I recently wrote a post for the CEP blog about the power of the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers — the Forum Network — to advance philanthropy across the field. That power of the Forum Network, the largest network serving philanthropy in America, was on display again in March when nearly 200 representatives of foundations and other philanthropic organizations converged on Washington, D.C. for Foundations on the Hill. The event is the one time each year when the philanthropic sector gathers together in the nation’s capitol to provide a collective voice for philanthropy with federal legislators and other policymakers. People from 31 states held more than 260 meetings with House and Senate members to tell their personal stories about the value of philanthropy in their states and districts, and to highlight important federal policies that can strengthen and grow philanthropy. Continue reading →
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.”
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.
(l-r: Andrew Sherry, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; Virginia Hodges, Jessie Ball duPont Fund; Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL18); Margaret Delmont-Sanchez, Zambrano Foundation; Jay Lundy, The Miami Foundation)
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. Continue reading →