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ACR News 03.20.15 - Ways and Means Member Resigns, Budgets Unveiled

>> Federal: Washington Roundup
>> Federal: Budgets Silent on Tax Reform
>> Federal: Ways and Means Member Resigns
>> Federal: Public Policy Guidebook
>> Federal: ACR Summit
>> Top Reads: Nonprofit Tax Changes Are Possible This Year, Says House Official

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Uncovering Philanthropy’s Vital Role in Public Policy

The Philanthropy Roundtable Unveils Guidebook On Public-Policy Philanthropy

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The Philanthropy Roundtable announces the public release of its latest guidebook, Agenda Setting: A Wise Giver’s Guide to Influencing Public Policy, which will help readers understand the growing role of donors in altering law, opinion, and public policy.

“Almost every major controversial issue today, from school reform to gay marriage, from public-pension bankruptcy to marijuana legalization, has philanthropists working on all sides to bring useful facts and arguments into the discussion. Donors are now driving really robust debates, and this guidebook will be a valuable resource as philanthropy becomes an increasingly important part of governance and policy change in America,” said Adam Meyerson, president of The Philanthropy Roundtable.

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Philanthropic Achievement of the Week

2007: Strengthening Character Through Sports

David Weekley was involved in character-building activities as a youth through Boy Scouts and church groups. After his success as a major home builder he decided to devote 50 percent of his money and his time to philanthropy, and character development was a key concern. It “is every bit as critical as economic aid or health care or education reform,” he told Philanthropy. Weekley was a longtime funder of Scouting, which reaches 20 or 25 percent of young people; sports, however, reaches around 75 percent. “I’m not personally a sports enthusiast but the country has become more focused athletically and more and more kids are involved,” said Weekley, so he set out looking for a charitable partner who could help children and their coaches build wholesome and productive values through athletics.

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ACR News 03.06.15

>> Federal: Washington Roundup
>> Federal: Rubio and Lee Release Tax Reform Proposal
>> Federal: Working Groups Set Timeframe
>> Federal: Senate Hearings Continue
>> Federal: Hatch Discusses Tax Reform Progress
>> Federal: ACR Summit
>> Consider This: The Effect of King v. Burwell on Tax Reform
>> Top Reads: The Lee-Rubio Tax Proposal

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Philanthropic Achievement of the Week

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.”

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ACR Summit for Leaders

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 for the ACR Summit is closed. Please check back here for a wrap-up of this year’s ACR Summit as well as information on future ACR events.


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
  • Steven Woolf, Senior Tax Policy Counsel, Jewish Federations of North America
  • 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)
  • Mark Warren, Tax Counsel, Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures, House Ways and Means Committee – Majority Staff
  • Adam Carasso, Senior Tax and Economic Advisor, Senate Finance Committee - Minority Staff
  • 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)

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Philanthropic Achievement of the Week

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.

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ACR News 02.20.15 - House and Senate Advance Charity Legislation

>> Federal: Senate Finance Committee Approves Charitable Bills
>> Federal: Tax Reform Talk Continues
>> Federal: ACR Summit
>> Consider This: What is the end game?
>> Top Reads: Obama Budget Again Calls for Limit to Charitable Deduction

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Philanthropic Achievement of the Week

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.

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(Blog): Charity Bills Pass House of Representatives, Senate Finance Committee

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.

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