As I write this, foundation leaders are meeting with their Members of Congress and congressional staff to discuss issues critical to their districts and, more broadly, to philanthropy. This year Foundations on the Hill had over 250 participants! Grantmakers have come to Washington, DC to inform and educate Congress about philanthropy, create visibility for foundations and philanthropy on Captiol Hill, advocate on issues affecting our field, and encourage Congress to view foundations as resources on key public policy issues.
Yesterday, participants ran through a full day of programming geared towards preparing them for today’s visits. Among the program highlights were sessions with Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD). A full recap of Rep. Blumenauer’s session is available from the Chronicle of Philanthropy.
During his remarks at the joint Council, Forum, and Alliance for Charitable Reform luncheon, Council CEO Steve Gunderson echoed what has become a theme of this year’s FOTH, “Philanthropy represents independence, innovation, and investments to advance the public good.” The meetings taking place today mark the beginning of a relationship between philanthropic entities and their federal representatives that will last well-beyond these two days in DC, often resulting in productive long term conversations on how the public and private sectors can work together to better each district.
The issues focused on in today’s Hill meetings include:
- Simplifying the excise tax on private foundation on net investment income to a flat rate
- Maintaining the current law permitting full deductibility of itemized charitable deductions
- Providing challenge and capacity building grants to benefit economically distressed rural counties
- Permanently extending the IRA chartable roll over and expanding the provision to remove the limits on donor age and gift size
Be sure to follow all the action as it happens on Twitter using the hashtag #FOTH.