Yet, Proposed Cap on Charitable Tax Deduction is a Dangerous Experiment with America’s Nonprofits
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Arlington, VA

The Council on Foundations expressed appreciation for the continued support of social innovation efforts in President Obama’s proposed budget, but the administration’s proposed cap on the charitable tax deduction would undercut a core source of support necessary for their success. Following is a statement from Vikki Spruill, the Council’s president and CEO:

“The Council on Foundations welcomes the administration’s commitment to community-based solutions through investment in innovative nonprofits, as outlined in the FY2014 budget. We have a sincere interest in connecting on behalf of our members with the administration, agencies, and members of Congress who recognize the unique and catalytic role that foundations can play in driving change and taking risk to address our most pressing national problems, including those that the president identifies in his budget. The Council looks forward to leveraging additional new opportunities and partnerships across sectors—government, business, academia, the faith community, social service agencies, and more—to advance the common good.

“Serving as a hub and creating an ecosystem where philanthropy’s work thrives and our most challenging social problems can be solved through partnerships like these is core to the Council’s new mission. Every day, our members see the inextricable link between the philanthropic sector and thriving communities. They recognize how important it is to our economic and social health. And, their role in communities endures from administration to administration, Congress to Congress, generation to generation.

“While we commend the administration for its recognition of the powerful role of nonprofits, we continue to be dismayed by the president’s insistence on capping the charitable tax deduction. It amounts to a dangerous experiment with America’s nonprofit sector, providing support for some causes while undercutting crucial private contributions, a core source of support necessary to their survival. There is a reason this unique, century-old tax incentive persists today—it works.

“Any change would compromise the capacity of nonprofits to serve and would diminish their impact on society. It could cause a decline in contributions of at least $5.6 billion each year, according to recent economic studies. Policymakers characterize the charitable deduction as a tax benefit for the wealthy, but the stark, undeniable reality is that the deduction benefits our fellow citizens in greatest need of a helping hand and the broad, diverse causes that sustain our social sector.

“The Council is committed to supporting our members as they work to alleviate many of the social challenges brought about by today’s economic realities, serve their communities, enrich the lives of their neighbors, and help the most vulnerable. To be successful, we must safeguard the future of philanthropy and the communities that depend on it.”


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.