Arlington, VA. – Today Dave Camp (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.), the committee’s ranking member, held a hearing on the impact of the charitable deduction. Kevin Murphy, president of Berks County Community Foundation and chair of the Council on Foundations Board of Directors, was on the first panel to testify. Representing the Council as the national organization and voice for grantmaking organizations, while also speaking as the president of a medium-sized community foundation, Murphy underscored that limits or caps on the charitable deduction will result in less charitable giving and have a significant impact on America’s most vulnerable citizens.
“The charitable deduction is a powerful catalyst, and the Council opposes any limits or caps that could hinder charitable giving,” said Vikki N. Spruill, the Council’s president and CEO. “As a national membership association, the Council recognizes that promoting the voices of those creating and implementing impact in our communities—including our members—is the best way to raise the awareness of our nation’s leaders about philanthropy’s critical role in our society. We’re pleased that Kevin testified today and lent his valuable perspective as someone who sees firsthand, every day, the tremendous impact charitable giving has on America’s citizens.”
In his testimony, Murphy demonstrated the tangible solutions that are achieved in his community and the world because of philanthropic giving. He stated “the charitable deduction and its encouragement of charitable giving is hardly a loophole or a benefit for the rich. To the contrary, it is a means to help ensure that we care for the poor.”
Terry Mazany, president of The Chicago Community Trust and a member of the Council’s Board of Directors, appeared on the third panel and discussed how the current economic climate makes philanthropy even more essential: “Given the reality we face, and the fact that the charitable tax deduction encourages a behavior key to our democracy—giving for the common good—I am an advocate for the preservation of the full deduction. If we expect communities to respond to the needs of their residents, we must preserve their charitable capacity.”
“We are encouraged that so many members of the Charitable Giving Coalition, of which the Council is a member, were able to add their expert and unique voices to this important conversation,” Spruill said. “The diverse group of witnesses who testified at today’s hearing represent the myriad facets of the charitable sector, including many prominent national charities, esteemed academics, regional and national associations, and grantmakers, including Council members.”The Charitable Giving Coalition represents a broad cross-section of nonprofit organizations, including private and community foundations, their grantees, and independent charities.
Last night, Chairman Camp and Ranking Member Levin announced the formation of 11 working groups on tax reform to review current law and research and compile feedback that will inform the Joint Committee on Taxation’s report to the full committee, which is scheduled to be delivered April 15. One of the 11 working groups will focus on the charitable sector.
“The formation of these working groups is an important opportunity for the Council to work with lawmakers to ensure that the charitable deduction is fully understood and valued in advance of tax reform,” Spruill noted. “The Council looks forward to representing our membership and the sector in these upcoming discussions.”
The Council on Foundations (www.cof.org), formed in 1949, is a nonprofit membership association of grantmaking foundations and corporations. Members of the Council include more than 1,700 independent, operating, community, public and company-sponsored foundations, and corporate giving programs in the United States and abroad. The Council’s mission is to provide the opportunity, leadership, and tools needed by philanthropic organizations to expand, enhance, and sustain their ability to advance the common good.