Washington Snapshot - February 19, 2016

Congress IconNews from the Hill

Congress was in recess this week, so updates from Capitol Hill have been relatively slow.

However, much of the attention in Washington has turned toward the marble columns of the building across the street—the Supreme Court of the United States. This week, DC remembers Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia who dedicated much of his career to public service, and inspiration of aspiring lawyers. The Council sends well wishes to the Scalia family during this difficult time.

Executive & Regulatory News IconExecutive & Regulatory News

IRS Releases Proposed Rules for Supporting Organizations

Today, the Treasury Department and IRS Service issued proposed regulations regarding the prohibition on certain contributions to Type I and Type III supporting organizations, and the requirements for Type III supporting organizations.

These regulations reflect changes to the law made by the Pension Protection Act of 2006, and would primarily affect Type I and Type III supporting organizations and their supported organizations.

The Council understands the implications these regulations could have on our members, and is leading a charge to draft and submit comments to the Treasury and IRS that reflect that impact well in advance of the May 19th deadline. If you have questions, or input that you would like reflected in our comments, please contact us at govt@cof.org, or visit our website to read a summary of these proposed regulations.

State Policy IconHappening in the States

Exclusive from our colleagues at the National Council of Nonprofits.

National Council of Nonprofits logo

Philanthropy Weighs in on Pennsylvania Budget Impasse

The call for fiscal sanity in Pennsylvania has gotten louder as grantmakers weigh in with advocacy and coordinated efforts. This week, three Philadelphia-based philanthropic leaders published an article, “No way to treat Pa. citizens,” that takes politicians to task for threatening “the well-being of many of our most at-risk populations” by failing to resolve the eight-month budget standoff. They point out that “Pennsylvania charities and foundations alone grant more than $2 billion annually in the nonprofit sector and government to advance the region,” and declare that “as a group, those of us involved in philanthropy refuse to let our investments be undermined by an endless cycle of poor fiscal management.”

The authors of the article are Jim Cawley, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, Maari Porter, executive director of the Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia, and Pedro A. Ramos, president and CEO of the Philadelphia Foundation. Their organizations, and 27 other community foundations and United Ways, are coordinating their efforts through the PA People Count coalition. Coalition members are calling on state legislators and the Governor to fully fund human services, and are advocating for “reforms to the state's budget process so that Pennsylvania's citizens, particularly its most vulnerable people, are never held hostage again by political battles.” The coalition’s campaign materials include videos, memes, and social media tips.

Charitable nonprofits are also organized through the Stand for Pennsylvanians campaign, which is a coalition of more than 100 organizations organized by the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations (PANO), the United Way of Pennsylvania, the Adams County Community Foundation, the Pittsburgh Foundation, the PA State Alliance of YMCAs, and others. Complementary to PA People Count, the nonprofit campaign goals are to tell the collective story of Pennsylvania citizens directly impacted by the budget impasse and to mobilize clients and members of local communities to support the bi-partisan efforts to pass a responsible budget.

Anne Gingerich, executive director of PANO, brought home the demands of the nonprofit community and all Pennsylvanians adversely affected by the budget impasse when she stated in November: “We need to get a budget passed and we need to start looking at next year's budget and frankly how to build a system so that we do not go through this again.”

South Carolina, Connecticut Announce New Pay for Success Deals

Governors in Connecticut and South Carolina announced new “pay for success” programs in their states. As readers may know, a pay for success program seeks private investors to fund the upfront cost of a social service. Over the course of the project, it is reviewed by independent evaluators. If pre-determined success metrics are met, the private investor is repaid by the responsible government agency with interest.

The South Carolina Nurse-Family Partnership project will pair 3,200 low-income mothers and their babies with registered nurses who have specialized training in maternal and child health. Enrolled mothers begin participating during pregnancy and continue through the child’s second birthday. The project aims to reduce preterm births, prevent child injury, and promote healthy development as a multigenerational approach to combatting poverty. The public and philanthropic funders of the project include: BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation, The Boeing Company, The Duke Endowment, Greenville First Steps, and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.

The Connecticut Family Stability Project is a $12.5 million initiative aimed at keeping children out of foster care. It targets 500 families to help parents overcome substance abuse problems while keeping the children safely in their homes. The state spends $350 million annually for services to children in foster care and institutions, and officials say approximately 2,000 children currently in foster care—roughly half of the state foster care population—are there because of substance abuse issues in their home. The Washington Post reports that no funder has been announced for the initiative at this time.

For more information on this topic, please contact John Cochrane, Associate Director of Social Innovation at the Council.