· Sustain the diversity and independents of the philanthropic sector.
· Encourage the growth of philanthropy and charitable giving.
· Maintain transparency and accountability throughout the philanthropic sector.
For 2019, SECF’s public policy agenda is focused on the following areas:
Public policy should encourage and recognize charitable giving by all Americans at all levels. SECF supports efforts to maximize incentives for charitable giving, and make them available for all Americans, in order to enhance the ability of foundations, nonprofits and the broader social sector to support critical community needs.
SECF supports place-based philanthropy – including community foundations – in their missions to build long- term, permanent legacies for their communities. Community foundations utilize many different tools – including donor-advised funds – to help their diverse donor bases provide support to the communities in which they live. SECF opposes any effort that would limit individuals or families from working with a place-based or community foundation, including any measures that would place undue or burdensome regulations on these foundations that would reduce the significant investment these individuals and families make in their communities each year.
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.
SECF opposes any UBIT laws that put an undue tax burden on foundations and the organizations they support. Subjecting foundations and the overall tax-exempt sector to the Unrelated Business Income Tax on transportation and parking benefits diverts funds that would otherwise go toward valuable community services. SECF supports a full repeal of these regulations so that foundations and other nonprofit organizations aren’t penalized for providing crucial benefits to their employees.
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.
Government agencies, including the Department of Treasury, often issue guidance and regulations that affect the day-to-day operations of foundations. The Southeastern Council of Foundations, on behalf of its members, should be fully engaged with relevant executive agencies, informing their decisions that impact the sector and advocating for positive regulatory mechanisms.
Many communities depend on accurate demographic information from the Census to help determine how to allocate resources. SECF supports an appropriately-funded Census that offers a fair and accurate count to inform the work of our member foundations.
Director of Public Policy & Special Projects