COF Call to Action: Support Full Funding of the Nonprofit Capacity Building ProgramPresident Barack Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act (H.R.1388) into law on April 21. The Serve America legislation will improve and expand national and community service programs and strengthen the infrastructure for volunteerism within the nonprofit community. In addition, the legislation would create a Nonprofit Capacity Building Program (NCBP) within the Corporation for National and Community Service to award grants to nonprofit organizations for "social entrepreneurship" projects. Read the Council's analysis of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act. Although President Obama has signed the "Edward M. Kennedy Serve Act" into law, Congress still needs to make the appropriations. Funding will not be available until October 1st, 2009 at the earliest when the new federal fiscal year begins.
The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies is scheduled to mark up its bill that would fund the Serve America Act tomorrow (Friday, July 10). Independent Sector (IS) and the Voices for National Service have issued a call to action asking constituents to contact their representatives and senators to urge them to fully fund the Serve America Act. The Council sent a letter to Chairman David Obey (D-WI) and Ranking Member Todd Tiahrt (R-KS) asking them to support full funding for the NCBP.
Take Action Now: Contact the members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies and tell them that the philanthropic sector supports full funding of the NCBP. The NCBP would encourage the growth of charitable giving, by recognizing the power, innovation, and reform that can be achieved through the expansion of a partnership between government, the private sector and philanthropy. Foundations on the Hill-District Days Additionally, the Council encourages members to engage their lawmakers and their staffs during the upcoming August congressional recess to discuss legislative proposals impacting the sector, such as the Serve America Act. It is important that foundation and grantmaking constituents maintain and enhances a political environment that promotes philanthropy and charitable giving. Foundations on the Hill-District Days (FOTH-DD) is a great opportunity for your members of Congress to hear directly from you while they are back in their home states and districts.
When you meet with your lawmakers, please ask them to:
- Support full funding of the Nonprofit Capacity Building Program. In April 2009, Congress authorized $5 million per year for the Nonprofit Capacity Building Program (NCBP) as part of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act (H.R. 1388). The NCBP requires a 50 percent non-federal match by nonprofits, which may include funding from third parties such as corporate philanthropy, charitable grantmakers, or state or local government agencies. We support full funding of this program.
- Support the expansion and extension of the IRA charitable rollover to include gifts above $100,000 and allow taxpayers to make distributions to donor advised funds, supporting organizations, and private foundations in addition to traditional charities. On June 24 Representatives Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) and Wally Herger (R-CA), sponsors of the House IRA bill, circulated a dear colleague letter urging House members to co- sponsor the measure. Follow up with your Representative by asking him/her to co-sponsor the Public Good IRA Rollover Act (H.R.1250). Additionally, be sure to ask your Senators to co-sponsor S.864, the Senate companion IRA bill.
- Support a flat, revenue-neutral private foundation excise tax by co-sponsoring S. 676. To date, there is no House companion excise tax bill. The Council's public policy staff is working with Congress to identify a sponsor and is hopeful that a bill will be introduced soon. Alternatively, please ask your Representatives to support a legislative proposal to implement a flat, revenue-neutral private foundation excise tax.
- Maintain current law on charitable deduction rates. President Obama's fiscal 2010 budget calls for tax changes that would reduce the value of itemized deductions which families earning more than $250,000 or individuals earning more than $200,000 can take for charitable donations. Specifically, the budget proposes to cap the tax benefit at 28 percent for itemized charitable deductions.
- Become a member of the philanthropy caucus in the House and in the Senate.