Philanthropic Achievement of the Week
2002 - Boosting Electronic Health Records
Electronic health records that are consistent, interchangeable, and accessible by consumers and health professionals from anywhere will be essential to many future advances in health care, including medicine that is personalized to the patient, better quality control, and reduction of duplication and waste that inflates prices. It’s estimated that electronic health records could save more than $100 billion in unnecessary medical costs.
Back in 2002, when universal electronic records were just starting to be discussed seriously, the Markle Foundation put up $2 million to launch Connecting for Health. The foundation acted as a neutral convener on this contentious topic, bringing together computer experts, medical professionals, insurers, government, and other interested parties—rejecting no one who wanted to participate. When the effort began to show promise, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation became a partner and put additional millions into supporting regular exchanges of information among participants.
In 2003, Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson announced, while offering thanks to the Markle Foundation, that the standards produced out of the Connecting for Health meetings would be adopted by the federal government as it moved toward personal electronic health records. Duke University’s philanthropy center concluded that because of its inclusive and neutral approach, the Markle Foundation’s contribution was crucial. “The value added by Markle’s participation has been widely recognized. As a private foundation, Markle was able to fill a key niche: that of the convener. No other entity, public or private, would have been able to conduct the discussions that led to the Connecting for Health standards.”
Donor-Advised Fund Spend-Down Proviso May Be Cut From Future Tax Overhaul Drafts
By Diane Freda, Bloomberg BNA
Reproduced with permission from Daily Tax Report, 204 DTR G-7 (Oct. 22, 2014). Copyright 2014 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033)
Oct 21 - A five-year spend-down requirement for donor-advised funds might be eliminated in future drafts of the Tax Reform Act of 2014, a House Ways and Means senior staff member said.
“I think it is possible,” Harold Hancock, tax counsel on the committee’s majority staff, said of the controversial DAF proposal currently contained in Rep. Dave Camp’s (R-Mich.) discussion draft.
“This is an area we are definitely looking at,” Hancock told practitioners Oct. 21 at a D.C. Bar Taxation Section panel discussion. He said the main motivation of the many exempt proposals in the draft isn’t to generate revenue, but to address policy concerns.
The provision would subject DAFs to a 20 percent excise tax on contributions that aren’t distributed within five years of receipt.
“The fundamental concern is the timing mismatch of the deduction,” said Gordon Clay, legislation counsel with the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation.
Donors to DAFs get an upfront deduction and there is no requirement that distributions be made from individual accounts. While some DAF accounts make distributions on a regular basis, others make no distributions at all, and Clay said it is the latter scenario that lawmakers are worried about. The timing mismatch between the upfront deduction and when money is paid out from DAFs in the form of grants to other public charities has led to concerns about “asset parking.”
Groups including the Alliance for Charitable Reform and the Jewish Federations of North America have fought the proposal, saying among other things that it will drive donors toward private foundations (108 DTR G-1, 6/5/14).
Single Excise Tax Rate
The provision most likely to succeed in the upcoming lame-duck congressional session is one imposing a single 1 percent rate of excise tax on net investment income for private foundations, Hancock said.
“We’re just waiting for the Senate to see the light and take it up,” he said.
The provision was included in H.R. 4719, which passed the House with bipartisan support. Hancock said the Ways and Means Committee wants it to be part of the discussions on whether to make extenders legislation permanent (153 DTR G-5, 8/8/14).
To contact the reporter on this story: Diane Freda in Washington at email@example.com
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Oct 17, 2014
ACR News 10.17.14—Wyden, Hatch, and Boehner Comment on Tax Reform
>> Federal: Washington Roundup
>> Federal: Annual Meeting Completed
>> Consider This: Powerful Imagery
>> Top Reads: Give to Charity Like Bill Gates…Without Being Bill Gates
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.
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 the 2014 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.
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.
- National: Give to Charity Like Bill Gates…Without Being Bill Gates
- National: Simon Prize for philanthropic leadership awarded to Jon M. Huntsman Sr.
- National: Sen. Mike Lee: Health of family ‘indivisible from destiny of nation’
- National: Jon Huntsman Sr. awarded the Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership
- National: Delayed Action on Extenders Might Add to FY 2015 Deficit
- Opinion: Larry Sly: Senate must include America Gives More Act in tax legislation
- Opinion: Reclaiming the American Dream III:The Connecticut Yankee Saving Kids in Southern Ohio
- Opinion: Reclaiming The American Dream IV: Reinventing Summer School
- Local: Key to Unlocking the New Generation of Philanthropy
- ACR Blog: Philanthropic Achievement of the Week: Violence-Free Zones
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