Public Policy Update - March 2021

Each month, SECF provides members with monthly updates on the latest public policy developments in Washington and state capitols around the region, analyzing their possible impact on the charitable sector. If you would like to see an issue featured in a future Public Policy Update, contact Jaci Bertrand, SECF's vice president of member engagement, at


Join Us Next Week at Virtual Foundations on the Hill!

Foundations on the Hill (FOTH) is only one week away, but this year’s event is all-virtual – that means you still have time to sign up and connect with lawmakers in Washington!

FOTH 2021 will take place on six days spread over two weeks (March 16-18 and 23-25). Along with the opportunity to connect with policymakers, you’ll also be able to access a full agenda of sessions and speakers, including a closing keynote from PolicyLink’s Michael McAfee!

If you’ve never attended FOTH before, this is definitely the year to take the plunge. You’ll be able to fully participate from your home or office while enjoying the full support of veteran state captains and the SECF staff! FOTH is also a tremendous value – you can sign up now for only $99

You can learn more about this year’s Foundations on the Hill by viewing our webinars from February 17 and March 2. If you’re ready to sign up, registration is open now at!


SECF Adopts New Position Statement on Equity

Last month, the SECF Board of Trustees adopted a new policy position statement that encourages partnerships between government and the charitable sector aimed at promoting and advancing equity.

The position statement was developed jointly by a subcommittee of members from SECF’s Public Policy and Equity committees; it marks the latest action to emerge from SECF’s Equity Framework. The full statement reads: 

The Southeastern Council of Foundations believes government at all levels should be a valuable partner to foundations and nonprofits in our efforts to promote and advance equity. We encourage policymakers to advance laws and regulations that strengthen the ability of the charitable sector to combat all forms of inequity, particularly racism. We also encourage public officials to join us in addressing the damage caused by systemic inequity and structural racism throughout our history. Working together, government and philanthropy can provide community leadership and support policies that help build a society where all people can engage and prosper.

The Position Statement will soon be added to the Public Policy section of


Lawmakers Set to Reintroduce Legislation to Expand Universal Charitable Deduction

This week, lawmakers in the House and Senate are expected to introduce the Universal Giving Pandemic Response and Recovery Act. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation would expand the current $300/$600 cap on the universal charitable deduction to one-third of the standard deduction, approximately $4,000 for individuals and $8,000 for joint filers.

A similar bill was introduced last Congress by a group of lawmakers led by Sens. James Lankford (R-OK) and Chris Coons (D-DE) and by Reps. Chris Pappas (D-NH) and Mark Walker (R-NC) As of now, the following members are expected to be original cosponsors with Lankford, Coons and Pappas: Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Tim Scott (R-SC), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Mike Lee (R-UT), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), and Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN).

Separately, Reps. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Henry Cuellar (D-TX) reintroduced the Charitable Giving Tax Deduction Act last month. This is the third iteration of the bill, which would create an uncapped and permanent universal charitable deduction for nonitemizers.

SECF is monitoring both pieces of legislation and will provide more details as they become available.


Southeastern Council of Foundations
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Visiting SECF:
All staff are working remotely at this time but can still be reached via email and by calling (404) 524-0911.

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Mission: SECF strengthens Southern philanthropy, welcoming our members to listen, learn and collaborate on ideas and actions to help build an equitable, prosperous South.