The Charitable Giving Coalition, a group of more than sixty nonprofits and advocacy organizations working in every state to preserve the charitable deduction in its current form, has announced that more than two hundred representatives of the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors gathered on Capitol Hill this week to urge lawmakers not to cap or limit the deduction as Congress enters a period of intense debate over tax reform and deficit reduction.
Established in 2009, the coalition noted that Senate Finance Committee members John Thune (R-SD) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) had sent a letter to Max Baucus (D-MT) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the committee’s chair and ranking member, urging them to protect the deduction. “Analysis has repeatedly shown that proposals to cut, cap, or limit the charitable deduction could cause charitable donations to decline by billions of dollars annually,” said the letter. “Worse yet, weakening the charitable deduction would most hurt the adults and children who receive vital charitable services from organizations like soup kitchens, afterschool programs, and medical research projects, just to name a few.”
“We applaud Senators Thune and Wyden for their recognition of the central role of private charitable giving in strengthening our civil society and for their willingness to be catalysts for public, bipartisan support for the charitable deduction,” said Philanthropy Roundtable president Adam Meyerson.
In a coordinated campaign known as “Protect Giving Day,” members of the coalition met with staff from nearly one hundred and fifty congressional offices to warn of the consequences of limiting the charitable tax deduction. “America has a remarkable tradition of giving back. It is a reflection of our society’s values,” said Father Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA. “Our communities need policies that help encourage charitable giving, not discourage support of our neighbors in need.”
“Government cutbacks are already hurting our nation’s most vulnerable communities. To couple them with a reduction in charitable funding would be devastating,” said Vikki Spruill, president and CEO of the Council on Foundations. “Across the country, Americans continue to donate what they can to charitable organizations and foundations, but many of those donors are sensitive to tax changes. Our policy makers must be mindful of this and, most importantly, mindful of the significant negative impact that policy changes could have on the communities most in need.”