How to Guide to Getting Congressional Earmarks

Recorded On: 03/03/2023


imageAbout this Webinar

This webinar is now available on demand. Captions will be available in a few business days. Feel free to use the discussion board to ask question and leave comments!

The Americans for the Arts’ Government Affairs team will host this timely advocacy webinar on Congressionally Directed Spending Requests (Earmarks) on March 2nd 3 p.m. ET. Learn about the earmark process; best practices for securing an earmark; and examples of how nonprofit arts, governmental arts, and arts education groups secured millions of dollars last year. The application period for earmarks is short, so please attend to learn how to navigate the process quickly and efficiently.

Learning Objectives:
  • Learning about the appropriations and earmark process
  • Learning from numerous examples of arts projects that received millions of dollars in funding. 
  • Learning that earmarks are meant for arts programmers, advocates and enthusiasts who wish to enhance their communities through the arts.  

Nolen V. Bivens

President and CEO

Americans for the Arts

Nolen V. Bivens, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts, is a former U.S. Army General and serves as chair of the National Leadership Advisory Council, the National Initiative for Arts & Health Across the Military (NIAHM); military community advisor for the National Endowment for the Arts Military Healing Arts Network’s Creative Forces program, and senior Policy Fellow on Arts & Military.

Bivens is president of Leader Six, Inc. and has executive leadership experience delivering successful results for public, private sector, and nonprofit organizations with $1B (+) in annual revenue, including strategic business development and sales at the VP level for a top four defense corporation, General Dynamics Mission Systems. A retired U.S. Army Brigadier General, he’s held leadership and staff positions from company through Army and Joint Pentagon Staff and U.S. Combatant and Special Operations Command levels. He has testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, and co-chairs the National Leadership Advisory Committee for NIAHM. He has been guest speaker for national nonprofit conferences, the Aspen Seminar for Leadership in the Arts; and is a contributing writer for the Smithsonian Institution, HuffPost, and American for the Arts’ social media.

Bivens holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from South Carolina State University, a Master of Science in Management from the Naval Post Graduate School, and a Master of Science in National Security and Strategic Studies from the National Defense University.

Nina Ozlu Tunceli

Chief Counsel of Government and Public Affairs, Americans for the Arts

Executive Director, Americans for the Arts Action Fund

Nina is both Chief Counsel of Government and Public Affairs at Americans for the Arts as well as the Executive Director of the Americans for the Arts Action Fund. Since 1993, Nina has served as the chief policy strategist for Americans for the Arts’ federal, state, and local government and public affairs work, grassroots advocacy campaigns, policy development, and national coalition-building efforts with both cultural and civic organizations to advance the arts in America. In 2009, she spearheaded the very successful “Arts = Jobs” advocacy campaign that strategically secured $50 million of federal support for more than 7,000 arts jobs and millions of dollars more for arts infrastructure projects within the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Nina produces several programmatic events annually, including National Arts Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill; the Nancy Hanks Lecture on Arts and Public Policy at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; and the National Public Leadership in the Arts Awards, which are presented in partnership with the United States Conference of Mayors.

Serving simultaneously as the executive director of the Americans for the Arts Action Fund and its connected Political Action Committee, the only dedicated arts PAC in America, Nina mobilizes the political and legislative efforts of more than 420,000 citizen activists in advancing arts policy issues among legislators and candidates seeking federal public office.  She recently completed ArtsVote2012, culminating with high profile arts policy events at both the Republican National Convention in Tampa and the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. She is a graduate of The George Washington University with a B.A. in French Literature, and of The University of Richmond School of Law with a J.D.  She is a member of the Virginia State Bar.

Tooshar Swain

Director of Public Policy

Americans for the Arts

Before joining Americans for the Arts, Tooshar served as Director of Public Policy and Advocacy at the National Association for Music Education. There he oversaw federal and state policy initiatives while supporting music educators in their efforts to advocate for their music programs. During this time, he also served as a board member for both the Committee for Education Funding and the Title IV-A Coalition.

Tooshar began his career on Capitol Hill working on tax policy, judiciary, and healthcare issues in the United States Senate. Following his time on Capitol Hill, Tooshar joined the Bio technology Innovation Organization where we worked on tax policy and financial service issues for emerging companies. Tooshar has also worked as both a policy and communications consultant for presidential and congressional campaigns.

As the husband of a teacher and the father of two daughters, Tooshar has seen firsthand the need for the arts in a child’s life. This drives his commitment to advocacy for the arts on all levels.

Bill Harper

Government Affairs Consultant

Bill Harper is a Minnesota-based government affairs consultant specializing in federal policy and congressional appropriations. Harper retired from the U.S. House of Representatives in February 2023 after serving 22-years as chief of staff to Minnesota Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL-MN04), a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee. Harper has vast experience advancing both domestic and national security policy initiatives while also driving a robust appropriations agenda, especially during Rep. McCollum’s tenure as chair of the Interior, Environment Appropriations subcommittee in the 116th Congress and chair of the Defense Appropriations subcommittee in the 117th Congress. In his role as chief of staff, Harper directed the effort to restore funding to Save America’s Treasures, protect and increase funding for the NEA, and helped to secure over $9 million in community project funding in FY2023 to arts organizations in Minnesota’s 4th congressional district.

Prior to the U.S. House, Harper served as campaign manager for Betty McCollum’s first race for Congress in 2000, at the time making her only the second woman ever elected to federal office in Minnesota history.

Robert Chelimsky

Playwrights’ Center, Managing Director

Playwrights’ Center

Robert Chelimsky is in his sixth season as the managing director at Playwrights’ Center, and his twenty-sixth as an executive leader in the nonprofit arts. In that span, in addition to other projects, he co-founded (with Charles R. Miller) the Smoky Mt. Shakespeare Festival/Bard of Education Shakespeare-in-the-Schools program, executive produced world premieres of Dispatches from (A)mended America by Godfrey L. Simmons, Jr. and Brandt Adams, and Nilaja Sun’s Pike St., the NY premiere of Jeanne Sakata’s Hold These Truths Off-Broadway, and partnered with Vivienne Benesch and Ethan McSweeney to create the Chautauqua New Play Commission. Now, in partnership with Jeremy B. Cohen, the staff, and the board of Playwrights’ Center, he has worked to deepen Playwrights’ Center’s organizational and financial durability and resilience, while expanding the breadth and depth of the Center’s support for playwrights, and leading the All Narratives Campaign to build the organization’s new home and next chapter. He’s proud to have served his communities by spending seven years on regional boards for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, as well as multiple terms on the board of Uprising Theater. He is currently the president of the board of the French-American Chamber of Commerce-MN. For all of that, his most valued roles are Katharine’s (24) and Winter’s (13) dad, and Emily’s husband.


How to Guide to Getting Congressional Earmarks
The Americans for the Arts’ Government Affairs team will host this timely advocacy webinar on Congressionally Directed Spending Requests (Earmarks) on March 6 at 3 p.m. ET. Learn about the earmark process; best practices for securing an earmark; and examples of how nonprofit arts, governmental arts, and arts education groups secured millions of dollars last year. The application period for earmarks is short, so please attend to learn how to navigate the process quickly and efficiently. Live event: 03/02/2023 at 3:00 PM (EST) You must register to access.
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