ACR Summit for Leaders
March 18, 2015
8:00 - 11:00 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.
2014: Rehabilitating Arlington
When Robert E. Lee sided with his state instead of his nation and took command of the Confederate army, the U.S. seized his family estate located on a hill overlooking the nation’s capital from the south bank of the Potomac. Lee’s home—Arlington House, which was built as a tribute to his relative George Washington and modeled on the Temple of Hephaestus in Athens—was turned into a military headquarters. The grounds became the residence of several thousand liberated slaves, and then, in the third year of the war, a cemetery for men killed in the fight to preserve the Union.
By Joanne Florino
Image © Heatherwick Studio
As I read David Callahan’s November 30, 2014 New York Times opinion essay about the private philanthropy behind the planned Pier 55—a new offshore public park in a previously industrialized section of the Hudson River—I was reminded of one the old phrase: No good deed goes unpunished. While conceding that park-giving generosity is “admirable,” Mr. Callahan worries that “it also poses a threat to the ability of everyday Americans to have an equal voice in civic life” and “is part of a larger story about rising inequality and shrinking democracy.”
Yesterday, House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) introduced H.R. 5771, the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014, which would extend over 50 annually expiring tax provisions – known collectively as “tax extenders” – just through December 2014. Included in this extenders package is the IRA charitable rollover provision, which allows individuals of at least 70 1/2 years of age to make tax-free distributions from their Individual Retirement Accounts to charity. The bill also extends two other charitable provisions: the deduction for conservation easement contributions and the deduction for gifts of food inventory.
Thousands of volunteers and organizations will participate in the third annual #GivingTuesday today in an effort to further support the nonprofit sector and charitable organizations. According to the organization’s website, #GivingTuesday is a movement to designate a national day of giving on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
1991: Campaign Against Tobacco Use
Each year more than 440,000 Americans die of tobacco use—the nation’s largest cause of preventable death, accounting for about one out of every five U.S. deaths according to the Centers for Disease Control. About two-thirds of smokers say they want to quit, but only about 5 percent succeed in a given year. In 1990, the new president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Dr. Steven Schroeder, aimed his organization squarely at reducing “the harmful effects, and the irresponsible use, of tobacco, alcohol, and drugs.”
The Alliance for Charitable Reform has signed onto an open letter to Congress written by Independent Sector urging lawmakers to “make permanent the provisions in the America Gives More Act (H.R. 4719) before the end of 2014.”
2012: Speeding Safe Shale-gas Production
In 2012, two major philanthropists—oil-and-gas pioneer George Mitchell and Wall Street entrepreneur Michael Bloomberg—announced a joint effort by their foundations to encourage safe and efficient production of natural gas via shale fracking. They proposed to head off problems through “common-sense” state rules and voluntary adoption of best practices by the industry. The two foundations put up millions of dollars for efforts to improve fracking by minimizing water concerns, reducing methane leaks, optimizing well construction, disclosing chemical usage, and reducing local impacts on roads, land, and communities.