Children’s Services Councils: Valuable Partners for Philanthropy in Florida

Many Floridians may not know that Florida is the only state in the country that is home to some unique funding entities, known as Children’s Services Councils (CSCs), dedicated solely to investing in the well-being of children and families. Today voters in five Florida counties – Broward, Martin, Okeechobee, St. Lucie and Palm Beach – will be asked to reauthorize their county’s CSC. Continue reading

Three Florida Grantmakers Win Prestigious National Award for Outstanding Public-Philanthropic Partnership

Florida was well-represented this week at the announcement of the recipients of a prestigious national award to honor outstanding partnerships between philanthropy and the public sector. Three members of Florida Philanthropic Network—Florida Blue Foundation, Gulf Coast Community Foundation and IBM Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs—were among 10 recipients nationwide of the Secretaries’ Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships presented by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Council on Foundations. The awards were announced at the Council’s Fall Conference for Community Foundations in Cleveland. Continue reading

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 Urges Senators to Pass the “America Gives More Act”

When senators return to Washington next week after their August recess, they have an opportunity to help charitable organizations with their critical work in communities. By passing the America Gives More Act (H.R. 4719), the Senate can help grow philanthropy at a time when the charitable sector is being asked to do more to help those in need. 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

At FPN Event, Florida Congressman Vern Buchanan Voices His Support for Philanthropy

This week Florida Philanthropic Network hosted a reception in Washington, DC with special guest of honor Congressman Vern Buchanan, who voiced his support for philanthropy and shared his views about the important role that philanthropy plays in our communities. The event was held in conjunction with the annual conference of the Council on Foundations, and was co-hosted by FPN members the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Florida Blue Foundation, Gulf Coast Community Foundation and The Patterson Foundation.

Congressman Buchanan is the only Florida member of the House Ways and Means Committee, which has oversight of federal tax issues that can be critical in ensuring that philanthropy remains strong in Florida and across the country. So it’s good to know that he is a true friend of philanthropy, particularly as discussions about tax reform continue to take place in Congress. Continue reading

Florida Governor and Cabinet Honor Florida Community Foundations

Yesterday I was honored to accept a resolution passed by Florida’s Governor and Cabinet honoring Florida’s community foundations for “their service to communities all across the state.” The resolution was introduced by Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam at the April 22 Cabinet meeting in Tallahassee, and approved by Governor Rick Scott, Commissioner Putnam and the other members of the Florida Cabinet, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater.

The resolution also congratulated the community foundation field on its centennial anniversary. The first community foundation was created in Cleveland, Ohio in 1914. Continue reading