2008: Lincoln’s Cottage
It is little known that for fully a quarter of his presidency, Abraham Lincoln didn’t live in the White House. He and his family chose to reside at a cottage on the grounds of a home for retired soldiers in northern Washington, D.C. At that time this was a rural area, and amidst the pressure of the Civil War, their sorrow over losing their 12-year-old son Willie, and the fact that the White House was a wide-open bedlam where the President could be besieged by public petitioners at any time of day or night, the Lincolns found the quiet green oasis a place of peace and comfort. They slept there just days after their first inauguration, and on the night before the President was killed. Lincoln made some of his most momentous decisions there, including formulating the Emancipation Proclamation, and he read the Bible, poetry, and Shakespeare on its breezy porch. One historian described the Soldiers’ Home cottage as “The only place we are certain Lincoln was happy during his Presidency.”
ACR Summit for Leaders
March 18, 2015
8:00 - 10:50 a.m.
Breakfast available at 7:30 a.m.
Washington Court Hotel
525 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20001
In 2014, we saw the release of a 1000-page tax reform draft, a new chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and an election that shifted the balance of power in Congress. What can we expect in 2015? With new chairmen for both the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees– former Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) respectively – we expect next year to be another significant year for tax policy.
With so many tax issues still to be debated, nothing is completely on or off the table. Given the new political landscape, now is not the time for the philanthropic community to stay on the sidelines. We hope you will join us at the 2015 ACR Summit for Leaders to learn about what we can do to protect private giving and educate lawmakers about the critical role of charitable organizations in a free society.
Registration: To register for the ACR Summit as well as other events of Philanthropy Week in Washington, click here.
What’s My Line?
As we anticipate another round of tax reform efforts on the Hill, we’ll have a bit of fun with messaging around the charitable deduction while still conveying the critical importance of communicating to Congress that this part of our tax code must be protected. In this session four speakers will deliver four different messages about the charitable deduction and audience members will vote for the most persuasive message. The presenters and moderator are all members of the Charitable Giving Coalition, which has provided a unique and unified voice on Capitol Hill on issues affecting the charitable deduction since 2009.
- Andy Finch, Director of Policy, Association of Art Museum Directors
- Gloria Johnson-Cusack, Executive Director, Leadership 18
- Sue Santa, Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Legal Affairs, Council on Foundations
- Steve Taylor, Senior Vice President and Counsel for Public Policy, United Way Worldwide
- Tim Delaney, President and CEO, National Council of Nonprofits (moderator)
2015 ushered in the first Republican Congressional majority in eight years as well as two new Chairmen for the tax-writing committees. Both Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) have expressed strong interest in undertaking comprehensive tax reform this year, and indeed their committees have already taken up tax legislation impacting the philanthropic community. We will hear an “insiders” perspective from Congressional staff on what lies ahead and how our sector can inform the debate.
- Preston Rutledge, Tax Counsel, Senate Finance Committee Majority Staff
- Paul Poteet, Senior Tax Policy Advisor, Office of Senator John Thune (R-SD)
- Additional Congressional Staff, TBD
- Sandra Swirski, Executive Director, Alliance for Charitable Reform (moderator)
The Congressional panel will be off the record.
The Dating Game
Sharing our stories with policymakers often means talking about place-based philanthropy – that special relationship between grantmakers and communities. Sometimes the focus is on the place a donor once – or still – calls home. Other times, the special place is a neighborhood, a town, a state, a region, even a country, where a particular challenge resonates with one’s philanthropic mission. In this session speakers representing individual donors, a community foundation, and a private foundation will present their stories of place-based philanthropy and discuss how those stories can build strong and sustained relationships with federal, state, and local public officials.
- Barbara Harman, President and Editor, Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington
- Thomas Riley, Vice President for Strategy, Connelly Foundation
- Jennifer Leonard, President and CEO, Rochester Area Community Foundation
Joanne Florino, Senior Vice President for Public Policy, The Philanthropy Roundtable (moderator)
1903: Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Ellen Browning Scripps, whose fortune derived from the Scripps family’s newspaper empire, generously supported a range of charitable causes across Southern California. She donated the land and first building for a Catholic college-prep school for girls, and supported it financially for years. She endowed what would become Scripps College, a part of the Claremont Colleges that she had helped to found. She commissioned a Women’s Club’s headquarters and community center, and the country’s first public playground, in La Jolla. She funded Egyptian explorations that resulted in the San Diego Museum’s Ancient Egyptian collection. She founded the Scripps Memorial Hospital and the Scripps Metabolic Clinic.
2008: Cause-oriented Journalism
Take one scoop of donors looking for new ways to affect public opinion and government policy, mix with three scoops of mainstream journalism bleeding red ink in the face of new Internet-based competition, and you get a layer-cake of donor-funded reporting operations. The granddaddy of these creations is ProPublica, founded by hyperactive liberal donors Herb and Marion Sandler to be a twenty-first-century muckraker, with a special focus on topics like gun control, civil rights, health care, fracking, campaign finance limits, labor laws, the Gulf oil spill, Guantanamo, and other policy hot buttons.
The House of Representatives passed today a package of four charity-related bills, H.R. 644, that includes legislation sponsored by Representatives Erik Paulsen (R-MN) and Danny Davis (D-IL) to streamline the private foundation excise tax to one percent – a provision the Alliance for Charitable Reform (ACR) has promoted for several years. H.R. 644 also makes permanent the IRA charitable rollover, the deduction for gifts of food inventory, and the deduction for conservation easements.
2014: New Orleans School District Goes All-charter
Before Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans public schools were the worst district in the second-lowest-performing state in the entire U.S. Fully 78 percent of NOLA students attended a school designated as “failing” by state standards. Then the storm wrecked 100 of the city’s 127 schools. Rather than rebuild the dysfunctional and corrupt school district, local leaders decided to instead create the nation’s most complete necklace of charter schools, then let them independently pursue a new set of higher common standards. Decision-making power was decentralized away from the old school-board bureaucracy and transferred to individual principals, teachers, and schoolhouses. Top charter operators from across the country were invited in to set up shop, and more than 40 different entities now operate charters in the city on a competitive basis. At the same time, school performance began to be monitored intensely, with the understanding that new schools given five-year operating charters would be shut down at the end of that period if their students were not succeeding.
On Wednesday, the House Ways and Means Committee marked up and approved a package of bills making permanent several expired tax provisions, including the IRA charitable rollover, the deduction for gifts of food inventory, and the deduction for conservation easements. The committee also approved legislation sponsored by Representatives Erik Paulsen (R-MN) and Danny Davis (D-IL) that would streamline the private foundation excise tax to one percent – a provision ACR has promoted for several years. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) indicated last week that the House could vote on all of these bills the week of February 9, but a final decision will not be made until next week. We are very pleased and will update you as the bill moves forward on the House floor.
2007: Healing the Upper Midwest
The business triumphs of Denny Sanford allowed him to retire to Florida at age 45–but he was soon itchy and returned to the upper Midwest where he had spent his entire previous life. After further commercial successes, he started giving away money. He turned his attention to the Sioux Valley Hospitals and Health System, beginning with a $16 million gift for a children’s hospital designed like a fairy castle. With his $400 million donation in 2007 (the largest single gift ever made to a U.S. health-care organization), the nonprofit was renamed Sanford Health. Sanford Health now includes nearly three dozen hospitals and more than 140 clinics, centered on South and North Dakota but spread across eight states, making it one of the largest rural, not-for-profit health systems in the nation.