements, and monitoring funder reporting requirements.