Foundations to senators: Urge floor vote on America Gives More Act
By Sue Ellen Riesau
American foundations gave nearly $50 billion to the U.S. nonprofit sector in 2013. That’s a massive investment in our nation, made possible by American generosity and supported by sound tax policies from Washington. With Sen. Patty Murray back in Washington, D.C., for a busy and critical work period before the November elections, now is the perfect time to urge Senate leadership to bring the America Gives More Act (HR 4719) to a floor vote this month.
Foundations are rooted to the communities they serve and are uniquely able to combine resources across sectors to address emerging and ongoing needs. The Olympic View Community Foundation (OVCF) is proud of the work we do in the nonprofit sector of Clallam County, often with a wide array of partners and collaborators. OVCF along with the United Way of Clallam County, North Olympic Land Trust, Serenity House of Clallam County, the Peninsula College Foundation, convened the second biennial Alliance for Leadership Programs (ALP) Conference held in May of this year at Lake
Crescent. More than 75 board volunteers and staff from 25 nonprofit organizations here in Clallam County attended for nonprofit board strengthening and training.
“Nonprofits embody the best spirit and values of our communities. They protect, feed, heal, shelter, educate and nurture our bodies and spirits. They give shape to our boldest dreams, highest ideals and noblest causes. They turn beliefs into action – as promoters of democracy, champions of the common good, incubators of innovation, laboratories of leadership, protectors of taxpayers, responders in times of trouble, stimulators of the economy and the weavers of community fabric.” (National Council of Nonprofits)
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the America Gives More Act with a bipartisan super-majority vote of 277 to 130 on July 17, 2014. Our 6th District Representative Derek Kilmer voted in favor of HR 4719 and I want to heartily thank him on behalf of all of Clallam County’s many foundations.
The America Gives More Act takes an important step forward to enhance foundation support for our communities. If passed in the Senate, the American Gives More Act will make permanent several tax policies that have proven successful in increasing community investment: the IRA charitable rollover; the enhanced deduction for food inventory donations; and the enhanced deduction for donations of conservation easements.
These common sense policies would give donors confidence and certainty as they decide how to direct their charitable investments.
The act also simplifies the private foundation excise tax to a single rate. This measure will lift an administrative burden that creates a perverse incentive for private foundations to give less, not more, in times of need. Simplifying this complex tax will free up foundations to invest less resources in tax compliance and more in communities in our state.
The message is simple: encourage Sen. Patty Murray to urge Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring the America Gives More Act (HR 4719) to the Senate floor for a vote as soon as possible.
Sue Ellen Riesau is the executive director of the Olympic View Community Foundation. Reach her at 360-797-1338.