Arlington, VA—The Council on Foundations issued the following letter to the president and congressional leadership urging them to agree upon a path forward in the best interest of the country as federal deficit deliberations continue. As the leader of a national membership association representing the diverse perspectives of more than 1,700 philanthropic organizations, Council President and CEO Vikki Spruill underscored the important position the philanthropic sector holds in communities across America. She reinforced that philanthropy alone cannot meet the needs of vulnerable communities if we do not resolve our nation’s fiscal crisis.
In letters sent to the president and congressional leaders, Spruill states: “The Council recognizes that in an era of fiscal austerity, the philanthropic sector will be called upon to meet the needs of some of our most vulnerable communities and neighbors who otherwise would have to bear the brunt of painful cuts in government programs.”
Spruill pledged the Council’s commitment to do its part in confronting our nation’s fiscal challenges by stepping up to help meet the needs that will arise as a consequence of inevitable government cutbacks. However, the philanthropic sector cannot do its part if the resources available to invest in its communities are substantially reduced as a result of limiting the charitable deduction. The Council recognizes a reality acknowledged by leaders of both parties: In addition to spending cuts, revenue increases will be part of the solution to our fiscal challenges.
In the letters, Spruill also states that hard choices must be made. The Council believes that further limiting the charitable deduction, through a deduction cap or otherwise, would result in a loss of billions of dollars each year in contributions that would otherwise serve the critical needs of our communities. Moreover, any limit on the charitable deduction would be borne not by those individuals with the most resources, but by those with the least—the members of our communities who rely on philanthropy to provide hope and opportunity unmet by our government.
The letters were sent to President Barack Obama, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
The Council on Foundations, formed in 1949, is a nonprofit membership association of grantmaking foundations and corporations. Members of the Council include more than 1,700 independent, operating, community, public, and company-sponsored foundations, and corporate giving programs in the United States and abroad. The Council's mission is to provide the opportunity, leadership, and tools needed by philanthropic organizations to expand, enhance, and sustain their ability to advance the common good.