State Policy Briefs - May 2019

Periodically, SECF will provide members with updates on state legislation from the Southeast and beyond that affects philanthropy. If you have questions related to public policy, or know of legislation at the federal or state level you would like SECF to know about, please contact Matthew L. Evans, director of public policy and special projects, at or (404) 524-0911.

Mississippi Law Will Encourage Gifts to Community Foundation Funds

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant recently signed a law (SB 2210) creating the Endow Mississippi Program. The legislation creates a program designed to “promote philanthropic investments in local community development programs and activities, and to enhance the quality of life for Mississippi's children, families and communities.” The law allows Mississippi tax payers to claim a tax credit for gifts made to endowed funds held by community foundations in the state.

Written as a program for corporate income, individual income, and trust income tax purposes, the law provides for a tax credit equal to 25 percent of a qualified contribution to a fund at a qualified community foundation, subject to certain requirements.

The Mississippi Alliance of Nonprofits and Philanthropy and its affinity group, The Community Foundation Network, were strong advocates for the legislation, working tirelessly with legislative leaders in both the Mississippi House and Senate to help promote and get the bill passed.

The Mississippi Alliance of Nonprofits and Philanthropy has provided more information about the legislation on its website.

Donor Privacy Legislation in California Off the Table for Now

In the California General Assembly, a bill (AB 1712) that would have negatively affected donor-advised funds in the state will not be passed this year. The bill would have given the California State Attorney General broad powers, including to the right to request the identify of fund donors. Specifically, it would have required charitable corporations and trustees to file with the Attorney General “periodic written reports, under oath, that set forth information as to the nature of the assets held for charitable purposes and the administration of these assets by the corporation or the trustee in accordance with rules and regulations of the Attorney General.”

The bill also would have required donor-advised funds to report information to the Attorney General for the purpose of determining “whether the funds or accounts managed by the donor-advised fund are being administered properly.”

Following advocacy efforts by the League of California Community Foundations and the Philanthropy California coalition, the chair of the General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee decided to hold the bill, effectively killing it for the year. However, it may return in the future and inspire similar legislation in other states.

SECF worked with other organizations across the country, including Southern California Grantmakers, to monitor this legislation.

Matthew L. Evans is SECF’s director of public policy and special projects.


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Mission: The Southeastern Council of Foundations serves, connects, strengthens and champions philanthropy and philanthropic infrastructure in the South.