Philanthropy Is Helping Improve Education in Florida

Last week I was invited to speak to the Florida Board of Education about how philanthropy and government in Florida can be effective partners to improve our state’s education outcomes. This marked the first time that Florida Philanthropic Network has ever presented to the Board of Education. The presentation was part of FPN’s ongoing efforts to improve public-private engagement in education and in other areas that our members support.

Florida Philanthropic Network President & CEO David Biemesderfer speaks to the Florida Board of Education on October 9, 2012.

FPN has a strong interest in education because it is a top funding issue for many of our members. A study by the Foundation Center revealed that 61% of Florida foundations support education – more than any other issue. That’s why FPN operates an increasingly active Education Funders Affinity Group (EAG) comprised of our members who fund education issues, organizations and needs; the group includes family foundations, independent foundations, corporate givers and community foundations across Florida. Through the EAG, FPN seeks to find ways to build bridges between government, business and philanthropy so that we can work together more effectively to improve education in Florida. Continue reading

The Charitable Deduction & Tax Reform: How Should Philanthropy Respond?

When I met with Florida’s congressional representatives and their staffs earlier this year to talk about issues of importance to philanthropy, time and time again people from both parties told me that comprehensive spending and tax reform is likely to happen in Washington in 2013 or 2014—no matter who wins the presidential election this fall.  Since most legislative issues of interest to foundations and charitable giving concern federal tax legislation, if we want to be relevant the philanthropy sector should consider how to position and discuss these issues within a broader tax reform context. A new Urban Institute study can help.

Last week I moderated a webinar hosted by the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers that featured Eugene Steuerle, one of the authors of a new study by the Urban Institute’s Tax Policy and Charities project. The study offers some helpful food for thought about the future of one of the most prominent charitable giving issues that is likely to be part of any tax reform negotiations: the charitable contribution deduction. Continue reading