Council on Foundations Statement Regarding White House Executive Order on the Johnson Amendment

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Today, the Council on Foundations released the following statement from President and CEO Vikki Spruill regarding the White House executive order on the Johnson Amendment:

“Today’s White House executive order is an unfortunate and misguided step towards unraveling our nation’s critical decades-long history of separating the good work of the charitable sector from electoral politics. By weakening enforcement of the Johnson Amendment, the President’s order blurs an important distinction that has existed for 60 years between tax-exempt institutions and political organizations. It also swings the door wide open for unchecked ‘dark money’ to flow through nonprofit organizations, allowing for unlimited, anonymous, tax-deductible political donations.

Since our nation’s earliest days, citizens have engaged in charity and public good. Today, charitable giving from individuals and foundations help countless individuals in the communities in which they live. Their good works should not become entangled in electoral politics. The nonprofit sector, including our churches, foundations, charities and others, needs to maintain its independence as it provides the social capital to lift up the disadvantaged and strengthen communities.

If elected leaders in Washington want to change the limits on political donations, there are legislative vehicles with which to do that—without compromising the good work of the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors. The Council on Foundations opposes the repeal or weakening of the Johnson Amendment.”


About the Council on Foundations

An active philanthropic network, the Council on Foundations (, 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.