Telling Florida Philanthropy’s Story With Bigger, Better Data

FC_AllianceFlorida Philanthropic Network is excited to be part of a new national strategic partnership that aims to achieve a dramatic improvement in the collection and sharing of data on philanthropy.

Last week the Foundation Center and the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers announced this new alliance. The partnership will result in the collection of more comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date data on grantmaking in our country. These data will be used in new regional research reports and new regional data visualization tools that will help us do a better job of telling the story of philanthropy in our region and help inform funding decisions and track giving trends. Continue reading

FPN Expresses Concerns About Proposed IRS Form 1023-EZ

Florida Philanthropic Network has contacted key members of Florida’s congressional delegation to express concerns about a proposed Form 1023-EZ from the IRS and to request an opportunity for input from the nonprofit and foundation communities, while also expressing our general support for efforts to simplify tax forms and streamline the application process.

The Form 1023 is filed at the start of a new nonprofit organization. FPN agrees that the existing Form 1023 is cumbersome and is in need of some improvement, so we understand the good intentions of the IRS to simplify the form and manage a backlog of applications by developing a streamlined application process for smaller organizations. But we are concerned that the 1023-EZ’s two-page checklist could increase opportunity for fraud and exacerbate the proliferation of ill-prepared nonprofits.

For example, the current Form 1023 application process requires an applicant to submit its organizing documents, but the Form 1023-EZ just requires the applicant to check off boxes to indicate that its organizing documents contain various critical provisions. While this change will certainly speed up the application process, it also eliminates key evidence that the IRS uses today to perform its appropriate due diligence. Continue reading

Why Hill Visits Matter: Florida Grantmakers Make Their Voices Heard in DC

It’s easy to be skeptical about Washington these days, what with the apparent rise in partisanship, the seemingly oversized influence of money in politics, and the perception that not much seems to be getting done. So why bother meeting with your congressperson, one may ask, particularly traveling all the way to DC to do it. Is it really worth it? It’s a fair question, and one to which I’d respond with an unequivocal “Yes.”

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of being part of a team of Florida grantmakers who gathered on Capitol Hill to meet with Florida’s congressional delegation, led by Florida Philanthropic Network. We were there to talk about the importance to Florida’s future of ensuring a strong and growing philanthropic sector in our state, and to discuss key legislative and policy issues that can help make that happen. The meetings were part of the annual Foundations on the Hill event put on by the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, in partnership with the Council on Foundations and the Alliance for Charitable Reform. Continue reading

Helping to Guide America’s Largest Philanthropy Network

Last week I was honored and humbled to be elected Chair of the Board of Directors of the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers in Arlington, Va. The Forum is the largest network serving the philanthropic sector in America. Our network of 34 regional associations of grantmakers, including Florida Philanthropic Network, collectively represent more than 5,000 private and community foundations, corporate givers and other philanthropic organizations (you can read more about the appointment here). Continue reading