Our Priorities

PRIORITIES Public Policy Our Priorities

Our Priorities

SECF’s public policy work is driven by our Public Policy Committee, which operates under a strong set of guiding principles. Our strategic approach works toward three overall goals:

 · Sustain the diversity and independence of the philanthropic sector.
 · Encourage the growth of philanthropy and charitable giving.
 · Maintain transparency and accountability throughout the philanthropic sector.

SECF's Public Policy Blueprint

SECF’s public policy goals, guiding principles and approach are defined by our Public Policy Blueprint, which was adopted by the SECF Board of Trustees in 2019. While policy priorities change year-to-year depending on opportunities and threats to the sector, the Blueprint provides a permanent framework for taking action.
Download the Blueprint

Our Policy Agenda

SECF's Public Policy Agenda

Each year, SECF’s Board of Trustees, acting on the recommendation of the Public Policy Committee, identifies key issues that will drive our public policy efforts for the year.
Download the Agenda

For 2020, SECF’s public policy agenda is focused on the following areas:

Encouraging Charitable Giving

Public policy should encourage and recognize charitable giving by all Americans at all levels. We support efforts to maximize incentives for charitable giving and make them available for all Americans in order to allow greater support of critical community needs.

Community-driven Philanthropy

Community foundations and other place-based funders share a common mission – building long-term, lasting philanthropic legacies for their communities. Donor-advised funds and other tools are among the many ways these foundations help diverse sets of donors support the communities in which they live. We oppose placing limitations on individuals and families that want to work with a place-based or community foundation, including undue or burdensome regulations that would reduce the significant philanthropic investment these individuals and families make.

Endowed Philanthropy

We support laws and regulations that allow public and private philanthropy to operate in perpetuity, thereby permitting charitable organizations the ability to use endowments to generate long-term responses and support to communities.

IRA Rollover to Donor-Advised Funds

Donor-advised funds provide an excellent vehicle for giving by individuals who want to make a sustained, long-term impact but may not have the wealth or time necessary to establish a foundation of their own. We support allowing people to rollover funds from individual retirement accounts (IRAs) to donor-advised funds as an effective way to encourage more individual charitable giving.

Regulatory Activity

Government agencies, including the Department of Treasury, often issue guidance and regulations that affect the day-to-day operations of foundations. We are fully engaged with relevant executive agencies, informing their decisions that impact the sector and advocating for positive regulatory mechanisms.

Political Activity and Philanthropy

We oppose any effort to weaken provisions of current federal tax law, including the so-called Johnson Amendment, that prohibit 501(c)(3) organizations from endorsing, opposing or contributing to political candidates.

Help deliver our agenda to lawmakers – download a version you can provide to policymakers when you meet in-person!

Policy Positions

SECF’s Board of Trustees, acting on the recommendation of the Public Policy Committee, has adopted official positions on the following subjects:

· Charitable Deductions (Adopted November 2012)
· Private Foundation Excise Tax (Adopted September 2013)
· Endowed Philanthropy (Adopted February 2017)
· Universal Charitable Deduction (Adopted October 2017)
· Independence of Donor-Advised Funds (Adopted October 2017)
· IRA Rollover to Donor-Advised Funds (Adopted October 2017)
· Political Activity and Philanthropy (Adopted November 2017)

If you have questions about SECF’s public policy work, would like support in setting up a meeting with policymakers, or want to know more about what kinds of advocacy foundations can, or cannot, engage in, contact Jaci Bertrand, SECF's vice president of member engagement, at (404) 524-0911 or via email at jaci@secf.org.

Jaci Bertrand

Vice President of Member Engagement


Southeastern Council of Foundations
100 Peachtree Street NW, Suite 2080
Atlanta, GA 30303

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

Monday-Thursday from 9:00am–6:00pm (ET)
Friday from 9:00am–12:00pm (ET)

Phone: (404) 524-0911
Fax: (404) 523-5116

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