On behalf of my organization's board, we respectfully urge Gov. Neil Abercrombie's administration to support funding for the Hawai'i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts Biennium Grant Program. We ask that his administration rescind any decisions or actions that would impose additional cuts to HSFCA's already reduced Fiscal Year 2013 budget.
In Fiscal Year 2012, HSFCA Biennium Grant Program recipients were informed that biennium grant amounts would be reduced by 60 percent. This reduction, which came with no forewarning, was a difficult financial blow. But, adversely affected organizations adapted as best as they could in the circumstances.
HSFCA staff has recently informed us that, not only will the 60 percent reduction in biennium grant funding continue into Fiscal Year 2013, even further budget cuts are anticipated. HSFCA staff admitted that grant funding was sinking to its lowest level in 20 years, and that they had never seen it lower. The prospect of additional cuts midway through the biennium poses serious financial challenges for hundreds of nonprofit organizations that rely upon HSFCA and its statutory mission of furthering culture, the arts and the humanities. Such cuts are especially disheartening given recent news regarding the recovering economy and improvements in state revenues and budget balances.
HSFCA funding is a very small portion of the state budget, but those dollars accomplish much good. The arts foster creativity, expand our capacity to imagine, enliven our lives and communities, lift our spirits, and re-energize our economy.