Florida foundations made their voices heard in Washington this week. Florida Philanthropic Network led a team of 12 Florida grantmakers for visits with Florida’s representatives and senators as part of the annual Foundations on the Hill event on March 19-20, 2013. The event was co-sponsored by the Council on Foundations, the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers and the Alliance for Charitable Reform. We blanketed the Hill, making contact with all 29 members of Florida’s congressional delegation and their staffs, to stress to our legislative leaders the important role that philanthropy plays in our state.
During the Washington visits we discussed the importance of preserving the charitable deduction. We explained that a cap or limit to the charitable deduction would cost billions of dollars each year in contributions that help address the critical needs of our communities. We talked about how the charitable deduction is unique among all tax benefits because it’s the only one that encourages people to give away a portion of their income for something that benefits others – not themselves.
We also dispelled any misperceptions about the charitable deduction being a “loophole for the wealthy.” In fact, 52% of Floridians who used the charitable deduction in 2010 had an annual income of less than $75,000; one-third had incomes below $50,000. And the charities who rely on the generosity of donors at all income levels serve people who are among the neediest in our communities.
We were pleased to hear broad support for philanthropy and the charitable deduction throughout Florida’s congressional delegation – on both sides of the aisle.
Florida grantmakers and FPN staff involved in this year’s Foundations on the Hill event were:
- Bridget Baratta, CEO, Martin County Community Foundation.
- David Biemesderfer, President & CEO, Florida Philanthropic Network.
- Kiara Boone, Fellow, Jessie Ball duPont Fund.
- Gineen Bresso, Director of Special Projects, The Wasie Foundation.
- Chris Crothers, Program Officer, Jessie Ball duPont Fund.
- Debra Jacobs, President and CEO, The Patterson Foundation.
- Jen Klaassens, Vice President of Programs, Florida, The Wasie Foundation.
- Rebecca Nicholson, Director of Special Projects, The Wasie Foundation.
- Maggie Osborn, Vice President, Florida Philanthropic Network.
- Mark Pritchett, Senior Vice President, Community Investment, Gulf Coast Community Foundation.
- Upendo Shabazz-Phillips, Regional Vice President, Allegany Franciscan Ministries.
- Javier Alberto Soto, President & CEO, The Miami Foundation.
I’d like to thank all of the Florida foundation representatives who took time out of their busy schedules to participate in the 2013 Foundations on the Hill event. The stories they told about the critical needs they address across the state helped our congressional representatives understand the impact of philanthropy in Florida.
Foundations on the Hill is the one time each year when the philanthropy sector speaks with a single, powerful voice in Washington about the importance of philanthropy to our communities. The visits to Capitol Hill are part of FPN’s ongoing public policy work throughout the year to develop strong relationships with legislators and other key policymakers in order to protect, promote and strengthen philanthropy as it works to meet Florida’s critical community needs.
– David Biemesderfer, President & CEO, Florida Philanthropic Network