Forefront joins Foundations on the Hill for its return to in-person advocacy
Every spring, United Philanthropy Forum, Council on Foundations, and Independent Sector convene philanthropy serving organizations (PSOs) like Forefront from across the United States for Foundations on the Hill (FOTH).
This year was no exception. Forefront and our delegation of Illinois foundation executives and staff, met IN-PERSON after three years of virtual advocacy, to share space, conversation, and community in Washington, D.C for the 2023 FOTH.
In just three days, Forefront was able to meet with 12 Congressional officials to discuss the importance of the philanthropic sector and persuade elected officials to support important legislation for our sector and our communities. We shared the impactful stories of social impact throughout Illinois and educated officials and their offices on the unique and vital role that social impact work and charitable giving plays in America.
The 2023 Illinois Delegation
Foundations of all sizes and types from every corner of Illinois participated in Foundations on the Hill in 2023, showcasing the sector’s depth and diversity of thought. Thank you to these foundations for their time and efforts:
- Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation
- Michael Reese Health Trust
- The Chicago Community Trust
- Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation
- Healthy Communities Foundation
Meetings with Congressional Officials
In 2023, we secured meetings with Congressional offices and both Illinois State Senators, covering most of the State and crossing both sides of the aisle. We are grateful to the staff of these offices for helping to coordinate these important conversations and engaging in thoughtful discussion, including:
- Senator Tammy Duckworth
- Senator Dick Durbin
- Rep. Jonathan Jackson (IL-1)
- Rep. Robin Kelly (IL-2)
- Rep. Mike Quigley (IL-5)
- Rep. Sean Casten (IL-6)
- Rep. Danny Davis (IL-7)
- Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-8)
- Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL-9)
- Rep. Bill Foster (IL-11)
- Rep. Mike Bost (IL-12)
- Rep. Darin LaHood (IL-16)
2023 Legislative Priorities
At each Congressional meeting, foundation executives and Forefront staff discussed the following federal priority legislation.
FEDERAL PRIORITY LEGISLATION
Universal Charitable Deduction – SB566
This bipartisan legislation will restore the universal charitable or non-itemizer deduction is a key policy priority for nonprofit member organizations nationwide. This bill incentivizes all taxpayers to give to charity, regardless of their income or whether they itemize. The bipartisan CARES Act and its extension in 2020 included a universal $300/$600 deduction for charitable contributions for single/married filers, which data show led to an increase in both donations and donors in 2020. This bipartisan legislation would raise that $300/$600 cap, which expired 12/31/21, on the non-itemizer charitable deduction to to one-third of the standard deduction (roughly $4,600 for individuals and $9,200 for couples). View the public introduction of the bill on Capitol Hill with Senator Lankford (R-OK) and Senator Coons (D-DE) here.
Nonprofit Sector Strength and Partnership Act
The social impact sector employees 11% of the Illinois workforce and 10% of the workforce nationally, and partners with governments at all levels to provide essential services and promote the public good. Yet, there is no one in the federal government charged with ensuring the challenges and concerns of our sector are heard or addressed. The Nonprofit Sector Strength and Partnership Act (H.R. 7587 in the 117th Congress), would establish a new White House Office on Nonprofit Sector Partnership, Interagency Council, and Advisory Board to craft and implement better solutions for all.
Workforce Development through Post-Graduation Scholarships Act
Post-graduation scholarship grant programs can stimulate regional economic growth, strengthen a community’s workforce, and help address the growing student debt crisis. This bill defines post-graduation scholarship grants as a charitable activity and excludes post-graduation scholarship grants from an individual’s taxable income and has provisions to ensure that this program is benefiting those communities most in need. It will help bolster our sector’s workforce and build upon the work done at the state level through the adoption of HR26 in 2021.
Donor Advised Fund Regulation
As proposals impacting the sector are considered, especially difficult topics where there are multiple viewpoints on the issues, consider us a resource to your office and help ensure we are at the table before bills are introduced and decisions are made. Any shift or policy change that will impact donors and the charitable giving vehicles they use to donate to important causes in their communities should take into account the diverse viewpoints of our sector. Consideration and discussion of any proposal from external groups that seek to reform the charitable sector, such as the ACE Act should include the sector and charitable organizations that would be directly impacted by such reforms.
ACE Act is trying to address
- Time that lapses between gift and community benefit; a tax deductible gift should have a community benefit in the shorter term
- Concerns about transparency; no disclosure required for DAFs
You can also check out our 2022 virtual FOTH work to see how we built on it this year.
Stay Connected + Involved
In the coming weeks and months, Forefront staff will follow up with Congressional offices to encourage them to co-sponsor and support these proposals where applicable. Join our advocacy efforts by:
Getting Social on Social Media. Stay connected on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter to learn about how Forefront educates, unifies, and mobilizes the Illinois social impact sector.
Taking action with Forefront’s Social Impact Action Center Alerts. Take easy, effective, and timely grassroots advocacy action that can help to educate lawmakers and amplify issues important to creating a thriving and vibrant social impact sector in Illinois. Sign up here.
Joining Forefront’s weekly Social Impact Sector Newsletter. Get the latest policy updates, upcoming events, tools, resources, and more that will help you meet your mission and strengthen your impact, when you sign up for Forefront’s Social Impact Sector Updates newsletter. Sign up here.
And don’t forget to save the date for the 2024 Foundations on the Hill in Washington D.C from February 25-28, 2024.