State funding for Virginia Foundation for the Humanities in jeopardy

I can’t express it any better than the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities put it in a recent email, so I’ve copied that email into this post and you can follow the links to take action. I wrote to my delegate and senator here; the nice thing is that you can write to both at once with one easy web form.

Because you are a friend of the VIRGINIA FOUNDATION FOR THE HUMANITIES and its programs, including the Virginia Festival of the Book, VFH ASKS FOR YOUR HELP!
Over the weekend, the House Appropriations Committee voted to cut state funding for VFH by $290,000, effective July 1, 2010, and to eliminate all state funding for VFH, effective July 1, 2011. The Senate Finance Committee recommended cutting the VFH budget by $290,000 effective July 1, 2010, but recommended no further cuts. Each House will vote on its own budget on February 25, and the difference in the two budgets will be resolved in conference committee.

VFH has already experienced deep cuts, in the last two budget years, adversely affecting every VFH program. Additional cuts will undermine such well-known educational programs as the Virginia Festival of the Book, Encyclopedia Virginia, VFH Grants and Fellowships, With Good Reason Radio programs; African American, Virginia Indian, and Virginia Folklife Programs.

Call, fax, or email your Delegates and Senators to protest additional cuts to advocate for continued funding. You can find your legislators’ contact information here.
Be personal. Talk about your involvement and commitment to the VFH.
Forward this request to your boards, membership, and address book.
Post a comment on your Facebook or other social networking site, asking that other Virginians contact their legislators as well.
Write a post on your personal blog stating how you feel about these budget cuts.
Email or call your local news outlets to express your dismay and describe the effect of such cuts.

Talking Points for These Contacts with Legislators and Media Outlets
VFH funding and programs increase the attractiveness of the state as a tourism destination by assisting museums and cultural sites to provide excellent visitor experiences.
VFH Grants support organizations and communities important to you and your representatives.
VFH increases the attractiveness of communities to new businesses.
VFH builds the educational capacity of Virginia’s teachers by providing resources and professional development opportunities.
VFH provides financial and professional development support to Virginia’s museums, building community social capital and pride.
VFH Leverages state funds with cash and in-kind matches.
VFH promotes a vigorous exchange of ideas, and is a leader in modeling civil public dialogue. Radio shows like With Good Reason improve our understanding of the issues we face as a Commonwealth and a nation. The Virginia Festival of the Book is a nationally recognized model of public discussion. Now more than ever, our situation requires that we approach public policy with an understanding of the past, a willingness to confront issues of the present, and a commitment to shaping a more promising future.
Click here for additional information on how VFH programs contribute to the economic and educational vitality of the Commonwealth.

Additional Sources of Information on VFH Programs and Advocacy Tips
Effects of Cuts (doc)
Program Accomplishments (doc)
VFH Programs
VFH Website
VFH Mission and Strategic Vision
General VFH Information (doc)
Advocacy Tips (doc)
The Do’s and Don’ts of Legislative Letter Writing (pdf)
Advocacy Visit Report Form (doc)
About the Humanities (pdf)

Find Your General Assembly Representatives
Who’s My Legislator?
Contact Information of Senators
Contact Information of Delegates

4 Responses

  1. It’s always the arts that get the axe first. So frustrating.

    (That and employees’ salaries. My husband works for the university and they won’t be getting raises until 2013 at the earliest — five years without any sort of increase.)

  2. I think it’s so important to hang on to state support for the arts even in tough economic times — perhaps especially in tough times, when private donors are cutting back.

    Or if you want to talk straight economics, how valuable is the Festival of the Book, for instance, to Virginia’s economy? Super-valuable!

  3. Dear Elizabeth,

    Thank you for this post! It is one of the most thorough calls to action I have seen for the grave bollix on the General Assembly docket. A Virginian currently transplanted to Texas with my military husband, I’ve just now gotten wind of this, and I’m absolutely shocked. Thanks for posting the VFH’s step-by-step instructions on how we can take action.

    I had to bring this to the attention of all my readers on my own blog:

    Hopefully, we can rally our artist troops and stop the complete termination of the Virginia Commission for the Arts.

    Yours truly, Sarah McCoy

  4. Agreed — after reading this email, I could hardly *not* take action — all the steps and information are there. It took me maybe 5 minutes to compose an email and send it. Do it do it do it!

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