The arts play an essential role in reflecting the heritage and transmitting the culture of society. As a result, advocates often urge arts education in the public schools as a method of fostering understanding and appreciation of the arts. Although the public appears to support the goals of arts education, government at all levels often cannot or will not provide the resources to establish and maintain quality programs. Advocates therefore often rely upon the private sector, especially foundations, to establish and fund such programs. Historically, philanthropic organizations often have played this role, a fact which Congress uses to justify allowing such organizations tax-exempt status.

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