Archive for the ‘Advocacy’ Category

Florida foundations made their voices heard in Washington this week. Florida Philanthropic Network led a team of 12 Florida grantmakers for visits with Florida’s representatives and senators as part of the annual Foundations on the Hill event on March 19-20, 2013. The event was co-sponsored by the Council on Foundations, the Forum of Regional Associations of [...]

The statistics are hard to ignore, and you may already be familiar with many of them. In 2010, guns took the lives of more than 31,000 Americans in homicides, suicides, and unintentional shootings. This is the equivalent of more than 85 deaths each day and more than three deaths each hour.  More than 50 percent [...]

When my class (The Philanthropy Workshop West) arrives, a light snow dusts the ground and U.S. President #44, Barack Obama, has just been sworn in for a second term. As we progress through a week of presentations, spring thaws early and soft rains fall, cleansing our cynical capital and washing away [...]

Last week, I predicted that the itemized deduction could soon be back on the table as Congress looks for ways to raise revenue. It may not have been a great leap to predict that, but my crystal ball is working: Yesterday, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) announced a February 14 hearing [...]

Living inside the Washington beltway must be a profoundly disorienting experience. Maybe there’s something in the Potomac River, maybe it’s just too much time in the world’s most self-absorbed echo chamber, or maybe it’s just the pressure of too much traffic. Honestly, I don’t know.
To continue reading this post please visit The [...]

Right now the debate on the fiscal cliff is consuming mainstream media and all conversations in Washington, D.C. Deficit reduction, the cliff, and tax reform all have major implications for philanthropy. Here are the three issues the Council on Foundations is watching and will continue to monitor for you in the days ahead.
1. Maintain the [...]

The timing of the November 12 session, “A Look Forward on Tax Reform,” during the Public Policy Action Institute at Independent Sector’s annual conference could not have been more critical. It provided an important opportunity for attendees to get a clear sense of the urgency and potential impact our sector faces as the Obama Administration [...]

Yesterday, Americans cast their vote for the future course of our nation. Many of our fellow citizens affected by Hurricane Sandy endured much more difficulty than normal in voting, some using flashlights to see their ballots. Their resolve and resiliency is a tribute to the American spirit and reminds us all of our freedom to [...]

America’s charities face a brewing crisis with the upcoming comprehensive tax reform debate that is almost certain to envelop our nation. As Congress searches for ways to close the growing national debt, the charitable tax deduction is included in the “everything” often mentioned in the phrase “everything is on the table.”
To continue reading this post [...]

Though the scalding heat of summer is likely to last for at least another month in Arkansas, the summer season is ending for many students as they prepare to return to school. As these students soon will do, funders and government staff recently gathered with sharpened pencils to learn together at Foundations 101.

Cosponsored by the [...]

It’s the time of year when we begin to think about the new Congress and our legislative agenda at the Council on Foundations. To help us get started, I am asking for your support by filling out the Philanthropic Policy Priorities Survey. The responses to the survey will allow the Public Policy Committee and government [...]

Every year at the Fall Conference for Community Foundations, members of the Council’s government relations and legal team provide a legislative and regulatory update, including implications for the philanthropic sector. In addition, they offer tips on how to navigate the sometimes muddy political waters and discuss how community foundation colleagues are partnering at the federal, [...]

Last week, The Merck Company Foundation launched a new three-year, $3 million initiative, the HIV Care Collaborative for Underserved Populations in the United States, to help the local health departments in Atlanta, Houston, and Philadelphia connect more people living with HIV/AIDS to the care they need to stay healthy.
Two years ago, the Obama administration laid [...]

Following the success of Kentucky’s inaugural Foundations 101 meeting, I was part of a group of several funders in Alabama who joined together earlier this month to reach out to the local staffs of our elected officials for our own 101 session.
Unlike the barnstorming meetings some of us attend each year during Foundations on the [...]

For each new session of Congress, the Council on Foundations prepares a legislative agenda detailing issues of importance to the philanthropic sector. The goal is to (1) partner with elected officials for the betterment of the communities we serve, (2) encourage and support philanthropic giving, and (3) more effectively serve the needs of our sector.
Even [...]

On May 15, the San José City Council approved a strong municipal ordinance that will curb the impact of predatory payday lending on residents of America’s 10th largest city. The vote, on a motion by Councilman Ash Kalra, is the latest and largest victory in Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s ongoing advocacy [...]

I recently signed a check for our 2012 Council on Foundations dues. Since I’m the chair of the Council that is probably not surprising. But that’s not my day job. My paycheck comes from being the CEO of Berks County Community Foundation. I was the first employee hired by the foundation, and, like any foundation [...]

I landed in Cairo earlier today a few hours ago expecting to see significant changes. In many ways everything has changed yet on the drive from the airport to the hotel in Zamalek to across the Nile, Cairo is still the same. The wonderful energy, the crazy traffic with cars moving in [...]

I didn’t go to “Foundations on the Hill” (FOTH) but was there in spirit through the data and stories collected by FSG and CF Insights. On March 21-22 representatives of organized philanthropy gathered in Washington, D.C., for two days of face-to-face meetings with lawmakers and their staff.
For a taste of the experience and why it [...]

Florida Philanthropic Network led a team of 14 Florida grantmakers to Washington, D.C., on March 21-22, 2012, for visits with Florida’s full 27-member congressional delegation and their staffs, as part of the annual Foundations on the Hill event, which was co-sponsored by the Council on Foundations and the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers. At [...]

On the heels of Foundations on the Hill and many blogs on the topic, some of you may be scratching your heads asking, can a foundation really talk to legislators, educate them about the issues important to your foundation’s mission, and advocate to better position philanthropy?
The short answer is: While there are limitations, private foundations [...]

As foundations work to foster and build relationships with their elected officials and staff, both at home in their districts, 2012 presents a rare challenge to keep in mind: redistricting. The person who is your congressional representative today may not represent you a year from now. New York is losing two congressional seats. Texas is [...]

My badge at Foundations on the Hill last week sported a blue ribbon that read “First-time Attendee.” Ah, a newbie, fresh face, initiate. Welcome to Washington.
My two-day Capitol adventure got underway Wednesday morning with a series of panels and briefings hosted by the Alliance for Charitable Reform. From the “labyrinth of transparency” to L3Cs and [...]

Over 200 foundations across the United States, next week will converge on D.C. to strengthen partnerships among the philanthropic and public sectors. In our fourth consecutive year, KDK-Harman Foundation, will participate in the annual Foundations on the Hill (FOTH) public awareness campaign aimed at voicing the importance of a vibrant philanthropic sector with federal representatives.
“Throughout [...]

There has never been a more challenging time for philanthropy. Globalization, natural disasters, and economic turmoil have placed additional stresses on social safety nets already stretched to the max. In this environment, the philanthropic sector must be smarter, more adaptable, and more collaborative.
None of us has all the answers, but some innovative approaches to giving [...]

Florida Philanthropic Network is pleased to once again be leading the state’s delegation to Washington, D.C., for Foundations on the Hill (FOTH), March 21-22. Although we coordinate visits with our members of Congress back in their home districts throughout the year, FOTH is a critical part of our annual public policy engagement work.
Because Florida is [...]

I admit it. I’m a policy wonk who happens to serve a foundation that understands the importance of public policy and advocacy work. We consider weighing in where our participation may be a catalyst for positive change in our state, our region, and our nation. That’s why the annual trek to Washington, D.C., for Foundations [...]

“If we are not at the table, we run the risk of being on the menu.” How I remember that comment from last year’s Foundations on the Hill (FOTH). Sure enough, we had a close call this past season with efforts to trim the charitable deduction. This alone provides a major incentive for CMF and [...]

On March 21-22, organized philanthropy will gather in Washington, D.C., for Foundations on the Hill, two days of face-to-face meetings with our nation’s legislators.
It’s important that you be there. Shrinking government budgets put an ever-brighter spotlight on foundations. To some in Washington, we’re a big pile of cash waiting to be spent. To others, we [...]

Many observers view 2012 as a year when little will get done legislatively, as the candidates and political parties jockey for position in advance of the presidential election. Contrary to that opinion, this year is actually a huge opportunity for interested parties-like foundations-to build relationships with key policymakers and their staffs in advance of the [...]

My trip last week to Washington, D.C., was easy and productive thanks to the Council’s great government relations team. I wanted to meet with members and staff of Montana’s congressional delegation to brief them on our transfer of wealth study and some new information we have about population changes in our state. All of that [...]

As lawmakers continue to wrestle with options to reduce the federal deficit, philanthropic leaders are finding themselves defending the status quo. Recently, the Senate Finance Committee received testimony from philanthropic leaders and researchers on incentives for charitable giving and options for tax reform. Although the panelists were prepared for specific questions from committee members, I [...]

Given the prolonged economic crisis, individuals and families are increasingly making difficult choices between urgent needs such as housing, medical care, and food. A new California state law that removes unnecessary paperwork and fingerprint requirements for those eligible to receive food stamps will help make some of these choices a little easier.
Last month, Gov. Jerry [...]

Being a fall associate at the Council on Foundations comes with a steep learning curve. One of the areas I knew the least about was community foundations. First, what is a community foundation? Second, and more important, how can community foundations make an impact on policy at the state and federal levels and what can [...]

After watching a high-stakes stalemate in Congress over the federal budget this summer, the philanthropic community is now preparing for a critical fight over the role of charitable giving in American society.
Since 2009, the Council on Foundations has fended off repeated efforts by the White House to cap the charitable deduction at 28 percent as [...]

I was visiting family in New York City over the weekend when Irene came up the eastern seaboard. In the end, we were spared, luckier than many other communities north and south of us. Some neighbors in my dad’s high-rise apartment building in Brooklyn had the great idea to throw an Irene potluck, getting us [...]

Welcome to RE: Philanthropy! In this blog, guest and Council bloggers share ideas and insights on the most pressing issues in philanthropy. If you want to contribute, please contact

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Council on Foundations.


David Abramson
Phil Hall
Renee Branch
Kevin F. Walker
Steven Waldman
Bubba Smith
Sandie Palomo-Gonzalez
Trabian Shorters
Laura Tomasko
Jennifer Leonard
Brad Phillips
David P. Janes
David Etzwiler
Darren Sandow
Sue Santa
Nick Deychakiwsky
Tim Walter
Terence Mulligan
Laurel Lee-Alexander
John F. Rohe
Patricia Maguire
Josh Viertel
Johanna Van Dyke
Janet Brown
Courtney Spalding-Mayer
Tracy Viselli
Rick Mappin
Kate Levin Markel
Dien S. Yuen
Michelle Zupan
David Styers
Kevin Salwen
Peter Laughran
Bruce Trachtenberg
Vicki Rosenberg
PJ Watters
Chris Rurik
Flozell Daniels Jr.
Meghan Duffy
Ruth Ann Norton
Judy Patrick
John Harvey
Niki Jagpal
Braimah Apambire
Suzanne Stringfield
Monica Buhlig
Stephen Pratt
Ruby Takanishi
Heather Peeler
Sofia Rasmussen