July 27, 2020
I wanted to take a moment to briefly update you on a few things regarding RISCA, our current round of grants, and preparations for our October 1 deadline.
In previous communications we’ve discussed how the state’s financial situation has affected the grant applications we received back in April of this year. To recap, all applications have been reviewed by peer review panelists and have had an initial review by our Council. However, we will not be announcing any grants until after the General Assembly has passed a budget and Governor Raimondo has signed it into law.
For now, the Governor and General Assembly are waiting until Congress has addressed the very serious challenges – financial and otherwise – facing us through the Coronavirus pandemic. There is some reason to believe that additional resources will be available through the federal government to support Rhode Island, and our state budget will be passed once Washington has finalized a relief package.
Aside from delaying notification on grants that were scheduled to begin on July 1, what does that mean for us? Currently, Rhode Island has an estimated $400 million deficit going into this fiscal year. A deficit of this magnitude would mean significant cuts across state government, including cuts in support of the arts. Under the circumstances, the appropriate thing for us to do is wait until we know something about our budget before we take any action regarding grants or other financial support to the arts community.
Typically we would “open up” our next cycle of grant applications on August 1. This would allow artists and arts organizations about two months to prepare and submit their application for RISCA’s October 1 deadline. We have decided not to open this next cycle of grant applications until we know more about our budget. In the event of significant cuts we may be forced to reduce or even eliminate October 1 grant opportunities. Please know that if funding is available for October 1 grants we may be able to adjust the deadline to provide additional time for applications to be prepared and submitted, depending on when a budget is finalized.
We don’t anticipate the need to take drastic measures, but we must be prepared nonetheless. For now, please know that we value the contributions that you make to the cultural and economic vitality of our state, and we look forward to continuing to support your work on behalf of all Rhode Islanders.
Please stay safe and healthy!