The Deficit Debate's Impact on Charitable Giving: An Updated Look at the Challenges Philanthropy will Face from the Proposed 28% Cap on Charitable Deductions (11-17-2011)
The Deficit Debate's Impact on Charitable Giving Hill briefing, hosted by the Council on Foundations, focused on the potential effects of capping the tax deduction on charitable giving and the ability of nonprofit organizations to serve millions of Americans. Staffers from the offices of Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), John Thune (R-S.D.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Reps. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio), Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.), Mike Doyle (D-Penn.), and John Lewis (D-Ga.) attended. Reporters from the Associated Press, the Washington Post, and Bloomberg News also attended.
Andrew Schulz, the Council's vice president of legal and government relations, moderated the discussion. Speakers included Patrick Rooney Ph.D., executive director of The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University; Eugene Steuerle Ph.D., fellow and Richard B. Fisher chair at the Urban Institute; and Linda Reed, executive director of The Montana Community Foundation.
Rooney described how the one-third of Americans who itemize their deductions would curtail giving if a cap were to be enacted. "An uncertain economy," he noted, "is the enemy of philanthropy." Steuerle said we need to find new ways to reduce the federal deficit and increase charitable giving—such as repealing the excise tax on private foundations and extending the charitable giving deadline for tax filers. Reed offered a snapshot of how charities and charitable giving are functioning in difficult economic times and explained how capping the deduction could further harm residents of her rural state, many of whom are poor and elderly.
Back to top.
Innovation at Work: Philanthropy Partners with Public and Private Sectors to Drive Local Workforce Solutions (6-23-2011)
The Innovation at Work Hill briefing, hosted by the Council on Foundations' Public-Philanthropic Partnership Initative, focused on how innovative solutions in philanthropy are helping low-wage and disadvantaged workers secure the skills training necessary to attain good jobs and matching employers with the high-quality workers they seek.
During the briefing, panelists discussed how public-private partnerships are critical in the current down economy and how philanthropy remains a vital and innovative way to infuse flexible dollars into the workforce system to decrease unemployment.
The panelists included Bob Giloth, vice president of the Center for Family Economic Success and Community Change at The Annie E. Casey Foundation; Susan Crane of the Seattle Foundation and executive director of SkillUp Washington; Kelly Lucas, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of South Wood County in Wisconsin; Ross Meyer, executive director of the Greater Cincinnati Workforce Network in Ohio; and Pete Strange, chairman of Messer Inc. in Cincinnati. The Council's Stephanie Powers, managing director of the Public-Philanthropic Partnership Initiative, served as moderator. Reps. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) and Chaka Fatah (D-Penn.)-whose districts both house NFWS sites-also attended.
For more on the Innovation at Work Hill briefing, read the blog post by Conaway B. Haskins III, project director for the National Fund for Workforce Solutions.
Back to top.
Smart Growth in Action: Philanthropy’s Role in Making Our Communities More Livable (9-16-2010)
This "Smart Growth"Hill briefing, hosted by the Council on Foundations and presented with the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities, focused on innovative approaches to smart growth and livable community issues. The briefing also attempted to identify the role philanthropy and the government play in advancing smarter growth policies and practices.
Scot Spencer, the moderator of the briefing, and board chair of the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities, opened by sharing with attendees that philanthropy has been working on issues related to growth and development for years.
“Whether supporting the emergence of community development fields, convening advocates, practitioners and public officials to think through critical issues, using both sides of its endowments, grants and PRIs; to study practices, build communities, analyze policies or leverage public and private sector investments, we as a field see our role as a partner with government.”
While smart growth is often times characterized as livable communities, sustainable development, responsible and equitable development, Spencer said they all have the same basic principle, strengthening existing communities and focusing development around existing infrastructure; ensuring that people can live close to their daily needs such as work, play and school; that communities include a mix of housing choices, and that the benefits of these policies and practices are fair and inclusive to people from all backgrounds.
Panelist for the Smart Growth Hill briefing include: Don Chen, program officer at Ford Foundation; Kevin Murphy, president of the Berks County Community Foundation; Lee Sheehy, region and communities program director at The McKnight Foundation ; and Kate Rube, policy director at Smart Growth America .
Back to top.
Building Bridges: Philanthropy's Role in Linking Early Learning and K-12 Education (4-21-2010)
Research shows that student educational outcomes in high school and in college are directly related to early education.
The “Building Bridges” Hill briefing was hosted by the Council on Foundations in partnership with Grantmakers for Education and Grantmakers for Children, Youth and Families. The event brought together congressional staffers, researchers and educators in order to highlight the importance of investing in early learning programs, encouraging the creation of a strong continuum from pre-kindergarten to grade 12 and to recognize philanthropy’s catalytic role in integrating early learning with K-12 education.
Briefing panelist included: Ruby Takanishi, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Foundation for Child Development; Sterling K. Speirn, JD, president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation; Lois Salisbury, JD, director of the Children, Families, and Communities Program at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation; and event moderator Ralph Smith, JD, executive vice president of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Research proves that when children participate in early learning programs the overall school readiness gap is reduced, cognitive and executive functioning skills are improved, and, especially for disadvantaged children, more favorable academic and behavioral outcomes are achieved.
During Takanishi’s remarks, she noted that the country’s current K-12 educational system is fragmented and neglects the first six years of a child’s education. As Congress begins to consider the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the “Building Bridges” Hill briefing promotes an alternative approach to the country’s current educational system.
For more information about the “Building Bridges” Hill briefing, check out our blog.
Back to top.
Learning from Haiti: Philanthropy's Role in Responding to Domestic and International Crises (3-4-2010)
After the 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck the island-country of Haiti on Jan. 12, the philanthropic sector immediately responded to the needs of the Haitian people while demonstrating leadership and effectiveness, and serving as a viable resource for the public. More than 125 Council on Foundations members reported contributing to relief and recovery efforts in Haiti. In total, foundations pledged nearly $76 million in direct support.
During the briefing, panelist discussed work already taking place in Haiti and how philanthropy will play a crucial role in the long-term rebuilding efforts of the country. Marie M. Saint Cyr, board chair of the Lambi Fund of Haiti, outlined the fund’s four-phase strategy to help rural communities throughout Haiti cope with the exodus of people that fled Port-au-Prince after the earthquake. In partnering with local grassroots organizations, Cyr said the fund’s mid to long-term strategy includes the delivery of food and essential items, building rural areas, expanding sustainable agriculture programs, and increasing opportunities for sustainable income and livelihoods for those displaced by the earthquake.
A survey conducted the by the Foundation Center, a national nonprofit service organization, revealed that one in five of the 120 foundations responding to the survey indicated they have a formal plan in place to respond to disasters. Sixteen percent of them noted that they had in-house expertise regarding disaster relief and 37 percent indicated they had in-house expertise regarding nonprofit organizations that may be particularly well-positioned to respond to disasters like the earthquake in Haiti.
Members of the “Learning from Haiti” panel included: Donna Barry, director of policy and advocacy at Partners in Health; Javier Alberto Soto, president of the Dade Community Foundation; Marie M. Saint Cyr, board chair of the Lambi Fund of Haiti; and David Etzwiler, executive director of the Medtronic Foundation.
For information about disaster grantmaking check out our blog.
Back to top.
Innovation at Work: Philanthropy's Role in Preparing Americans for the Jobs of Tomorrow (11-12-2009)
Well before the current economic recession, traditional ideas that define work in America were shifting. As such, philanthropy is helping communities around the country better understand the workforce challenges facing Americans and the business community.
As we shift to a global marketplace, for many individuals this means expanded markets and greater wealth. Unfortunately for others, and especially low-skilled, low-income workers, it means intensified competition for jobs and a demand for increasingly higher levels of job skills. During the “Innovation at Work” Hill briefing, foundations highlighted examples of their work in finding solutions to workforce and economic development challenges.
Stephanie J. Powers, project director of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions at the Council on Foundations, moderated the event. Members of the panel included: Patricia Jenny, program director of Community Development and the Environment at New York Community Trust; Kelly Lucas, president and CEO of Community Foundation of South Wood County, Wisconsin; Jason Perkins Cohen, executive director of Baltimore Jobs Opportunity Task Force; and Bill Kamela, senior director of Education and Workforce Policy at Microsoft Corporation.
Back to top.
Reform in Action: Philanthropy's Role in Meeting the Healthcare Needs of Underserved Communities (9-24-2009)
As Congress sought to advance national comprehensive health reform and states predicted its potential impact, the “Reform in Action” Hill briefing aimed to educate congressional staffers on the capacity foundations have to promote health and health care. Foundations can play a key role in offering experience, expertise and fiscal resources to advance public policy as well as educate and engage the public in health reform.
The panel included leading health experts from foundations funding innovative health programs across the country: Lauren LeRoy, Ph.D., president and CEO of Grantmakers In Health; Phillip O. Gonzalez, director of grantmaking at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation; Mark D. Smith, M.D. MBA, president and CEO of California Healthcare Foundation; Wendy J. Wolf, M.D., MPH, president and CEO of Maine Health Access Foundation; and Gary D. Nelson, Ph.D., president of Healthcare Georgia Foundation.
Back to top.