The Alliance for Charitable Reform (ACR) works to advance the principles that promote vigorous private giving to charities and to preserve the rights of these donors. A project of The Philanthropy Roundtable, ACR educates legislators and policymakers about the central role of private giving in American life and thus the importance of protecting philanthropic freedom—the ability of individuals and private organizations to determine how and where to direct their charitable assets. Active in Washington, D.C. and in the states, ACR seeks to prevent policies that would diminish private giving, limit the diversity of charitable causes Americans support, or place undue government regulations on philanthropic organizations. ACR encourages thought, discussion, and debate on issues of charity and public policy because of its core belief that our nation’s capacity for private initiative to address problems must not be burdened with costly or crippling constraints.
ACR was formed in 2005 to address potentially damaging legislative proposals on Capitol Hill, and has since played a leading role in protecting grantmaking foundations and other philanthropic organizations from unnecessary and sometimes harmful federal and state legislation.
To date, ACR has been successful in promoting and defending philanthropic freedom, but the current economic and political climate means that it has much more work to do.
Philanthropy exemplifies the American ideal of private action in the public interest, demonstrating our faith in the capacity of individual citizens not only to create wealth, but also-voluntarily-to care for their country, their communities, and their fellow citizens without undue reliance on government.
Philanthropy serves as an indispensable laboratory of innovation in addressing many of society’s greatest challenges. The independence of thought and diversity of interests and perspective produced by having so many committed private actors is the wellspring of this sector’s vitality, and must therefore be protected.
Philanthropy shows our commitment to the wellbeing of our neighbors-and of strangers in need. For many Americans, philanthropy also reflects deep faith and a determination to live by the Golden Rule. Philanthropy is about receiving as well as giving, and a free and vibrant civil society summons its members to create and lead organizations, programs and institutions out of a sense of higher purpose that transcends their own interests and base motives.
We believe that, in carrying out this role, it is incumbent upon government to treat all charitable activities with similar acclaim. We insist that government’s most important role vis-à-vis the charitable sector is to vouchsafe its millions of honorable members the freedom and encouragement they need to do their best. This vital and diverse element of civil society should be honored as one of America’s finest achievements and as evidence of people’s capacity for individual initiative and self-governance, not burdened with costly and potentially crippling constraints on its important work.
To promote the rights of donors and private foundations to choose how and where to spend their charitable assets and to defend that right amidst legislative or political processes that weaken it.
- To identify ways to preserve and expand America’s standing as the most generous and charitable nation by promoting the importance of voluntary, participatory, and active giving by donors.
- To safeguard the freedom of donors and private foundations to carry out their diverse charitable goals and missions, in order to preserve their distinctive contributions.
- To promote common-sense laws and regulations which encourage charitable giving and impose strict penalties on violators.