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Philanthropic Achievement of the Week

Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation

Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty may be the best known monument in the world, and the adjoining Ellis Island immigration halls are among America’s most historic sites. Both venues have been restored and revamped for mass visitation entirely by private philanthropy. In 1982, as the centennial of the statue approached, President Ronald Reagan appointed Lee Lacocca, then chairman of Chrysler Corporation, to lead a private-sector effort to fund restoration and preservation; the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation was born.

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Donor-Advised Funds Hoping to Roll Back Spend-Down Mandate in Camp Tax Overhaul

By Diane Freda, Bloomberg BNA

Reproduced with permission from Daily Tax Report, 108 DTR G-1 (June 5, 2014).
Copyright 2014 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033)

Donor-advised fund representatives are hoping to dial back a proposed five-year spend down requirement that would be imposed on funds as part of House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp’s (R-MI) draft Tax Reform Act of 2014.

Under the Camp discussion draft, donor-advised funds (DAF) would be subject to a 20 percent excise tax on DAF contributions that aren’t disbursed to charities within five years. The tax would apply in every year the donor-advised fund fails to make the distribution

Killing a payout requirement entirely may be difficult to accomplish, Sandra Swirski, executive director for the Alliance for Charitable Reform, told Bloomberg BNA June 3.

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ACR Blog: W&M Tax Extenders Markup

House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) held a markup (which is a formal amendment process) on May 29 on another group of tax extenders – annually expiring tax incentives – and related bills that the Chairman hopes to make permanent. The Committee considered three charity-related bills: a permanent extension of the IRA charitable rollover (introduced by Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR); a permanent extension of the deduction for qualified conservation easements; and a permanent extension of the enhanced deduction for food donations.

The Committee also considered two other bills, both of which have long been ACR priorities.

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Philanthropic Achievement of the Week

Saving Fisheries Through Catch Sharing

Concerned about the decline of the world’s fish population and the abysmal failures of existing government interventions to solve the problem, Barrett Walker decided to use market-based techniques and funding from his family’s Walker Foundation to attack the problem. He started a chain reaction of philanthropy that in less than ten years transformed solutions to overfishing.

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ACR News 05.30.14—Mixed Messages

>> Federal: ACR in the News
>> Federal: Washington Roundup
>> Federal: Ways and Means Committee Markup
>> Federal: ACR Webinar
>> Consider This: Mixed Messages
>> Top Reads: Charities adopt bunker mentality on taxes

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(VIDEO) ACR Webinar Focuses on Donor-Advised Funds

The rising popularity of donor-advised funds (DAFs) has caught the attention of the nonprofit community and congressional leaders. Despite their popularity, however, DAFs are still widely misunderstood, particularly by those outside of the charitable sector and by policymakers. For these and other reasons, the Alliance for Charitable Reform conducted its most recent webinar on May 28 entitled The Increased Popularity – and Scrutiny – of Donor-Advised Funds.

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Philanthropic Achievement of the Week

Marcus Autism Center

Bernie Marcus Autism CenterIn the early 1990s, an employee in an Atlanta Home Depot outlet had been missing work, then showing up sleepless and unkempt. Company co-founder Bernie Marcus took her aside and asked what was wrong. “Her child had this strange—well, I guess we called it a disability at first,” says Marcus. “Nobody knew what it was. The child was not communicating. He would scream in pain and nobody knew why. Doctors didn’t have the patience to work with him…. That’s when I first saw how autism destroys families.”

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ACR News 05.16.14—Tax Extenders a Bridge to Nowhere?

>> Federal: Tax Extenders Crawl Forward
>> Federal: Permanent IRA Rollover Bill Introduced in House
>> Federal: ACR and the Camp Draft
>> Consider This: A Bridge to Nowhere?
>> Top Reads: The 5 Most and Least Charitable States

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Major Achievements of American Philanthropy

Nature, Animals, and Parks

Many of America’s most iconic natural attractions are the products of philanthropy. Hundreds of national parks, urban green spaces, zoos and aquariums, public waterways and shorelines, wildlife and pet protections, gardens and arboretums have been created or bolstered by private givers. The first major patrons of nature giving in this country were John Rockefeller Jr. and then his son, Laurance. Their focused, timely support established or enlarged national parks like Grand Teton, Great Smoky Mountains, Virgin Islands, Yosemite, Big Bend, Rocky Mountain, Acadia, Olympic, Grand Canyon, Glacier, Haleakala, Redwood, Lassen Volcanic, Mesa Verde, and Shenandoah, as well as Antietam, Big Hole, Fort Donelson, and other battlefield parks, various state parks, the Marsh-Billings farm, the Blue Ridge Parkway, numerous historic sites and monuments, and local parks. But smaller donors and many grassroots voluntary philanthropic efforts have been even more important, helping save creatures like the peregrine falcon, swift fox, wild turkey, wolf, bluebird, and numerous fish, creating outdoor oases for everyday citizens to enjoy, conserving rare trees and plants, uncovering fresh solutions to ecological dilemmas, even pushing the boundaries of natural science through private support for physics and biological research. Donated money flows to these causes today at rates higher than ever before. The Environmental Grantmakers Association is able to identify billions of dollars of annual funding by U.S. donors.

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ACR Blog: Maine Partially Removes Cap on Charitable Contributions

Philanthropists, foundations, and other charitable organizations continue to fight against harmful legislation that curtails private charitable giving. Hawaii, North Carolina, Missouri, Montana, and Kansas are just a handful of states who have acted within the last year to pass legislation that would positively impact charitable giving. For example, Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie signed a bill last July that eliminated a cap on charitable deductions that had been in place for two years. Maine is the most recent state to take action.

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