This morning over 300 philanthropic leaders gathered together at the 2013 Alliance for Charitable Reform Summit for Leaders as part of Foundations on the Hill, an annual opportunity for grantmakers and regional associations to meet with their federal lawmakers in Washington, D.C. At the summit, they heard from Congressional staff and public policy leaders about the most pressing issues facing the charitable sector.
As foundation leaders and regional association staff meet with Members of Congress across the next two days, they’ll be stressing the importance of protecting the charitable deduction. A donor who itemizes can take a deduction on his or her gift at the same rate as his or her tax rate. The charitable deduction encourages charitable giving, benefiting communities across the country. As Congress considers ways to raise revenue and simplify the tax code, the charitable deduction has come under scrutiny as a potential revenue generator. However, the charitable deduction is very different from other tax benefits because it is the only one that encourages individuals to give away a portion of their income without getting anything back.
Any effort to cap or limit the charitable giving will have a devastating impact on nonprofits. Academic studies of President Obama’s proposed cap of 28 percent project that up to $5.6 billion in charitable giving would be lost each year—that’s the equivalent of the annual operating budgets of the Red Cross, Goodwill, the YMCA, Habitat for Humanity, the Boys and Girls Clubs, Catholic Charities, and the American Cancer Society combined. The Forum, the Council, and the Philanthropy Roundtable encourage Congress to advance proposals to increase giving, not limit it.
To follow all the action as foundations head to the Hill, follow the hashtag #FOTH on Twitter. For more information on how to protect the charitable deduction, visit the website of the Charitable Giving Coalition at www.protectgiving.org. The time to use your voice is now.