ACR Newsletter

Welcome to the Alliance for Charitable Reform’s biweekly newsletter. Here we’ll provide you with news and views on issues that impact philanthropy.

Washington Roundup | Consider This | Top Reads

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Friday, October 17, 2014

>> Federal: Washington Roundup
>> Federal: Annual Meeting Completed
>> Federal: Powerful Imagery
>> Top Reads: Give to Charity Like Bill Gates…Without Being Bill Gates

Washington Roundup

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) made a pitch for tax reform last week, urging Congress to renew the expired tax extenders so it can “get to work on a comprehensive overhaul of the tax code and lift the fog of uncertainty from taxpayers.” As you may recall, the Senate’s extenders package includes the IRA charitable rollover. The Wall Street Journal recently reported Congress is “likely to extend the expired rule” as a part of the final extenders bill.

On October 5, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) published a list of “five key things we should do as a nation,” and included tax reform as one of those items. “If we do these five things in a meaningful way…we can bring jobs home and reset the foundation of our economy for generations to come,” Boehner wrote. This is an important roadmap of the priorities for 2015-16 from House leadership.

Also last week, Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who would take over as Chair of the committee should Republicans control the Senate next year, said tax reform would be a central focus of his agenda in a Republican-controlled Senate. Hatch noted his reform efforts would promote simplicity and fairness and eliminate the exemptions, exclusions, deductions, and credits that have “excessively riddled” the tax base. He did not mention any specific tax incentives.

Annual Meeting Completed

Last week, The Philanthropy Roundtable completed the 2014 Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Annual Meeting is the Roundtable’s premier event for philanthropic decision makers committed to strengthening our free society and to exploring, collaborating, and solving our nation’s greatest problems through meaningful and effective philanthropy. This year’s meeting featured George Will as the keynote speaker and Jon Huntsman, Sr. as the recipient of this year’s William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership, among the many noted speakers and panelists. The Alliance for Charitable Reform conducted three panels at this year’s meeting.

Below is a five minute video of the opening remarks from Adam Meyerson, president of The Philanthropy Roundtable. Make sure to check our website and YouTube channel in the weeks to come for more videos from this year’s Annual Meeting.

Consider This

Earlier this month, the New York Times published an op-ed on whether or not lowering the private foundation excise tax on investment earnings makes sense. We won’t get into the pros and cons of that discussion, but our hackles were certainly raised by the characterization of private foundations in that piece as “warehouses of wealth.”

That’s powerful imagery. Think Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas Eve counting money and chasing do-gooders out of his office who have the audacity to ask for donations for the poor. Like we said, powerful imagery—but also inaccurate.

The assets judiciously managed by private foundations allow them to have significant impact both today and over a long period of time. Issues like advances in cancer research, global health, and long-term investments in K-12 education are just a few of the issues served by a lasting strategy from private foundations. It is giving with a huge impact – what we describe as transformational giving.

Characterizing private foundations as “warehouses of wealth” is a skewed vision. It is incumbent upon us to set that right by making it clear that there is a lot of good done and bad averted by the work completed by private foundations.

Top Reads

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Review past editions of the ACR newsletter below.

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