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 a time when more people than ever are struggling to make ends meet in Florida during these difficult economic times, we hit the Hill to stress to our legislative leaders the important role that philanthropy can play to help our state recover and thrive.
During the Washington visits, the Florida grantmakers discussed several key issues of interest to foundations today to help strengthen and grow philanthropy, so that more charitable dollars are available to help people in need across the state and to help strengthen the health and vitality of our communities. These issues include expanding and extending the IRA charitable rollover provision, simplifying the private foundation excise tax and preserving the charitable deduction. FPN members also shared stories with Florida’s congressional legislators and their staffs about the vital philanthropic work being done across the state. Among the legislators who met with FPN members was Congressman Vern Buchanan (R-FL13), a member of the House Ways & Means Committee, which deals with many foundation-related tax issues.
While on the Hill we were pleased to hear broad support for philanthropy throughout Florida’s congressional delegation – on both sides of the aisle. The visits have already led to an increase in support for key foundation issues in Congress. After the FPN team visited the office of Congressman Dennis Ross (R-FL12), for example, he decided to support current bills to expand and extend the IRA charitable rollover provision and simplify the private foundation excise tax.
Foundations on the Hill is the one time each year when the philanthropy sector speaks with a single, powerful voice in Washington about the importance of philanthropy to our communities. The visits to Capitol Hill are part of FPN’s ongoing public policy efforts throughout the year to develop strong relationships with legislators and other key policymakers in order to protect, promote and strengthen Florida’s philanthropy and grantmaking field as it works to meet the state’s critical community needs.
Florida grantmakers and FPN staff involved in this year’s Foundations on the Hill event were:
- David Biemesderfer, President & CEO, Florida Philanthropic Network.
- Kiara Boone, Fellow, Jessie Ball duPont Fund.
- Alan Burton, Board Chair, Community Foundation of East Central Florida.
- Mark Constantine, Vice President, Strategy and Learning, Jessie Ball duPont Fund.
- Katie Ensign, Senior Program Officer, Jessie Ball duPont Fund.
- Teri Hansen, President/CEO, Gulf Coast Community Foundation.
- Virginia Hodges, Fellow, Jessie Ball duPont Fund.
- Susanne Homant, President & CEO, The Able Trust.
- Debra Jacobs, President and CEO, The Patterson Foundation.
- Jay Lundy, Public Affairs Officer, The Miami Foundation.
- Maggie Osborn, Vice President, Florida Philanthropic Network.
- Margaret Delmont-Sanchez, CEO, Zambrano Foundation.
- Andrew Sherry, VP Communications, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
- Javier Soto, President, The Miami Foundation.
For more information about FPN’s public policy efforts, please contact David Biemesderfer at 813-983-7396, firstname.lastname@example.org.
– David Biemesderfer, President & CEO, Florida Philanthropic Network