CHARITABLE GIVING COALITION Wed, 20 Dec 2017 18:18:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 2/8/17 – ‘100 Years of Giving’ Set for February 16 in Nation’s Capital Wed, 08 Feb 2017 17:09:18 +0000 WASHINGTON, D.C.— The Charitable Giving Coalition will bring more than 150 nonprofit leaders from across the nation representing a diverse group of charities to Capitol Hill on Thursday, February 16, to urge lawmakers and their staffs to protect charitable giving in America.

For 100 years, the charitable deduction has provided an incentive for Americans to invest more in their communities by giving to charities that deliver human services, aid to their neighbors, improve lives, and enhance arts and culture. As lawmakers are drafting tax reform legislation, several provisions have been proposed that alter this valuable tax incentive in ways that could significantly reduce charitable giving. Coalition members will fan out on Capitol Hill and advocate for maintaining the full scope and value of the charitable deduction, as well as its possible expansion, such as an incentive for taxpayers who do not itemize their deductions.

Research confirms that, regardless of income level, taxpayers who receive a deduction for their contributions give more to charities than those that do not receive a deduction. Expanding a tax incentive to all taxpayers could increase overall charitable giving in America. It might also offset any declines in charitable giving resulting from any inherent uncertainty created by tax reform.

The Charitable Giving Coalition represents a broad cross-section of nonprofit organizations across the country. From healing to educating to feeding the hungry and providing relief in times of crisis, the mission-driven work of the broad patchwork of human service and health care organizations, educational institutions, faith-based organizations, associations, arts and cultural institutions, private and community foundations and other public interest serving organizations that make up the charitable sector is vital to our economy and society. 


The Charitable Giving Coalition 
Representing private and community foundations, their grantees and independent charities, the Charitable Giving Coalition’s members include United Way Worldwide, the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities USA, the American Council on Education, Jewish Federations of North America, the American Institute for Cancer Research, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Independent Sector, the Council on Foundations, and The Philanthropy Roundtable, among others. Formed in 2009, the coalition is dedicated to preserving the charitable giving incentive that ensures that our nation’s charities receive the funds necessary to fulfill their essential philanthropic missions. The coalition provides a unique and unified voice on Capitol Hill on issues affecting the charitable deduction, a voice composed of both direct lobbying and robust grassroots advocacy.,  #protectgiving,  @protectgiving

3/7/14 — Defending the Charitable Deduction at Foundations on the Hill Fri, 07 Mar 2014 15:28:25 +0000 This post originally appeared on the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers website.

Against the backdrop of President Obama’s recent budget proposal, which proposes to cap the charitable deduction at 28%, and Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Representative Dave Camp’s tax reform discussion draft, which includes a 2% floor for the charitable deduction among other changes, philanthropic leaders arrived in Washington, DC to meet with their representatives in Congress as part of Foundations on the Hill (FOTH). As Tim Daleney, President & CEO of the National Council of Nonprofits put it at the FOTH luncheon, “This is the week to be in Washington.”

Since 2003, Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, in partnership with the Council on Foundations, have sponsored Foundations on the Hill, an annual opportunity for grantmakers and regional associations to meet with their federal lawmakers. Foundations on the Hill is now part of Philanthropy Week in Washington, a week of activities around engaging policymakers. During Foundations on the Hill, regional associations, working with foundation trustees, executives and staff, schedule meetings on Capitol Hill to personally discuss their work with members of Congress.
Among the messages brought to Members of Congress by each state delegation of grantmakers was the fact that philanthropy is an integral part of the economic and social life and that when philanthropy thrives, communities thrive. Looking at jobs alone, the charitable sector makes a huge contribution to our country’s economy:
  • Generates more than $1 trillion every year through jobs and services; 
  • Employs one in 10 U.S. workers – nearly 14 million jobs; 
  • And generates 9 percent of wages paid in the U.S. – nearly $600 billion a year. 
Knowing that the charitable sector plays such a strong role in our ecomony and our local communities, philanthropic leaders are asking Congress to protect the charitable deduction as they consider options for tax reform. The largest source of support for nonprofits is from individual givers, $300 billion according to Giving USA. A recent poll by United Way Worldwide found that 62% of respondents said they would reduce giving by at least 25% if the charitable deduction is capped or limited. The President’s proposed cap of 28% is projected to reduce charitable giving by $5.2 billion.  A reduction in the charitable deduction rate will reduce the current incentive for donors to give, thus reducing the amount of money available to support worthy nonprofits. 
Members of Congress face tough decisions about how to reform the tax code. As they begin this work, we remind them that the charitable deduction is a unique tax benefit in that it encourages individuals to give away a portion of their income without getting anything back. The proposed changes to charitable giving incentives would cause donations to decline by billions of dollars each year, as we’ve seen on the state level in Maine and Hawaii, stifling philanthropy’s effect during a time when communities are still struggling to overcome the recession. 
We’re confident that Members of Congress will come away from their Foundations on the Hill meetings better informed about the work of the charitable sector and the importance of the charitable deduction.  “This is the week to be in Washington,” Tim Delaney said, “but the other 51 weeks, the action is in the states.” Regional associations and their members will return home and continue to engage policymakers around key legislative topics affecting our sector, including the charitable deduction, the excise tax, and the IRA Charitable Rollover. All politics is local and the regional associations are on the ground.
3/6/14 — 3 Ways to Bring Philanthropy Week to Your Community Thu, 06 Mar 2014 14:18:02 +0000 This post originally appeared at the Council on Foundations website.

Right now, over 200 leaders from across the philanthropic sector are uniting in Washington, D.C. to tell their lawmakers that thriving philanthropy builds thriving communities. As lawmakers contemplate comprehensive tax reform, individual changes to the tax code and the President’s FY2015 budget, we must ensure Washington understands that tax policy matters to philanthropy.

Even if you couldn’t make it to Washington, we still need your support during this important debate.

Here are three ways you can take part in Philanthropy Week and make your voice heard in your community:

1. Learn What’s at Stake

The latest proposal from House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp to pursue comprehensive tax reform, in addition to President Obama’s budget proposal, present new limitations the could constrain the impact of foundations. The Council’s Public Policy and Legal Affairs team has prepared a one-pager on some of the important provisions what’s at stake.

2. Participate in Our Twitter Chat

Friday March 7, from 12:00-1:00 pm
Co-Hosted by

This conversation will touch on a variety of topics including: perspectives on the president’s proposed budget and its impact on the sector, the current policy debate around philanthropy’s role in the economy, the challenges of responding to increase demand with limited resources, and the rising importance of public-philanthropic partnerships.

This chat will be part of the #cf100 series of Twitter chats, marking the 100th anniversary of community foundations.

Participate in the Twitter Chat by using: #pwdc, #cf100, or #PhilanThrive.

3. Highlight Philanthropy’s Impact in Your Community

Our outreach guide has a quick summary of the ways you can engage your community and stakeholders in the Philanthropy Week dialog. On our website you will find:

  • Template Op-Eds
  • Template Letters to Lawmakers
  • Template Press Releases
  • In-Depth Online Outreach Guide
  • Webinars on Effective Story Telling and Washington’s Policy Landscape
3/5/14 — Limiting Charitable Deductions Is Not The Way to Position U.S. for the 21st Century Wed, 05 Mar 2014 14:13:41 +0000 This post originally appeared on the Association of Fundraising Professionals website.

In response to President Obama’s 2015 budget plan, which would limit the value of the charitable deduction for gifts made by some taxpayers, Andrew Watt, the president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), and Bob Carter, the chair of AFP, released the following statement:

In his budget plan, President Obama writes that “the United States is better positioned for the 21stCentury than any other nation on Earth.” While we could not agree more, part of the reason is America’s great tradition of philanthropy, in which citizens help each other by giving, volunteering and engaging with more than one million charities across the country.

Philanthropy plays a huge role in American society, and not just in the billions of programs and services charities provide every year. America’s charitable sector accounts for nearly ten percent of the national workforce and raises hundreds of billions of dollars every year. Philanthropy also encourages civic participation, creating bonds and connections between people, and between citizens and their country.

But a proposal in the Budget that would cap all itemized deductions—including the charitable deduction—at 28 percent for certain taxpayers would hurt charities’ ability to help our citizens prepare for the 21st century. The proposal represents a potential loss of $80 billion in charitable contributions over a ten-year period. The loss is even greater because research shows that for every dollar of potential tax revenue invested through the deduction, the public and communities across America receive approximately $2.50 in philanthropic services.

This proposal does NOT mean the Administration is against philanthropy. We are appreciative that under the Budget’s proposed Buffett Rule—requiring high-income taxpayers to pay at least 30 percent in federal taxes—charitable contributions could still be used to lower their tax bill. However, we would note that if charitable contributions are exempt from the Buffett Rule, it makes sense to also exempt them from the 28 percent cap as well.

Our country faces important fiscal decisions, but altering the deduction means less giving. It means less programs and services that benefit all Americans, but especially those in critical need. It means the breaking of a covenant between charities, government and the public about the important role that philanthropy plays in our country. And it means less preparedness for the American people in meeting the challenges of the 21st century. 

We should be investing more in the deduction and encouraging additional philanthropy, not finding ways to limit or cap it. The Senate has already expressed its support of the charitable deduction, with one-third of Senators signing on to letter penned by Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and John Thune (R-S.D.) AFP’s more than 30,000 charities and fundraisers also support the deduction, and each can talk knowledgeably about the importance the charitable deduction plays.

We call on the Administration and Congress to protect the charitable deduction and examine new ways to create more citizen engagement through philanthropy.2

1/8/14 — 2014: A Resolution to Protect Giving Wed, 08 Jan 2014 18:32:36 +0000 By The Charitable Giving Coalition

Like most people, you’ve likely made New Year’s resolutions and promises to do more to improve your life and the lives of others. Over thousands of years it has become a global tradition. 

In an important election year, we’ll likely see more than our fair share of promises from candidates running for office. Unfortunately, we know that promises and resolutions too often get broken.

How can we make this year different? We can live up to our commitment to improving the lives of others by protecting the charitable tax deduction, a highly valued, century-old American tradition. 

As federal lawmakers work to reform America’s tax code and address our fiscal challenges, America’s charitable sector faces an urgent threat. Congress is considering limits on the charitable tax deduction, which represents a lifeline to our communities and the most vulnerable among us.

Such limits would devastate the charities on which millions rely on for jobs, support and services. In recent years, we’ve come to truly realize how vital philanthropy is to the American way of life. Charities depend significantly – and in many cases entirely – on private donations, particularly as government funding evaporates and the demand for social services increases.

Harmful changes to the charitable tax deduction would set off a cascade of consequences undermining our economy, hitting hardest those who need the most help, shifting more of the responsibility to government to provide vital services and putting at risk billions of dollars in private donations (as much as $9.4 billion in the first year, according to one study) that support diverse, worthy causes.

This year, why not make a New Years Resolution you can keep? Join the Charitable Giving Coalition in the effort to protect the charitable deduction by taking these simple actions:

  • Sign and share our petition to the White House and Congress.
  • Contact your senators and representatives and urge them to work to preserve the charitable deduction.
  • Contribute to our YouTube channel to show how charitable giving impacts you.
  • Write an op-ed to your local newspaper to raise awareness in your community about the value of charitable giving and the charitable deduction.
  • Invite your lawmakers to attend a local event demonstrating the role and impact of charitable giving can make all the difference. The Charitable Giving Coalition’s website provides a local engagement and advocacy toolkit with advice on planning a successful event.
  • Spread the word on social media using the #ProtectGiving hashtag.
12/17/13 — Coalition Members Respond to Madoff Tue, 17 Dec 2013 20:30:09 +0000 By The Charitable Giving Coalition

In her recent post in the New York Times, Professor Ray Madoff made a misguided attack on the charitable tax deduction. The criticism prompted a swift reaction from the charitable sector, including members of the Coalition. 

In a letter to the editor, Lorie A. Slutsky, president of the New York Community Trust, highlighted the role of the deduction as a lifeline for those in need, not a loophole for the wealthy:

“With the charitable deduction, no tangible benefit accrues to the donor.  Is a donor financially better off after giving away money? No. Individuals are simply not taxed on money they give away, and that’s helped to improve the quality of life across America, in areas both urban and rural, for nearly 100 years. It’s also made this country’s charitable tradition the envy of the world.”

Vikki Spruill, president and CEO of the Council on Foundationsresponded to Madoff’s assertion that some nonprofits are “more charitable” and deserving of the deduction than others:

“The idea that policymakers might rank organizations’ charitable value raises many complex questions. For example, how would policymakers or tax regulators determine who would deserve the benefit of the deduction or which organizations’ purposes were ‘charitable’…Our charitable sector thrives because donors get to choose to donate their money to diverse causes. Some choose children’s health. Others choose support for military families. Still others choose community theater groups. Philanthropy should remain an independent investment – free of politics or favoritism.”

As the charitable tax deduction continues to suffer attacks from those who misunderstand its vital importance to the nation’s communities, it is essential that we make our voices heard. You can easily join the fight to preserve this valuable American tradition in a variety of ways:

12/13/13 — Vikki Spruill Responds to Ray Madoff Op-Ed Fri, 13 Dec 2013 15:54:05 +0000 This post originally appeared at the Council on Foundations website.

The following was submitted to the editor of the New York Times in response to their publication of the December 6 op-ed How the Government Gives by Professor Ray Madoff. 

Dear Editor:

Professor Madoff (“How the Government Gives,” 12/6) characterizes the charitable deduction as “wasteful.” It may appear this way from the halls of academia. Yet, for people in communities across the country who rely on nonprofit services everyday—the charitable deduction is a lifeline.

Charitable and philanthropic organizations employ millions, provide a wide variety of valuable services that otherwise might not be offered, and contribute to economic growth. Professor Madoff offers the vexing criticism that some nonprofits are more “charitable” than others.

The idea that policymakers might rank organizations’ charitable value raises many complex questions. For example, how would policymakers or tax regulators determine who would deserve the benefit of the deduction or which organizations’ purposes were “charitable.”

While ranking charitable value might have some immediate appeal, we’d strongly warn proponents that details and execution matter.

Our charitable sector thrives because donors get to choose to donate their money to diverse causes. Some choose children’s health. Others choose support for military families. Still others choose community theater groups. Philanthropy should remain an independent investment – free of politics or favoritism.

Madoff also criticizes donor advised funds (DAFs), saying they “don’t do any charitable work themselves.” This view is shortsighted.

DAFs enable donors to make sustained, strategic investments in their communities. They can be started quickly to respond to tragedy, as in the case of a natural disaster or the closing of a large employer within a neighborhood. They also allow donors to build upon their giving year-over-year and direct that giving to causes important to their communities, providing impact not only immediately but over time.

Throughout the recession, most community foundations maintained or increased their grantmaking to meet increased human service needs thanks to donor advised funds. According to Giving USA, community foundations, which often use DAFs as a giving tool, increased their giving by 9.1 percent in 2012. These organizations provide essential services like housing, healthcare, and education in communities nationwide.

Now more than ever, we must encourage – not place harmful restrictions or make arbitrary value judgments– on charitable giving.


Vikki Spruill
President and CEO
Council on Foundations

12/12/13 — As Charity Goes, So Goes the Arts? Thu, 12 Dec 2013 19:11:57 +0000 By Roland Kushner

This post originally appeared on the Americans for the Arts Blog.

I was happy to see the editorial “Handsome is as handsome gives” from long-time musician and arts advocate Arthur C. Brooks in the Wall Street Journal on Nov 25. Brooks, also an accomplished social scientist and president of American Enterprise Institute, cites studies, cites studies showing how increased generosity is good for one’s health, well-being, and attractiveness.  He cheerfully encourages readers to give generously so they might reap those rewards for themselves.

It turns out that Brooks missed one other benefit of increased generosity: it’s good for the artistic instinct and the progress of the arts.  There is a strong connection between the vitality of the arts and private support of all charitable causes that has persisted over many years.  Here’s some interesting data about that connection.

Last August, Americans for the Arts released the 2013 National Arts Index report, our fourth annual measure of vitality of arts and culture in the U.S.  The report spanned 2000 through 2011.  Co-author Randy Cohen and I calculate the Index score from 78 indicators of attendance, participation, consumption, investment, returns, volunteering, performances, compositions, imports and exports, government funding at all levels, numbers of artists and more.  The Index shows how dynamic those years were for the arts.

And not only the arts … we experienced recessions, booms, crises, recoveries, wars, political changes, technological advances, demographic shifts, new social movements, and of course, changes in the arts.  Intuition and experience suggest how that some of those dynamic forces – mostly macroeconomic – are positively linked to the arts: GDP, employment, stock market, population, and income. Some behavior and attitude patterns are arts-friendly: charitable giving, consumer confidence, leisure participation.  Each of these forces (and others) has its own record of growth and decline in recent years. How closely do the arts track these other forces?

We correlated annual measures of some of these to the National Arts Index over 2000-2011. A correlation coefficient tells how closely two or more series track each other. It ranges from – 100%, when series move in opposite directions, to +100%, when they’re always moving together and to the same degree.  A high correlation between the Index and any of these measures means that they’ve moved consistently together over the years.

Many of the correlations were positive but one caught our eye, given the season and Arthur Brooks’ happy report and advice.  The highest positive correlation we found was between the Index and the authoritative Giving USA annual tally of private sector giving including from individuals, businesses, foundations, and bequests.  The arts are certainly the recipients of charitable giving but human services, education, health, and other nonprofit services attract donations.  Given the importance of private support, the positively correlation is not a surprise.  The surprise was its magnitude, which is 88% for those years.

We thought that maybe this was because private arts philanthropy is already in the Index.  So, we did a tweak to eliminate the effect of five indicators of private generosity to the arts: total private giving and foundation funding, plus arts share of household giving, corporate giving, and foundation giving.  This adjusted index with 73 indicators tracks the full Index with 78 indicators very closely.  But it maintains a very high correlation (86%) with Giving USA, meaning that the strength of the correlation is not because of charitable contributions to the arts, but in addition to them.

To state the relationship clearly, as charity has gone since 2000, so went the arts.  In bad times and good, these two forces have moved up and down together very closely.  This is not “joined at the hip” synchronicity, but maybe it speaks to how they’re joined in the heart.  Charitable giving and engagement in the arts may emanate from the same instincts, values, and attitudes.  It’s not just that nonprofits are partially funded by charitable giving.  It’s a deeper bond, the notion that the arts and charity together are ways that people see to build and enjoy a better world.  There is a strong shared instinct and hope for a community and society characterized by beauty and care… an instinct that propels support of charities and engagement in the arts at the same time.

Of course this instinct cannot prevail when times are tough and there is less income available for beauty or charity.  The Index also correlates with worker and proprietor incomes over those years.  This is not a strong a relationship (though it’s still significant), but it reinforces how arts depend on consumers having discretionary income.

What does this say about the arts in 2012 and 2013?  If the relationship between the arts and charities is still strong, there is reason to be optimistic: Giving USA’s report on 2012 annual giving was up three percent over 2011 … a result that creates hope for the 2012 National Arts Index score due in spring 2014.

Finally, this not only concurs with what Arthur Brooks has to say, it amplifies it: Certainly giving generously makes you happier and healthier.  Better still, it’s another way to make a better place for the arts in our communities and lives.

12/10/13 — Make the Most of the Season of Giving! Tue, 10 Dec 2013 17:19:03 +0000 By The Charitable Giving Coalition

The Season of Giving has arrived, and what better time to highlight the importance of charitable giving and the impact of the charitable tax deduction?

Giving is central to who we are as a country, whether feeding the hungry, providing shelter to families in need, supporting educational and cultural opportunities, helping solving health challenges and so much more.

The charitable tax deduction, which has incentivized charitable acts that support initiatives like these for a century, is under threat. As lawmakers consider harmful changes to this valuable American tradition, you can make your voice heard! Below are some simple ways you can join in the fight to defend the charitable deduction. 

Write an op-ed
Our template op-ed provides an opportunity to raise awareness in your community about the value of charitable giving and the charitable deduction.

Spread the word via social media
Protect Giving Day in DC on November 20th underscored the value and potential impact of advancing our cause through social media outreach. So many of our Coalition members shared compelling posts about their activities in Washington, but also the impact of their charities in communities throughout America.

We want to carry that enthusiasm through the holidays! 

Share stories of impact
Share your stories of hope and opportunity for the holidays (the kind that can last for years and years) with the #ProtectGiving hashtag. We all have examples to share – food pantries to feed the hungry, research efforts to cure disease, youth programs to keep kids in school, seed grants to start new businesses and more. We need your help to show what is made possible through the charitable deduction.


“I am the Charitable Deduction” YouTube channel
The holidays are a great time to feature the role and value of charitable giving in communities – helping others in need through food, shelter and other support services.  
We’d like to feature holiday-related videos on the Coalition’s YouTube channel. We encourage you to capture short videos of charitable giving in action for the Coalition’s “I am the Charitable Deduction” channel.
You can check out the YouTube Channel here: 
The website’s Take Action section has additional information and guidance on how to spread the word!  


Local Events
One of the most effective ways to make the case to lawmakers about the importance of protecting the charitable deduction is by showing them – in their communities. Meeting them face-to-face or inviting them to attend a local event demonstrating the role and impact of charitable giving can make all the difference. The Charitable Giving Coalition’s website provides a local engagement and advocacy toolkit of ways to plan a successful event. 

12/4/13 — Wyden Continues Campaign to Defend Charitable Deduction Wed, 04 Dec 2013 18:33:45 +0000

By The Charitable Giving Coalition

In a visit to a senior lunch center, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) continued to champion the importance of the charitable tax deduction on Monday.

“We believe the charitable deduction in the federal tax code is a lifeline and not a loophole,” said Wyden, emphasizing the fact that the charitable deduction is not about the donors, but what donors’ dollars do to support worthy causes. “The charitable deduction is the only provision in the tax law that encourages taxpayers to give away a portion of their income for the benefit of others.”

The senator wrote a letter last month [PDF] with Senator John Thune (R-SD) supporting the “full value” of the one hundred-year-old deduction.

“Analysis has repeatedly shown that proposals to cut, cap, or limit the charitable deduction could cause charitable donations to decline by billions of dollars annually.  Worse yet, weakening the charitable deduction would most hurt the adults and children who receive vital charitable services from organizations like soup kitchens, after-school programs, and medical research projects, just to name a few,” the letter read.

“In many cases, the government would be required to step in and fund those services now being provided through private generosity.”

We commend Senators Wyden and Thune for their support of a policy that contributes to vital support services and thriving communities across the nation. However, the fight to preserve this unique American institution is far from over. You can join in the efforts by contacting your senator to urge them to sign on to the Thune/Wyden letter, signing and sharing our petition, and sharing and contributing to our YouTube channel to demonstrate the impact of charities in your community.