Charitable Community Applauds Congress's Historic Deal on Tax Incentives for Charitable Giving

Friday, December 18, 2015
Washington

Charitable organizations from around the country applaud Congress for the bipartisan, bicameral passage of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015.

The legislation will enhance charitable giving by making three essential tax incentives permanent, demonstrating a commitment from Congress to strengthen the charitable community’s ability to continue to improve American lives and our communities. The charitable sector worked closely with Congress to educate members and their staff about the difference these incentives make.

The incentives include the IRA charitable rollover and enhanced deductions for the donation of food inventory and land conservation easements. Passage of the PATH Act is the culmination of a nearly 10-year-long effort to have charitable tax incentives permanently enacted and, in the case of the food donation tax deduction, expanded. After years of renewal and expiration, including the most recent expiration on January 1, 2015, the three charitable giving incentives are now permanent law.

In addition to these three incentives, the agreement includes important provisions to make the child tax credit and the earned income tax credit permanent.

The charitable community understands that these incentives make a difference in communities across the country. In fact, during the first two years the IRA charitable rollover was available, it prompted more than $140 million in gifts, assisting social service providers, religious organizations, cultural institutions and schools, and numerous other nonprofit organizations. Similarly, according to Feeding America, this legislation would significantly increase food bank access to the 70 billion pounds of nutritious food wasted each year, particularly the 6 billion pounds of produce that does not make it to market. Finally, a survey by Land Trust Alliance showed that the land conservation incentive helped 1,700 land trusts increase the pace of conservation by a third – to over a million acres a year.

“The passage of this legislation enables museums to do more for their communities for years to come, from education programming to protecting our cultural heritage. We’re grateful that Congress is thinking about museums and other vital charities during this giving season.”

--Laura L. Lott, president and CEO of American Alliance of Museums

"The American Red Cross applauds Congress for making the IRA charitable rollover permanent, thereby ending years of uncertainty and helping the Red Cross and hundreds of other charities better serve the millions of Americans who depend on our services."

--Gail McGovern, president and CEO, American Red Cross

“We applaud our federal legislators for understanding the necessity of permanent incentives to sustain a culture of charitable giving in the United States. PATH removes a perennial distraction for nonprofits that rely heavily on American philanthropy to provide essential programs and services in our communities. Permanent enactment of the incentives is integral to our collective efforts at AFP to increase giving in the U.S.”

--Andrew Watt, FInstF, president and CEO at the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP)

"Making these vital charitable provisions permanent law ends years of uncertainty for donors and foundations alike. Permanence will open new opportunities for giving. I applaud leaders in Congress for taking this step, and thank all of our members and colleagues who worked side-by-side to make this possible.”

--Vikki Spruill, president and CEO of Council on Foundations

“Feeding America applauds Congressional passage of the PATH Act, which expands and makes permanent food donation tax incentives that are vital to our efforts to secure additional food for the 46 million Americans we serve each year. The food donation tax deduction as well as the IRA rollover have a real and profound impact on the ability of food banks nationwide to secure food and monetary donations to continue the critical work they do every day.”

--Diana Aviv, CEO of Feeding America

“As the premier leadership organization for girls, our ability to fulfill our mission depends on people in society giving charitably to our Movement, and their ability to do this depends strongly on the laws for charitable giving in our tax code. Girl Scouts has been working with our coalition partners in the nonprofit community to ensure that these incentives are made permanent, and that the giving incentivized by these provisions continues to promote and fund the crucial work of charitable nonprofits like Girl Scouts and others.”

--Anna Maria Chavez, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA

“This is a huge victory for the charitable community and for the American people,” said Candy Hill, interim co-CEO and vice president of communications and marketing at Independent Sector. “The PATH Act ends the uncertainty for charities and those we serve caused by the repeated expiration and subsequent reinstate of these three charitable giving incentives. The fact is that Americans, young and old, depend on the programs and services charities provide throughout the year – not just at tax time – and charitable organizations require resources on a year-round basis. The permanent enactment of these giving incentives gives charities improved access to those much-needed resources.”

--Candy Hill, interim co-CEO and vice president of communications and marketing at Independent Sector

“We welcome the passage of a tax package that makes IRA charitable rollovers permanent, providing both a giving incentive and greater certainty for taxpayers and charitable organizations alike. This proven giving incentive has resulted in almost $40 million of additional philanthropic support to help Jewish Federations provide crucial social services to the most vulnerable among us.”

--William C. Daroff, senior vice president for public policy & director of the Washington office at The Jewish Federations of North America

“The Land Trust Alliance and our 1,100 community-based member land trusts are grateful for the support of so many congressional champions. This is a great victory for landowners and for the American public. This legislation recognizes that the preservation of America’s important lands depends on the commitment and generosity of private landowners to voluntarily agree to protect important natural, scenic and historic resources for the public benefit. This is an important gain that was only possible because so many in the charitable community worked together to achieve it, and Independent Sector was at the center of that cooperative effort.”

--Rand Wentworth, president of the Land Trust Alliance

“Charitable giving is essential to America's more than 1,300 orchestras in all corners of the country, substantially improving the education, health, and artistic vitality of communities nationwide while supporting jobs and economic growth.  The certainty provided by permanent enactment of the IRA Charitable Rollover will increase giving and boost the capacity of our nation’s orchestras to serve community needs in partnership with the wider nonprofit sector.”  

--Jesse Rosen, president & CEO of the League of American Orchestras

“We appreciate our Congressional leaders for stepping forward with strong and bipartisan support to reinstate these important provisions and make them permanent. This underscores our country’s longstanding commitment to strengthening charitable organizations in the critical work of lifting up lives and improving communities. On behalf of our members and the six million people in the U.S. touched each year through our national network of social ministry organizations, thank you.”  
--Charlotte Haberaecker, President and CEO, Lutheran Services in America, Incorporated

“The people served and land saved by charitable nonprofits in communities throughout America are the true beneficiaries of the giving incentives made permanent in the PATH Act. Rand Wentworth of the Land Trust Alliance, who retires early next year, deserves special mention as a unifying force behind this legislative achievement. Last year, when organizations seeking to extend different charitable giving incentives for food, IRA rollover, and land conservation came together to blend their efforts in a united package, he inspired everyone to look beyond the usual temporary extensions and instead insist that these important giving incentives be made permanent. The resulting package of permanent reforms is testimony to the value of collaborative advocacy.”

--Tim Delaney, president and CEO, National Council of Nonprofits

“The Salvation Army has been meeting human needs and changing lives for the past 150 years but we do not do it alone. We can only do it with the help and support of people in communities around the country. In the spirit of solidarity, we want to say thank you for making Tax Incentives for Charitable Giving permanent so that we can continue to serve the most vulnerable populations in our country.”

--Commissioner David Jeffrey, National Commander of The Salvation Army

“The Y applauds any public policy that encourages more charitable giving. Thanks to Independent Sector for bringing the charitable sector together to advocate for these important provisions that will help all of us meet the needs of the communities we serve.”

--Kent Johnson, Chief Operating Officer of YMCA of the USA

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About the American Alliance of Museums

The American Alliance of Museums has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. Representing more than 30,000 individual museum professionals and volunteers, institutions and corporate partners serving the museum field, the Alliance is the only organization representing the entire scope of the broad museum community. For more information, visit www.aam-us.org.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visitredcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

About the Association of Fundraising Professionals

AFP's nearly 34,000 individual and organizational members raise over $115 billion annually, equivalent to one-third of all charitable giving in North America and millions more around the world. Learn more at www.afpnet.org.

About the Council on Foundations

An active philanthropic network, the Council on Foundations (www.cof.org), founded in 1949, is a nonprofit leadership association of grantmaking foundations and corporations. It provides the opportunity, leadership, and tools needed by philanthropic organizations to expand, enhance and sustain their ability to advance the common good. With members from all foundation types and sizes, the Council empowers professionals in philanthropy to meet today’s toughest challenges and advances a culture of charitable giving in the U.S. and globally.

About Girl Scouts of the USA
We’re 2.7 million strong—1.9 million girls and 800,000 adults who believe girls can change the world. It began over 100 years ago with one woman, Girl Scouts’ founder Juliette Gordon “Daisy” Low, who believed in the power of every girl. She organized the first Girl Scout troop on March 12, 1912, in Savannah, Georgia, and every year since, we've made her vision a reality, helping girls discover their strengths, passions, and talents. Today we continue the Girl Scout mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. We’re the preeminent leadership development organization for girls. And with programs for girls from coast to coast and across the globe, Girl Scouts offers every girl a chance to do something amazing. To volunteer, reconnect, donate, or join, visit www.girlscouts.org.

About Independent Sector

Independent Sector is the leadership forum for nonprofits, foundations, and corporations whose member networks collectively represent tens of thousands of organizations locally, nationally, and globally. Learn more at www.independentsector.org.

About the Jewish Federations
The Jewish Federations, collectively among the top 10 charities on the continent, protects and enhances the well-being of Jews worldwide through the values of tikkun olam (repairing the world), tzedakah (charity and social justice) and Torah (Jewish learning).

About Land Trust Alliance
Founded in 1982, the Land Trust Alliance is a national land conservation organization that works to save the places people love by strengthening land conservation across America. The Alliance represents more than 1,100 member land trusts supported by more than 100,000 volunteers and 5 million members nationwide. The Alliance is based in Washington, D.C. and operates several regional offices. More information about the Alliance is available at www.landtrustalliance.org.

About League of American Orchestras
The League of American Orchestras leads, supports, and champions America’s orchestras and the vitality of the music they perform. Its diverse membership of approximately 800 orchestras across North America runs the gamut from world-renowned symphonies to community orchestras, from summer festivals to student and youth ensembles. Founded in 1942 and chartered by Congress in 1962, the League links a national network of thousands of instrumentalists, conductors, managers and administrators, board members, volunteers, and business partners. Visit americanorchestras.org to learn more.

About Lutheran Services in America, Incorporated (LSA)
Lutheran Services in America is one of the largest health and human services networks in the country with more than 300 members that provide a broad range of critical services from health care to children and family services, senior services, disaster relief, refugee services, disability support, housing, and employment support, among others. Collectively, LSA members serve 1 in 50 people each year in thousands of communities across the United States and are open to all regardless of their religious affiliation or social or economic background. The LSA network is ranked at #23 on the Philanthropy 400, an annual listing of top charitable groups, and has combined revenue of $21 billion. LSA is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS). To learn more, please visit www.lutheranservices.org

About the National Council of Nonprofits

The National Council of Nonprofits is a trusted resource and advocate for America’s charitable nonprofits. Through our powerful network of State Associations and 25,000-plus members – the nation’s largest network of nonprofits – we serve as a central coordinator and mobilizer to help nonprofits achieve greater collective impact in local communities across the country. We identify emerging trends, share proven practices, and promote solutions that benefit charitable nonprofits and the communities they serve. Learn more at www.CouncilofNonprofits.org

About The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army, established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for more than 130 years in the United States. Approximately 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a range of social services: food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless, and opportunities for underprivileged children. 82 cents of every dollar donated to The Salvation Army is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. The Salvation Army tracks the level of need across the country with the Human Needs Index (HumanNeedsIndex.org). For more information, go to salvationarmyusa.org or follow on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS.