November 23, 2020
What a year it’s been! As 2020 draws to a close, we look back with gratitude on the bright spots in a challenging year, and few of them glow brighter than our strong, passionate, and generous GlassRoots community. We also look ahead to next year with hope, knowing that with supporters like you, we will be able to face any challenges that may come and continue providing an impactful educational and life-affirming experience to the students we serve.
The devastating coronavirus pandemic forced us to close our studios in March, but within two weeks, we quickly implemented our innovative Virtual Studios programs. Determined to stay connected to our community, our dedicated and innovative staff created a series of daily, online programs using our social media channels as broadcast stations that engaged more than 20,000 people from around the world!
Additionally, we created GlassRoots At Home, our remote learning programs that expand upon and utilize our expertise and experience in glass-art making, and which promote hands-on learning through the use of at-home activity kits.
When you support GlassRoots, you support innovation, connection, perseverance and resilience - in our spunky organization, and in our students. While we were faced with challenges we never could have anticipated, we also learned new ways of operating that will enable us to stay engaged with an even larger/broader audience going forward.
We have incorporated what we’ve learned into our new hybrid programs, which we have added to very small, socially distanced, in-person classes and private lessons. Our new array of offerings will keep our students engaged and learning until we’re in our new home, within the Newark Arts Commons, early next year.
In the midst of this all, we began our celebration of our 20th year! We know that for the past two decades, the transformative power of the GlassRoots experience has changed lives and reshaped the Newark community. By giving to GlassRoots, you’ll help us continue adapting into next year and beyond to ensure our students have access to the exceptional experiences they need and deserve. Your support makes this happen. Within this new reality, your contributions are more important than ever.
If you are able to do so, please support GlassRoots and all of our students and programs by donating today. If you’re able to give online, at glassroots.org/donate, we’ll be able to put your gift to work immediately. Otherwise, we have enclosed a return envelope for your convenience. GlassRoots is also able to accept gifts of stock or securities. Our Development Director, Karen Gonon, would be happy to assist you with these gifts, or answer any questions you may have. She can be reached at 973-353-9555
With our heartfelt appreciation and best wishes,
Barbara Heisler, CEO
PIVOT REPORT: GlassRoots held its very first Virtual Youth Entrepreneurial Spirit (YES!) Business Plan Competition in response to COVID-19 to keep some sort of normality to our program for our students. We nervously planned the event – with no idea how it would turn out. Delightfully, the responses to our students’ posts and submissions of votes came pouring in - GlassRoots followers were fully engaged! The students went all out – sharing their Business Competition posts with their classmates and family members to encourage votes. Once all the votes were counted; student Izavia was ultimately awarded 1st place in the competition. We’re so proud that each of the YES! Full day and after-school cohorts completed their programs. While the ending wasn’t optimal, we anticipate incorporating a virtual presence into future Business Plan Competitions.
CARES Act for Nonprofits – On Friday, March 27, the Congress passed and the President signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a
$2 trillion economic stimulus package legislated to provide immediate relief for nonprofits. As the extended deadline for tax filing nears, we wanted you to know that donating to nonprofits is important, and can be beneficial to all parties.
High Level Information
New Deduction Available: Up to $300 per taxpayer ($600 for a married couple) in annual charitable contributions. This is available only to people who take the standard deduction (for taxpayers who do not itemize their deductions). It is an “above the line” adjustment to income that will reduce a donor’s adjusted gross income (AGI), and thereby reduce taxable income. A donation to a donor advised fund (DAF) does not qualify for this new deduction.
New Charitable Deduction Limits: As part of the bill, individuals and corporations that itemize can deduct much greater amounts of their contributions. Individuals can elect to deduct donations up to 100% of their 2020 AGI (up from 60% previously). Corporations may deduct up to 25% of taxable income, up from the previous limit of 10%. The new deduction is for gifts that go to a public charity, such as GlassRoots. The old deduction rules apply to gifts to private foundations. The higher deduction does not apply to donations directly to a DAF.
Required Min. Distributions Waived in 2020 for Most Donors: Required minimum distributions (RMD) that would have had to start in 2020 do not have to start until 2021, including distributions from defined benefit pension plans and 457 plans. This change will dampen somewhat the incentive for a donor to make a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) from their IRA in 2020. Even so, making a QCD this year will still allow itemizers and non-itemizers alike to direct up to $100,000 from their IRA to charities in a tax efficient manner.
Details About CARES Act
The inclusion of an expanded charitable giving incentive is a critical acknowledgement by Congress that the work of nonprofits like GlassRoots are essential services.
Here’s How it Works
New Deduction Available: The bill makes a new deduction available for up to $300 per taxpayer ($600 for a married couple) in annual charitable contributions. This is particularly beneficial to people who take the standard deduction when filing their taxes (in other words for taxpayers who do not itemize their deductions). It is calculated by subtracting the amount of the donation from your gross income. It is an “above the line” adjustment to income that will reduce your AGI, and thereby reduce taxable income.
To qualify, you would have to give a donation to a qualified charity. If you have already made your donation since Jan. 1, that contribution counts toward the $300 cap. A donation to a donor-advised fund (DAF) does not qualify for this new deduction.
New Charitable Deduction Limits: Also part of the bill, individuals and corporations that itemize can deduct much greater amounts of their contributions.
Individuals can elect to deduct cash contributions, up to 100% of their 2020 adjusted gross income, on itemized 2020 tax returns. This is up from the previous limit of 60%. Corporations may deduct up to 25% of taxable income, up from the previous limit of 10%.
The new deduction is only for cash gifts that go to a public charity. If you give cash to, say, your private foundation, the old deduction rules apply. And while the organizations that manage DAF’s are public charities, you do not get the higher deduction for donating cash to your DAF. These new limits do not apply to gifts of appreciated stock.
If your assets are substantial enough that you can give more than your income this year, you won’t lose the deduction for the excess amount. You can use it next year, as has always been the case.
Required minimum distributions waived in 2020 for most donors: RMD for individuals over age 70 ½ are suspended until 2021. This includes distributions from defined benefit pension plans and 457 plans. The RMD is an attractive way for donors to make a significant charitable gift directly from their IRA to a charity through a qualified charitable contribution (QCD) while avoiding taxable income. The suspension of the RMD may dampen somewhat the incentive for a donor who makes a gift from their IRA to count toward that minimum. However, the tax benefit of the QCD remains.
The takeaway - donors directing a QCD to charity this year (up to $100,000 per individual) will still reduce their taxable IRA balance. This allows all taxpayers, itemizers and non-itemizers alike, to direct gifts from their IRA to charities in a tax efficient manner.
For more information about how GlassRoots uses your gifts, please contact our Development team!
This information is not intended as legal or tax advice. For such advice, please consult an attorney or tax advisor. Figures cited in any examples are for illustrative purposes only. References to tax rates include federal taxes only and are subject to change. State law may further impact your individual results.
We're taking a 'pause' the week of June 22-26; but only because we're getting ready to re-open in July!
For the week of June 22- June 26, GlassRoots is taking a break. Staff will be off, and we won't be adding any new installments to our Virtual Studios during that week.
Since the second week of our quarantine, our teaching artists, entrepreneurship team, board, and staff have been working very hard to provide fun, educational and useful content through all of our social media channels. We hope you enjoyed our Artists Talks in Through the Looking Glass; our design challenges in You Design It, We Make It and the Make It At Home Challenge; our Facebook and Netflix watch parties, Collector's Corners, WorkerSpace Lectures, uplifting posts and even the wacky Scavenger Hunt! As our YES! students finished their entrepreneurship programs remotely, your online votes helped crown our winner! And, we hosted our very first Virtual Hot Shots - a concert in your living room celebrating all that is GlassRoots!
Our goal through this all was to engage with you, our community. We know what a difficult time this has been for everyone, and we do hope our programming brought joy and perhaps new knowledge and creativity to your home. In reality, it was a time of testing and learning for us as well. Who knew that a glass art studio that is, by design, so hands-on, could pivot so quickly to providing quality distance-learning content?
Indeed, as the future holds such uncertainty, we are now poised to offer remote classes as a regular feature of our programming. With a unique hybrid model of taped and live instruction supported by pre-assembled glass art kits, we can bring parts of GlassRoots to you, as an individual or a group activity.
With our mobile hot shop, we anticipate announcing public glass blowing demonstrations outside of our studios as we keep the flame going. We are hoping that some corporations may wish to have us park outside of their offices this summer?
And, when the timing is right, we'll be re-opening our studios for in-studio programs as well; offering classes with capped capacity and individual lessons delivered with social distancing in mind.
You can read more about our Phased-in Reopening Plan here, including the precautions we're implementing to keep our staff and you safe.
None of this is easy. We are working with City and State officials in making all of our plans, and will make revisions along the way. We will do our very best to keep you informed, and welcome your thoughts and suggestions.
Of course, we have experienced significant financial loss over the past two months with the suspension of our school programs and spring lessons. With our summer season also in flux, we expect lower enrollment and much higher costs – as a small nonprofit business, we’re feeling it. We are deeply grateful for any support you can provide right now. If you are not planning to come to our studios and are willing to donate what would have been your class fees, please let us know, or click here to donate. We intend to keep up the fight and continue providing programs for years to come.
While we're gone this coming week, you can enjoy the amazing programs that aired in March, April and May on our YouTube, Facebook and Instagram channels. We'll be back on July 2 with the next episode of our WorkerSpace Lecture Series.
With our very best wishes for your continued health and safety,
Statement from the Board and Staff of GlassRoots
June 1, 2020
Art is powerful. Art can transform society and individuals. Art can lay the foundation for creation of institutions of justice and civil society. Art allows for coming together as a people of love. The staff and board of GlassRoots stand with our students, community members, and supporters, and express our outrage at the racial violence that has filled our streets this spring once again. We acknowledge the pain of our community and those around the country. At a time when we should be joined to fight a viral killer, the virus that is killing our black and brown brothers and sisters is the sickness of racism.
At GlassRoots, we intend to keep making our art in support of community and social justice, to hold programs that create economic opportunity, to tell our students that they can be agents of change, to open their eyes to opportunities to rise up and fully embrace their potential.
Our Newark knows better than most American cities the wages of the sin of institutional and individual racism. Decades of rebuilding have put this great city in its rightful place as one of America’s jewels. Even so, we continue to fight racism daily, when we get those calls wondering if it is “safe” to come to our studios, when it is suggested that we move our studios to the suburbs, when our students don’t have access to the same educational opportunities that their suburban peers enjoy, including reliable WiFi at home, and when too many of our residents face disparate treatment in the criminal justice system.
We often talk about what people see when they look at GlassRoots. Do they see a place to buy glass, a nice after-school program, an art school? We know what we see – what we are – an organization using the arts to move forward toward a just community, one that values every individual’s contribution, and that represents the cultural and economic vitality inherent in a city as vibrant as Newark.
We at GlassRoots will continue to tell our students and everyone in this city that their lives matter; that we stand up for justice for George, for Breonna, for Ahmaud; that we stand for the Black transgender women who have been killed: Dustin, Neulisa, Yampi, Monika, Lexi, Johanna, Serena, Layla, Penélope, Nina, Helle, and Tony.
Art, at its highest expression, is a political act and a conscious effort to create and participate in social change and social justice. We encourage everyone to use art as a tool for healing. We at GlassRoots make these commitments to our students, to our staff, to our board, and to our community.
GlassRoots is seeking an individual to act as teacher, guide, mentor and coordinator for a unique college/career prep program it runs in collaboration with Peter’s Valley School of Craft. This individual will be key to success of the program, as the primary curricular liaison between the two organizations and the Fellows.
The GlassRoots Fellowship Mentor (“the Mentor”) will assist the Program Director with recruiting candidates to the Fellowship and in writing the training curriculum; instructing students in the initial five-week, foundational training course with GlassRoots staff and artists at its studios in Newark; preparing students for the 7-week intensive craft training program at Peters Valley; distributing pre and post-program evaluations; providing data to support submission of interim and final reports; maintaining contact with the cohort throughout the program, on-site and via phone, and offering follow up programming and contact to track participant outcomes for up to two years following program participation.
GlassRoots, is located in Newark, NJ, with the mission to transform the lives of underserved youth through the process of making glass art. We are a small nonprofit and we function as a supportive team to accomplish our mission.
As of May 4, 2020, the search has been suspended.