Washington Snapshot

Washington Snapshot: Register Now for Foundations on the Hill 2022

Friday, March 25, 2022 - 12:47 pm
Stephanie Powers

What's Happening This Week...

Happening at the Council

Register Now for Foundations on the Hill

Foundations on the Hill 2022, presented by the United Philanthropy Forum in partnership with the Council on Foundations and Independent Sector, will take place April 5 through 7. FOTH 2022 is a unique virtual experience that will allow attendees to build relationships with congressional staff, advocate on issues important to the sector, and connect the philanthropic sector with members of Congress. Register today.

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Last Chance to Apply for HUD Secretary's Award

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Council on Foundations have once again partnered to support the HUD Secretary's Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships. The 2022 awards will recognize five strategic partnerships between foundations and their local government or nonprofit colleagues. The awards ceremony will take place in June and feature HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge and Council CEO Kathleen Enright. Any charitable foundation can apply, regardless of their Council membership status. Applications are due Monday, March 28.

Happening on the Hill

House to Vote on Retirement Bill Next Week

The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the Securing a Strong Retirement (SECURE) Act (H.R.2954) next week. The legislation, a bipartisan effort to reform employer-sponsored retirement plans, includes a modified version of the Legacy IRA Act (H.R.2909/S.243), which would expand the charitable rollover for individual retirement accounts (IRAs). This version of the Legacy IRA Act will index the annual IRA charitable rollover cap to inflation and allow seniors to make a one-time IRA rollover gift to a charity through a life-income plan.

The Council on Foundations supports the Legacy IRA Act, which would give seniors more flexibility when planning their long-term charitable giving. The Council is also committed to working toward a more comprehensive IRA charitable rollover that would expand the amount seniors can donate and include distributions to donor-advised funds and supporting organizations.

Happening in the Executive Branch

President Biden to Release FY2023 Budget Request Monday

On Monday, the White House will release its FY2023 discretionary funding request to Congress. Along with the funding request, the Treasury Department will release the “Green Book,” a list of the administration’s FY2023 revenue proposals. These are likely to include proposed tax increases to offset spending increases in the budget. The White House’s budget proposal—and the accompanying Green Book—are not federal law; they serve as an outline of the president’s priorities for the coming year, and the budget passed by Congress often deviates significantly from the president’s proposal.

Council staff track federal proposals around tax policy and will include a summary of any proposed changes affecting the philanthropic sector in next week’s edition of Snapshot.

Federal Reserve Board Priority: Investing in Rural Prosperity

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, in collaboration with the Federal Reserve Board, has compiled a new report, “Investing in Rural Prosperity.” The report seeks to help rural communities achieve shared economic prosperity through a new framework to approach rural development successfully, showcasing stories of progress in different communities, and highlighting recommendations for action by policymakers, practitioners, funders, and researchers. It presents a wide range of topics, including entrepreneurship support, workforce development, energy-efficient manufactured housing, and digital inclusion. Philanthropic funders can request assistance from the Federal Reserve Board’s Division of Consumer and Community Affairs about this resource and other community development resources.

Federal Credit Ready Solar Project Hosts Philanthropy Working Group 

The National Community Solar Partnership, a project of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office, has created a Philanthropy Working Group to help support the more equitable deployment of community solar resources in their evolving Credit Ready Solar Marketplace. The Philanthropy Working Group meets to provide input on tactical actions, to define the gaps, and to help the Department explore how grants, concessionary capital, and blended funds will work side-by-side with other potential capital sources to be utilized via the Lenders Working Group. Email govt@cof.org if you are a funder who would like to participate in the Philanthropy Working Group. Contact The National Community Solar Partnership Team if you are a funder who would like to know more about the federal target of powering five million households to achieve $1 billion in savings by 2025.

Happening in the States

National Council of Nonprofits

Exclusive from our colleagues at the National Council of Nonprofits.

The Pandemic, Nonprofit Workforce Shortages, and the Need for Volunteers

Two years into the pandemic, charitable nonprofits from across the country report experiencing significant difficulties in retaining staff and filling vacancies, resulting in challenges delivering services. The CT Community Nonprofit Alliance recently posted survey results finding that nine out of 10 nonprofits say it’s difficult to recruit new employees. The theme of a recent Connecticut Public Radio broadcast recognizes the challenge: as burnout surges, nonprofits struggle to recruit and retain employees. Go here to learn more about the nonprofit workforce shortages crisis.

Adding to the difficulties for nonprofits in advancing their missions, the decline in volunteerism remains a major concern. Nonprofits that rely on volunteers to provide services in their communities, such as tutoring and food delivery, are not seeing a return to pre-pandemic levels, citing multiple factors in addition to COVID-19. In Maine, for instance, volunteers expressed concerns such as transportation, limited internet access, and physical health/safety, according to survey results of Maine nonprofits. When schools were closed, students were not volunteering as part of their graduation requirements, either because the school district waived the requirement or students found alternatives. As a result, thousands of volunteer hours disappeared during a critical period. Another challenge is gas prices, which topped an average of $4.25/gallon nationwide last week, according to the American Automobile Association. These increases put additional budgetary strains on nonprofits that depend on volunteer drivers, like Meals on Wheels and the Independent Transportation Network, which have reported a decline in volunteers. Notably, the volunteer mileage rate remains at 14 cents per mile because it is set as a fixed rate that has not been updated since it was set 25 years ago, and volunteers reimbursed for their mileage may have to pay income taxes on any amount that exceeds that rate.

Funding the Arts and Humanities

State lawmakers have been introducing and funding new programs that support arts and humanities activities in their states. A Maryland Senate bill would require the Governor to appropriate $500,000 annually for a grant to the Maryland Humanities Council for a new Strengthening Humanities Investment in Nonprofits for Equity (SHINE) grantmaking initiative. A measure in Idaho would dedicate $766,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds for the Commission on the Arts for pandemic grants to arts organizations. A West Virginia bill on the Governor’s desk would establish the Coalfield Grant Facilitation Commission to review and approve awards of matching funds for federal, state, or private grants for projects in the public interest and for a public purpose. These could include projects promoting or developing an artistic or philanthropic purpose, creating or expanding recreation, preserving historic buildings, improving quality of life through childcare access and public transportation, and creating drug and substance abuse rehabilitation programs and facilities.

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