Council on Foundations: CoF’s public policy agenda

The Council on Foundations has identified its policy priorities for strengthening philanthropy at home and around the globe in its 2016 Philanthropy Platform. 

Philanthropy is a dynamic force for innovation, strategic thinking and leadership. Yet in the US, we see increasing legislative threats to endowed philanthropy, both through proposed bills and our current political dialogue. Within a context of growing need and shrinking government resources, the current US regulatory model that enables philanthropic endowments is at risk.

We believe it is critical that the US maintains a positive environment for America’s foundations and charitable giving. To this end, the Council is asking policymakers to take concrete actions that will strengthen and promote our country’s philanthropic traditions in four main areas:

  • Enhancing the ability of foundations to leverage endowments strategically: lawmakers should acknowledge the importance of philanthropic endowments and recognize that these endowments are critical to sustain communities.
  • Assuring philanthropy is a key stakeholder in federal policymaking: our national leaders should consider philanthropy, alongside business, state and local governments, and non-profits as essential partners in policymaking.
  • Fortifying tax policy to allow philanthropy to flourish: US tax code is outdated, overly complicated, and contradictory. Any new tax proposals must both protect an individual’s freedom in charitable giving and enhance the ability of philanthropic organizations to fulfil their missions in support of the common good.
  • Supporting the evolution of philanthropy: policymakers should celebrate philanthropy’s history, support the giving trends of today, and enable philanthropy to flourish in the future.

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