The Council on Foundations on Tuesday applauds the introduction of the Workforce Development Through Post-Graduation Scholarships Act (H.R. 6486) by Representatives Darin LaHood (R-IL) and Terri Sewell (D-AL) on July 24. The bill would allow charitable foundations to administer post-graduation scholarship programs to combat “brain drain,” stimulate regional economic growth, and help address the growing student debt crisis.
The bill’s introduction comes after months of working closely with members on both sides of the aisle to ensure the legislation embodied well-informed, carefully-written public policy that would strengthen foundations’ ability to serve their communities.
The idea of a post-graduation scholarship is similar to a traditional scholarship, but instead it provides assistance to individuals who have already completed their higher education degree or technical program certification. By providing a tax-exempt grant to pay off a portion of a graduate’s loans, charitable organizations across the country can serve their communities by 1) creating an incentive for talented individuals to establish their lives and careers in areas where their skills are most needed, and 2) helping to address the growing student debt crisis—with the goal of fostering greater economic growth in their geographic area.
This financial assistance is provided in exchange for the individual adhering to certain criteria set forth by the charity (i.e. a community foundation requires ongoing proof of employment in a specific career field and residency in a certain geographic location for a minimum of three years).
“This is legislation long overdue,” said Gene Cochrane, interim president and CEO of the Council on Foundations. “Communities have been grappling with retaining individuals with the necessary skills to fill the most-needed jobs, and philanthropic organizations have been wanting to help. This legislation gives foundations a much-needed tool to assist loan-burdened graduates and communities who need their skills.”
The legislation already has broad support across the philanthropic sector and within Congress.
Joshua D. Gibb, President & CEO, Galesburg Community Foundation:
“Post-graduation scholarships will provide a critical tool for communities to use to attract and retain needed talent for our workforce. Last year, Illinois had the largest out migration of any state in the union. It is imperative that we develop the tools to retain and attract a skilled and needed workforce to our communities. Post-graduation scholarships are a win-win, because not only do the recipients benefit, but so do our communities, our employers, and the people who call our communities home.”
Representative Darin LaHood, Illinois' 18th District:
"This bipartisan legislation will not only help recruit talent to often underserved areas and professions, relieve individuals of student loan debt, and help foster economic development to particular regions, but charitable organizations will be provided greater flexibility to serve their unique communities. With this amendment to the tax code, foundations and charitable organizations across the 18th District will be able to attract greater talent and reward professionals for committing to their local communities. I want to thank my Democratic colleague Rep. Sewell for co-authoring this bi-partisan legislation with me and I look forward to working together to get this legislation passed."
Read the full text of the bill.
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.