Our Agenda

Throughout its history, SECF has adopted positions on policy questions that directly affect the practice of philanthropy, the independence of our sector, and the regulations governing foundations and endowments. 

In order to most effectively serve as a non-partisan convener, SECF does not take positions on other political issues, though we encourage funders to address with policymakers issues they consider a priority.

SECF’s Policy Positions

The following positions were adopted following a vote by either the SECF Executive Committee or Board of Trustees, acting upon the recommendation of the Public Policy Committee.

Charitable Deductions - Adopted November 2012

SECF supports maintaining full deductibility of itemized charitable deductions. Furthermore, SECF urges policymakers to support charitable giving by opposing proposals to cap the charitable deduction for federal taxpayers.

Simplification of the Private Foundation Excise Tax - Adopted September 2013

SECF supports the simplification of the excise tax on private foundations through either elimination of the private foundation excise tax on investment earnings, or replacement of the two-tiered tax with a single rate/flat tax.

Endowed Philanthropy - Adopted February 2017

SECF – on behalf of its members – supports 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.

Universal Charitable Deduction - Adopted October 2017

Public policy should encourage charitable giving and all taxpayers should receive recognition for their charitable contributions. SECF supports legislation that would create a universal charitable deduction accessible to all filers, even those who do not itemize their return.

Independence of Donor-Advised Funds - Adopted October 2017

We urge Congress to bear in mind the philanthropic sector’s role and value to our communities by encouraging growth in charitable giving and resisting unnecessary regulations that constrain individual donor vehicles, including proposals to require mandatory programmed payouts from donor-advised funds.

IRA Rollover to Donor-Advised Funds - Adopted October 2017

SECF encourages the increase of individual philanthropy through donor-advised funds and therefore supports provisions that would allow individuals to rollover funds from individual retirement accounts (IRAs) to their donor-advised funds.

Political Activity and Philanthropy - Adopted November 2017

The Southeastern Council of Foundations opposes 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.

The Public Policy Committee is comprised of SECF members from across the region. The committee advises staff on public policy programming and develops policy positions, which are recommended to the SECF Board of Trustees.

Sally Ehrenfried (Co-Chair)
Charleston, SC​

Mason Rummel (Co-Chair)
James Graham Brown Foundation
Louisville, KY​

Jane Alexander​
Community Foundation for Mississippi
Jackson, MS

Meredith Sullivan Benton​
The Healing Trust
Nashville, TN​

Pete Bird
​The Frist Foundation
Nashville, TN​

Ben Chandler
Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky​
Louisville, KY​

Alfredo Cruz 
Foundation for Louisiana
Baton Rouge, LA​​

Torrey DeKeyser
​The Eyesight Foundation of Alabama​
Birmingham, AL

Susan DeVenny 
​J. Marion Sims Foundation​
Lancaster, SC

Robert M. Fockler
Community Foundation of Greater Memphis
Memphis, TN

Erik Johnson
​Robert W. Woodruff Foundation​
Atlanta, GA​

Antoinette Malveaux
​Casey Family Programs​
Seattle, WA​

Regan Gruber Moffitt​
Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation​
Little Rock, AR​

Cynthia Newbille​
Richmond Memorial Health Foundation
Richmond, VA​

Sutton Mora Hayes​
Community Foundation of Greater Memphis
Memphis, TN ​

Betsy Pennewill​
Community Foundation of Sarasota County
Sarasota, FL

Judge John Rochester
​Martha Christine White Foundation
Ashland, AL​​

Christopher Wilbanks​
The Robert and Polly Dunn Foundation​
Atlanta, GA​

Karen Wilbanks​
The Robert and Polly Dunn Foundation
Atlanta, GA 

Gilbert Miller (Ex-Officio)
Bradley-Turner Foundation
Columbus, GA

Janine Lee (Staff)
Southeastern Council of Foundations
Atlanta, GA

Jaci Bertrand (Staff)
Southeastern Council of Foundations
Atlanta, GA

Matthew L. Evans (Staff)
Southeastern Council of Foundations
Atlanta, GA

Matthew L. Evans is SECF’s director of public policy and special projects. He works closely with the Public Policy Committee and provides leadership on all public policy events and programs. Matthew also regularly meets with lawmakers representing the Southeast. If you have interest in becoming more involved, contact Matthew at matthew@secf.org or at (404) 524-0911.

If you have questions about public policy, contact Matthew at matthew@secf.org or at (404) 524-0911.

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

Hours: M–F from 9:00am to 6:00pm (ET)

Phone: (404) 524-0911
Fax: (404) 523-5116
Mission: The Southeastern Council of Foundations serves, connects, strengthens and champions philanthropy and philanthropic infrastructure in the South.