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Public Policy

Philanthropy Delaware advances the work of our members, and philanthropy as a whole, by advocating at the state and national level. We aim to engage in effective policy that will strengthen philanthropy and advance issues that members support, strengthen relationships and partnerships between philanthropy and government, and provide a strong, collective voice for philanthropic interests in Delaware.

Here are some current resources we have gathered to assist you in your own public policy conversations, as well as information to keep you informed on the latest advocacy trends affecting philanthropy.

  • March 16, 2021 12:00 PM | Philanthropy Delaware, Inc. (Administrator)

    (March 16, 2021 by Philanthropy Delaware) Over the course of the past year, the public and private charitable sector swiftly responded to direct emergency funding to nonprofits and communities. Delaware’s philanthropic and governmental entities invest in critical areas of our society, including education, health, and human services. Now, more than ever, it is evident partnerships between sectors is essential to advance philanthropy.

    To this end, Philanthropy Delaware joins over 300 philanthropic leaders in virtual convenings for the 2021 Foundations on the Hill. The 2021 Foundations on the Hill is in partnership with the United Philanthropy Forum, the Council on Foundations and Independent Sector. Over the following two-weeks, there will be opportunities for our network to:

    - Inform and educate Congress and State Legislators about the importance of the philanthropic sector;

    - Create visibility for foundations and philanthropy;

    - Advocate on issues important to our members, foundations, and the broader sector;

    - Encourage Congress to view our network as resources on key public policy issues; and

    - Build relationships with lawmakers and their staffs.

    Philanthropy Delaware shares in the vision of a courageous philanthropic sector that catalyzes a just and equitable society where all can participate and prosper. Stay tuned for Philanthropy Delaware’s highlights of the “Recap: 2021 Foundations on the Hill.

  • June 23, 2020 9:00 AM | Philanthropy Delaware, Inc. (Administrator)

    (June 23, 2020 by Senator Coons Press Release) WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) introduced the bipartisan Universal Giving Pandemic Response Act to expand the current above-the-line deduction for charitable giving made available by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March. The bill, cosponsored by Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), would ensure that Americans who donate to charities, houses of worship, religious organizations, and other nonprofits are able to deduct that donation from their federal taxes at a higher level than the current $300 deduction.

    Specifically, the bill would make available—for tax years 2019 and 2020—an above-the-line deduction for charitable giving on federal income taxes valued at up to one-third of the standard deduction (around $4,000 for an individual filer and $8,000 for married joint filers).

    “As we face three national crises—a pandemic, recession, and the wounds of structural racism—Americans have responded with a tremendous spirit of generosity,” said Coons. “People of all means are trying to help by giving what they can to help our nation heal and recover, but there’s a divide among Americans who give. One in seven Americans saves their receipt for a tax deduction. The other six, typically of lesser means, do not. That’s unjust, and it’s ineffective. If more Americans were acknowledged for and supported in their donations, there would be more giving, period. That’s why I am proud to support the Universal Giving Pandemic Response Act to substantially increase the 2020 emergency charitable giving incentive, to adequately reflect the magnitude of goodwill that so many are showing, and many others are capable of as we work to overcome these crises together.”

    “Nonprofits uphold Americans in our times of greatest need. Now it is time for Americans to uphold nonprofits in their moment of need,” said Lankford. “Our families need strong nonprofits to meet their essential needs. They are the private safety net before the public safety net. Our nation’s charities help millions of people both in Oklahoma and across the nation access food, shelter, clothes, employment assistance, and mental and physical health services without forcing them to wait on the government. This proposal incentivizes additional giving during a time of crisis in our nation. I am proud of the incredible work our bipartisan group of senators has done to help ease the federal tax burden for those who give to charities.”

    “The Coronavirus continues to disrupt all of our lives, but it also presents three unique challenges to our nation's charitable organizations,” said Lee. “First, charitable organizations that help our most vulnerable communities are seeing increased demand for their services. Second, the virus has complicated how these organizations deliver their services. And third, most charities have suffered a decline in donations as Americans have felt the financial pain of less work and unemployment. Congress can help by allowing all taxpayers to claim a greater portion of the charitable deduction for tax years 2019 and 2020. This would help more Americans donate to charitable organizations.”

    “COVID-19 has once again demonstrated how important non-profit and faith-based services are to our communities,” said Shaheen. “Since day one, non-profit organizations have been working tirelessly to help those in need despite steep declines in donations. Congress has the power to encourage charitable giving through the tax code to make sure these organizations have the resources they need to continue their vital work and weather the financial challenges they face. I’m glad to partner with Senator Lankford and this bipartisan coalition to create an above-the-line deduction for all charitable contributions. This is a common-sense measure that Senate Leadership should act on quickly.”

    “Earlier this year as the CARES Act was being drafted, I worked with my Senate colleagues to ensure non-profits and churches would receive support,” said Scott. “Thankfully, a new above-the-line charitable giving deduction was created to foster additional giving. I am glad to continue working with my colleagues on this issue to increase this deduction and ensure our nation’s non-profits continue receiving the support they so badly need, especially during this difficult time.”

    “Nonprofits are on the front lines of this crisis, but as demand for their services soars, many of these organizations are struggling to keep their doors open,” said Klobuchar. “This bill will expand the universal tax deduction for charitable giving to help nonprofits continue to serve their communities during the pandemic.”

    In addition to its initial introduction in 2017, Coons and Lankford previously introduced the bill as an amendment to the CARES Act. Although the amendment was not adopted, the CARES Act did provide a charitable tax deduction of up to $300 from federal tax liability.

  • April 22, 2020 4:15 PM | Philanthropy Delaware, Inc. (Administrator)

    (April 22, 2020 by Press Release, Senator Coons) Today, U.S. Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) announced the introduction of legislation to expand national service programs as the country works to respond and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The Pandemic Response and Opportunity Through National Service Act would fund 750,000 national service positions over a three-year response and recovery period, in part to meet the projected need for as many as 300,000 public health workers. Under the bill, the number of AmeriCorps and national service positions could expand from 75,000 to 150,000 the first year and double to 300,000 in years two and three. The bill would also expand partnerships between AmeriCorps and federal health agencies and increase the AmeriCorps living allowance to ensure all Americans can step up to serve regardless of their financial circumstances. The Senators are actively working to include this bill in the next COVID-19 relief package set to be considered by the Senate.

    This is the first of three proposals under development by a working group of Senate Democrats to address the urgent need to expand the public health and response workforce during and in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. Additional proposals to expand public health agencies’ workforces and the clinical health care workforce will follow over the course of this week.

    “Americans have a long history of responding to national calls to service in times of crisis,” said Senator Coons. “Today, AmeriCorps members are already hard at work in our communities supporting students as they learn remotely, helping patients make critical care decisions, and more. These programs can and should be expanded to meet the needs of this moment. As we work to recover from the dual challenge of a public health crisis and an economic crisis, national service presents a unique opportunity for Americans to be part of our response and recovery while earning a stipend and education award and gaining marketable skills. Expanding these programs to all Americans who wish to serve should be a key part of our recovery effort.”

    “This is an unprecedented pandemic and it will take a massive, national effort to help America get through it, recover, and revive our economy. Throughout our history, whenever the nation has been in trouble, Americans have always answered the call to national service. This bill will ramp up our existing service framework and infrastructure for that type of unified, national effort that will expand opportunities, improve communities, and strengthen America,” said Senator Reed.

    “National service programs represent the best of our country. As we confront the coronavirus pandemic, we should be expanding these opportunities for Americans to serve their communities,” Senator Klobuchar said. “I am proud to cosponsor the Pandemic Response and Opportunity Through National Service Act, which will expand our national service programs and create major new opportunities for Americans to serve their country – including new digital tools to help Senior Corps members safely continue their service.”

    “Just as picking up a rifle to defend our country is ‘American Service,’ so is helping out a food pantry for those at risk of hunger, assisting students with remote education and helping patients make critical health care decisions,” Duckworth said. “We should be doing everything we can to make sure these vital service programs are accessible to all Americans who wish to serve during times of crisis like these. That’s why I’m proud to be working with Senator Coons and my colleagues to include this proposal—which builds on my 21st Century American Service Act—in the next relief package.”

    “We all have a role to play in rebuilding thriving communities across our nation in the aftermath of this pandemic,”said Senator Heinrich. “As an AmeriCorps alum myself, I know how much value young people stepping up to national service opportunities can bring to the table. Investing in expanded national service programs will greatly aid in both our immediate response to this emergency and in our long-term recovery. The public health and economic challenges we are facing right now are like nothing Americans have experienced in nearly a century. We need to empower a new generation of leaders to become part of the solution.”

    “Throughout our history, Americans have always risen to the challenge to serve their country in times of crisis and the coronavirus pandemic is no different,” said Senator Markey. “I’m pleased that this legislative effort incorporates key aspects of the UNITE Act, which I announced with Senator Van Hollen last week, through its robust commitment to the flagship AmeriCorps programs to aid our most vulnerable communities and its commitment to increase service opportunities for those left unemployed by the coronavirus emergency.”

    “For decades, our national service organizations have provided invaluable assistance to communities across our country and across the globe. With expertise in everything from public health to supply chain logistics to food security programs, Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, and other national service volunteers are uniquely equipped to help our country battle the coronavirus. We should be doing everything in our power to enlist these men and women – and others who are eager to volunteer – in these efforts. That’s why Senator Markey and I first introduced the UNITE Act, and why I’m proud to build on that effort with this coalition and a comprehensive package,” said Senator Van Hollen.

    “From the streets of communities across Connecticut to disaster relief zones in Puerto Rico, I have seen firsthand the invaluable impact of individuals who have answered the call for their country with fundamentally American acts of service,” said Senator Blumenthal. “Participating in service helps reinforce the value of community and fosters important skills that benefit young volunteers for the rest of their lives. This is especially true during a national crisis, when our communities’ need is greatest and the potential impact of volunteers at its highest. I’m proud to be joining my colleagues in efforts to develop a new class of young leaders ready to respond to a nation in need.”

    “For decades, our national service programs have provided valuable assistance and services to communities that needed it the most. These programs have been pivotal in bringing people together who share a common spirit of giving back to the community,” Senator Durbin said. “In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be more important than ever to marshal our community leaders and workers to address our health and economic needs. That is why I am proud to cosponsor the Pandemic Response and Opportunity Through National Service Act with Senator Coons and my colleagues.”

    The bill is supported by a number of national service organizations, including Voices for National Service, America’s Service Commissions, The Corps Network, and the Catholic Volunteer Network.

    “National service has been an essential source of people power and ingenuity for our country at moments of great need – and AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members are once again stepping forward to serve where they are needed most during this pandemic,” said AnnMaura Connolly, President of Voices for National Service. “AmeriCorps members are integral to the COVID-19 response, serving at drive-thru testing sites, providing child care for health care workers, helping deliver food to our most vulnerable, supporting students struggling with distance learning and more. As we face the triple threat of a health, economic, and educational crisis, we should expand AmeriCorps so that every American is asked and given the opportunity serve to help our communities respond and recover. Our country needs their service now, perhaps more than ever. Voices for National Service is grateful to Senator Coons and his colleagues for their bold vision for expanding AmeriCorps as a transformational force for our country at this critical time.”

    “America’s Service Commissions applauds Senators Duckworth, Coons, Reed, Heinrich, Markey, Van Hollen, Klobuchar, Blumenthal, and Durbin for their leadership in recognizing service as a strategic solution to addressing the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. Expanding AmeriCorps and the Volunteer Generation Fund is critical to engaging millions of Americans who want to serve their country in response to the pandemic while providing necessary funding to a hard-hit nonprofit and public sector,” says Kaira Esgate, CEO of America’s Service Commissions (ASC). “ASC and its network of the governor-led 52 state service commissions provide an essential infrastructure to the national service delivery system and have already swiftly responded to COVID-19 by deploying volunteers and AmeriCorps members from food banks to call centers. We stand ready to expand national service resources and engage the next generation of servant leaders to respond to our country’s rising needs due to COVID-19.”

    "During the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt said that no country can afford the waste of human resources. During this current crisis, a bold investment in national service would mobilize and unite the American people to confront a myriad of needs, ranging from food pantry operations to contact tracing," said Mary Ellen Sprenkel, President and CEO of The Corps Network. "We extend our appreciation to Sen. Coons, Sen. Heinrich and other leaders in Congress for championing the critical role AmeriCorps and Senior Corps can play in helping our country through these unprecedented times."

    Specifically, the Pandemic Response and Opportunity Through National Service Act would:

    Fund 750,000 national service positions over a three-year response and recovery period, in part to meet the projected need for as many as 300,000 public health workers.

    Create a partnership between AmeriCorps and CDC inspired by FEMA Corps to provide for additional response surge capacity that could be deployed to specific areas as needed.

    Provide flexibilities for programs quickly to grow and respond to dynamic local recovery needs.

    Prioritize funding for activities directly related to our response and recovery, such as: public health services, emergency logistics, workforce and reemployment services, education support (including for adult learners), and services that combat nutrition insecurity.

    Ensure that individuals’ financial resources do not limit participation by increasing the AmeriCorps living allowance to 175 percent of the federal poverty line and tying the value of the Segal Education Award to the cost of two years of public university tuition, harmonizing the treatment of both with other programs by making them nontaxable.

    Fund new online tools for Senior Corps to safely move to a teleservice model.

    Extend priority enrollment to Peace Corps, U.S. Fulbright, and AmeriCorps participants whose service or grants was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and encourage participation by members of low-income and minority communities, those who have had contact with the juvenile justice system, and those of diverse abilities.

    Invite participation by a diverse range of Americans by launching an awareness and outreach campaign on response service opportunities and supporting the Volunteer Generation Fund.

    For a one-pager on the bill, please click here.


    Click here for more information. 

  • January 03, 2020 11:13 AM | Deleted user

    Advocacy Update 2020

    The “Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020” also known at H.R. 1865 became law on December 20, 2019. Within this act are two important provisions of which you need to be aware:

    • The simplification of the excise tax on net investment income; and
    • The retroactive repeal of the unrelated business income tax on qualified transportation fringe benefits.

    Excise Tax Simplification

    As you well know, private foundations are currently required to pay a 2% excise tax on net investment income. If certain distribution requirements are met, the tax can be reduced to 1%. Beginning with the fiscal 2020 tax year, the excise tax rate has been set at a flat 1.39% regardless of your distributions. In practice, this means some foundations will pay more and some less, although adjusting your grants to qualify for a lower rate will no longer be necessary.

    A CPA specializing in foundations and nonprofits, sees this as a major change. “The flattening of the excise tax is something that has been discussed for years. By having one rate of 1.39%, foundations can concentrate on grant distributions, without a tax consideration, in pursuit of their philanthropic goals,”

    Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefits Repeal

    The unrelated business income tax, or UBIT, on qualified transportation fringe benefits, has been repealed retroactive to the original date of enactment (December 2017). If this affected your foundation, you may want to file amended 990T returns to claim a refund for taxes paid or incurred after December 31, 2017.

  • April 01, 2019 9:27 AM | Philanthropy Delaware, Inc. (Administrator)

    April 1, 2020 is the count day for Census 2020. One year from now we will be counting all the residents of the United States. The census is critical to federal dollars in Delaware.  In FY2016 Delaware received $3,020,191,091 through 55 Federal spending programs guided by data derived from the 2010 census. Here is the full report. 

  • March 06, 2019 2:53 PM | Philanthropy Delaware, Inc. (Administrator)

    Senators Chris Coons (D-DE), James Lankford (R-OK), and Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) today re-introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to protect churches, charities, and other nonprofit organizations from a provision in the tax law that would tax some employee benefits for the first time. The Lessening Impediments from Taxes (LIFT) for Charities Act, would repeal a section of the tax code that requires some tax-exempt organizations to pay federal taxes on employee benefits, like parking, meals, or transportation benefits.

    Click here for more

  • December 04, 2018 3:50 PM | Kurt Foreman

    On Tuesday, Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Jim Lankford (R-OK) sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin requesting a delay in implementation of the new unrelated business income tax (UBIT) provisions that took effect on Jan. 1, 2018, after the passage of last year's tax code overhaul. These new provisions require that 1) tax-exempt organizations with more than one unrelated trade or business activity treat each activity separately for the purposes of calculating unrelated business income, and 2) tax-exempt organizations pay UBIT on the value of certain fringe benefits provided to employees—such as transportation benefits and on-premises gyms. The letter asks Treasury to delay the implementation of the UBIT provision for a full year after the final regulations are issued by Treasury.

    Read the full letter here a
    nd Sen. Coons' press release here. 


  • July 03, 2018 10:21 AM | Deleted user
    United Philanthropy Forum has created a quick link for funders to sign on to the 2020 Census removal of Citizenship Question.
    1. The Commerce Department and the Census Bureau published a June 8, 2018 Federal Register notice requesting comments about the 2020 Census. This is an opportunity to let the Commerce Department know that the citizenship question should be removed from the 2020 Census. Shortly after that notice, I sent you a sign-on letter (for funders only) calling for the citizenship question to be removed from the census. 

  • July 03, 2018 10:15 AM | Deleted user

    Great news! Last Thursday, with overwhelming bipartisan support, Senators passed their Farm Bill that preserves and strengthens SNAP. A variety of amendments were considered, including one that would have created harsher SNAP time limits and requirements for those looking for work, including parents with young children. Nonrprofits had encouraged Senators to reject harmful amendments to SNAP and to maintain the bipartisan SNAP provisions agreed to in the legislation. Fortunately, Senators tabled the harmful amendment and ultimately maintained the bipartisan SNAP provisions. 

  • June 21, 2018 10:25 AM | Deleted user

    AEI Economic Perspectives paper on how the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act affects household charitable giving in the United States.  They found that the law will reduce charitable giving by $17.2 billion (4 percent) in 2018 according to a static model and $16.3 billion assuming a modest boost to growth. Four-fifths of this decline is driven by an increase in the number of taxpayers who claim the standard deduction. They also investigate two policy options that could boost total giving above previous levels; an  above-the-line deduction and a tax credit. 

    Click here for the full paper

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