Washington Snapshot

Washington Snapshot: Foundations on the Hill Takes Place Next Week

Friday, April 1, 2022 - 12:51 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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Happening on the Hill

House Passes Retirement Legislation

On Tuesday, the House overwhelmingly voted in favor of the Securing a Strong Retirement Act (H.R.2954), which makes changes to certain employer-sponsored retirement plans. Among other provisions, the legislation includes a modified version of the Legacy IRA Act (H.R.2909/S.243). This version of the Legacy IRA Act would introduce an additional giving tool for seniors, allowing them to make a one-time donation to a qualifying charitable organization through a life-income plan. It would also index the annual IRA charitable rollover cap to inflation.

The Council on Foundations commends the House for passing this bill. We continue to work with our partners to secure passage in the Senate. In addition, we support a more comprehensive IRA charitable rollover that would increase the amount seniors can donate and include distributions to donor-advised funds and supporting organizations.

Happening in the Executive Branch

President Biden Releases FY2023 Budget Request

This week, the White House released the Biden Administration’s FY2023 budget request, as well as the Department of the Treasury’s “Greenbook,” which details the Administration’s proposals for raising revenue for the coming year. The Greenbook includes a proposal to prohibit private foundations from counting distributions to donor-advised funds (DAFs) as part of their annual payout unless they are granted out by the end of the following year. Private foundations would also be required to maintain records proving the DAF made the qualifying distributions during the specified time frame. This proposal appears similar to a Treasury Department proposal from 2017, as well as the private foundation provision included in the Accelerating Charitable Efforts (ACE) Act (H.R.6595/S.1981).

The Council agrees with the president that DAFs capitalized by private foundations should be distributed in a timely way; however, we suggest a longer timeframe. The recommendations we released last month include a five-year timeframe for such distributions. This ensures that charitable dollars get into communities quickly and preserves flexibility for private foundations to best advance their missions.

The Greenbook also proposes increasing the top individual income tax rate to 39.6 percent, imposing a minimum 20 percent tax on high-earning taxpayers, and closing conservation easement loopholes.

The budget request and Greenbook are not federal law; they serve as messaging documents regarding the president’s priorities for the coming year, and typically the budget passed by Congress deviates significantly from the initial request.

Department of Commerce Announces New Strategic Plan

The Department of Commerce released its new strategic plan for 2022-2026. The plan will serve as the overarching blueprint for Commerce’s 225 programs and eleven bureaus and will guide the allocation of resources to achieve the desired long-term economic and social outcomes. The Department will concentrate its efforts on five strategic areas:

  1. Drive US Innovation and Global Competitiveness
  2. Foster Inclusive Capitalism and Equitable Economic Growth
  3. Address the Climate Crisis Through Mitigation, Adaptation, and Resilience Efforts
  4. Expand Opportunity and Discovery Through Data
  5. Provide 21st Century Service with 21st Century Capabilities

Philanthropic funders may find opportunities to leverage their work on inclusive and equitable economic development and climate resilience in the outlined strategic areas #2 and #3. Funders interested in connecting with the Economic Development Administration or the National Oceanographic and Aeronautics Administration can be introduced through the Council’s Federal Partnerships program.

Pilot Program Expands Capital Access for Underserved Entrepreneurs

The Small Business Administration announced on March 30 that it will extend the availability of the Community Advantage (CA) loan program until September 30, 2024. The pilot program, launched during the Obama Administration, was set to end on September 30, 2022. As one of the key tools for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), Community Development Companies (CDCs), microlenders, and other critical mission-based lending partners, the CA program prioritizes equitable access to capital for low-income borrowers and those from underserved communities.

Among the changes, the program extension will:

  • Lift the four-year lender moratorium, opening a critical capital program to more mission-based lenders across the country.
  • Increase the maximum loan size to $350,000 from the current level of $250,000 enabling greater loan access in the SBA’s 7(a) government-guaranteed loan program.
  • Remove the restrictions that can keep individuals with criminal backgrounds from accessing the Community Advantage program.

SBA’s Community Navigators provide valuable assistance in helping entrepreneurs navigate SBA resources.

The Census Bureau's COVID-19 Data Hub: Newest Version Now Available

Version 2.6 of the Census Bureau's COVID-19 Data Hub is now available. The COVID-19 Hub features data on more than 30 demographic, socioeconomic, and housing variables, businesses employment, and data on self-employed people from various sources, such as the American Community Survey (ACS), the County Business Patterns (CBP) survey, and the Nonemployer Statistics (NES) program. The Hub is designed to help guide the nation as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic by providing economic and demographic data. Users can browse state and county stats in interactive dashboards and maps to inform the planning of COVID recovery services for vulnerable populations and communities.

Happening in the States

National Council of Nonprofits

Exclusive from our colleagues at the National Council of Nonprofits.

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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