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Foundations on the Hill 2017

Monday, March 20, 2017 to Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Washington, DC
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Foundations on the Hill (FOTH) is a two-day event that brings together foundation leaders from across the country to DC for meetings with Congress about key issues of importance to foundations and philanthropy. FOTH is presented by the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, in partnership with the Alliance for Charitable Reform and Council on Foundations. Foundation trustees and staff work with their regional association to schedule meetings on Capitol Hill to personally discuss their work with members of Congress.

The purpose of #FOTH17 is to:

  • Inform and educate Congress about philanthropy
  • Create visibility for foundations and philanthropy on Capitol Hill
  • Advocate on issues affecting foundations
  • Encourage Congress to view foundations as resources on key public policy issues

Foundations on the Hill is the one time each year when philanthropy speaks with a strong, collective voice on Capitol Hill. This will be more critical than ever for #FOTH17, which is scheduled just a few months after the start of a new administration and a new Congress. We need to ensure that Congress understands the value of philanthropy to our communities and our country, and to stress the importance of doing all that we can to encourage more charitable giving to benefit our communities-particularly as discussions of tax reform become more prominent in Washington.

About the Philanthropy & Civic Engagement Pre-Session

Our country is facing serious challenges in the active engagement of our citizens in civic life, as evidenced by the recent 2016 elections. Voter turnout hit a 20-year low in those elections, with just over half of voting-age citizens casting ballots. At this critical moment in time for our country, what is the role for philanthropy in civic engagement, and democracy more broadly? Helping us answer this question will be the leaders of two national organizations focused on engaging philanthropy in civic engagement and democracy issues. Kristen Cambell from Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement will provide an overview of the current climate for civic engagement in our country and discuss why civic and democratic practice is important for the work of all funders—no matter what issues you support. Eric Marshall from the Funders’ Committee for Civic Participation will take participants through the nuts and bolts of how foundations should support democracy and civic engagement work. We’ll also hear from some funders about how and why they are involved in supporting the “civic space.” 

It is open to all participants of #FOTH17, as well as to CEOs, board members and staff of foundations and other philanthropic organizations that are not involved with #FOTH17. If you are attending Foundations on the Hill, you may register for this session during that registration process or separately here

About Alliance for Charitable Reform Summit for Leaders

The next two years will be a time of vulnerabilities as well as opportunities for the philanthropic sector. The likelihood of sweeping tax reform has risen dramatically with the election of a Republican president along with Republican control of both the House and the Senate. As part of the tax reform discussion, we've already seen lawmakers propose provisions that may threaten charitable giving. With many tax issues still undecided, nothing is completely on or off the table. The Alliance for Charitable Reform’s Summit for Leaders will be held as part of Foundations on the Hill, on the morning of Tuesday, March 21.  We invite you to join us to get the insider's view of Congress and learn about what we can do to protect private giving and educate lawmakers about the critical role of charitable organizations in a free society.

Participation in the #ACRSummit is included with your FOTH registration fee. If you are interested in attending the Summit for Leaders and are not participating in any other #FOTH17 activities, you can use the FOTH registration page to register for just the Summit.

This year's session's will include:

The Wildly Popular Congressional Staff Panel
Republicans may control Congress and the White House, but that doesn’t mean it’s all smooth sailing.  It also doesn’t mean Democrats are wallowing in the background. As for Republicans, both Speaker Ryan and Chairman Brady – along with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) – have been clear that tax reform is a top priority, and the House is feverishly working on legislative language to flesh out their outline for tax reform, known as the House Blueprint.  Chairman Hatch committed to drafting the Senate’s version that could look very different from the House’s.  We will hear an “insiders” perspective from congressional staff on what lies ahead and how our sector can inform the debate. *Please note: The congressional panel will be off the record.

A New IRS and the Tax-Exempt Sector
The House Blueprint, as it’s called, is the House of Representatives broad brush outline of their plans for tax reform.  There’s a lot to focus on, but one section has gotten little notice.  Titled “A New IRS for the 21st Century”, the section details “an integral element of this Blueprint will be to rebuild the IRS into a modern and efficient 21st century administrator of the nation’s tax system. The new IRS will have a streamlined structure aligned with the simpler and fairer tax system for families and individuals and businesses of all sizes.”  That’s curious enough.  But there’s no mention of the tax-exempt sector and where we fit, or don’t, in this new structure. Our panelists will address the issues this new IRS poses for the sector and how our sector can inform this process. 

A Peak Into the White House
In the new Administration with a long list of policy goals – including replacing the Affordable Care Act, overhauling the tax code, implementing a broad infrastructure package and more – the President relies on a group of policy advisors in the White House’s Domestic Policy Council (DPC) and the National Economic Council (NEC). The DPC staff advises the President on all domestic policy decisions, excluding economic issues while the NEC advises the President on economic issues, including tax reform. Once White House policy is developed, it is advanced by the staff in the White House Office of Legislative Affairs. This is the office that will work to shepherd through President Trump’s agenda on Capitol Hill.  Speakers from the Administration will join us to discuss the President’s domestic policy priorities and their intersection with the nonprofit sector.

Roadmap to Action 
The stakes couldn’t be higher this year for the charitable sector.  So growing  and maintaining relationships with your Senators, Representatives and their staff in DC and back home is essential to defending, and advancing, the sector’s legislative interests.  In this session we’ll offer you an annual plan — a one-year Roadmap for Action — for connecting with your lawmakers in DC and back home to ensure you remain  top-of-mind.  We’ll also offer you resources to help you execute your Roadmap to Action. 


The registration rate for this event is $125. Please contact Erin Skene-Pratt with any questions about the event. Visit the State Directory to identify the contact for your state.

Register Now


Regional associations of grantmakers and any IRS recognized foundations or corporate giving programs are eligible to participate in Foundations on the Hill. If you have any questions about eligibility, please contact Erin Skene-Pratt.

Foundations on the Hill Schedule of Events

Monday, March 20, 2017

1:00 - 3:00 pm Pre-Session: Philanthropy & Civic Engagement

3:30 - 4:30 pm First time attendee orientation

5:00 - 6:30 pm Networking reception

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

7:45 am Continental breakfast served

8:15 - 11:45 am  Welcome and Alliance for Charitable Reform Summit for Leaders 

11:45 am - 12:00 pm  Send-off to the Hill

12:00 - 5:00 pm  Hill meetings

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

7:30 - 9:00 am Breakfast and closing program- Philanthropy & the Free and Independent Press. Moderator: Vincent Stehle, Media Impact Funders

9:00 am - 5:00 pm Hill meetings

5:00 pm - 8:00 pm Philanthropy Caucus Reception

Pre-FOTH Programming

Delegation Captain Calls

Mark your calendars for the following FOTH delegation captain calls to discuss FOTH participant recruitment, programming, meetings on the Hill and other logistics.

All-Attendee Webinar

Save the date for an all-attendee webinar on Tuesday, March 14 from 2-3 pm ET. During the webinar participants will hear the latest policy updates from the Hill and review key talking points and messaging for your Hill visits.

Resources For Delegation Captains

Pre-Meeting Resources

A Delegation Captain’s Guide for Congressional Visits
Guide for delegation captains at Foundations on the Hill  with helpful tips for scheduling meetings, preparing for meetings, conducting meetings, and more.

Roles and Responsibilities of Delegation Captains
Details on the key roles of delegation captains during Foundations on the Hill.

Sample Promotional Language
See how other regional associations are promoting Foundations on the Hill with their members including email and on their websites.

Sample Meeting Request Letter
Sample letter to request a meeting with your federal lawmaker during Foundations on the Hill.

Briefing Papers on Congressional Delegates
As a part of preparing their delegations for their Hill meetings, some regional associations put together 1-2 page highlights of each Member of Congress including biographical details, legislative priorities, recent media coverage of interest, committee assignments, prior activity, etc.

Congressional Staff Roles
To those unfamiliar with Capitol Hill, the titles given to staff of Members of Congress can be confusing. In order to enable you to be most effective in communicating with Congress, we have listed the most commonly used titles and principal functions of key staff in your Representative or Senator’s office.

Key Congressional Leadership
A list of the Tax Policy Committee and the Ways and Means Committee who will be leading the conversation around changes to the charitable deduction as part of overall tax reform.

Meeting Resources

Capitol Hill Map
Printable map of the U.S. Capitol and other buildings on Capitol Hill, including the Library of Congress, Supreme Court, U.S. Botanic Garden, and House and Senate buildings.

Foundations on the Hill Leave Behind Packets
Sample handouts and leave behind packets developed by regional associations for Foundations on the Hill.

Tax Reform Talking Points
As Congress considers comprehensive tax reform, the Charitable Giving Coalition compiled these talking points for a February 16, 2017 fly-in to urge Congress to preserve and protect the full scope and value of the current charitable tax deduction.

Key Issues

Background and resources on policy issues of interest on the federal level. 

Charitable Deduction
2017 marks the 100thanniversary of the charitable deduction. Since 1917, the federal charitable tax deduction has provided a tax deduction for donations made to nonprofit organizations by taxpayers who itemize their tax returns, roughly one-third of all Americans. See the Forum's position and resources on this issue.

Donor Advised Funds
Donor advised funds are powerful tools – both for average people who want to make lasting commitments to their communities, as well as those with significant financial resources who are looking for an alternative to a private foundation. See the Forum's position and resources on this issue.

Simplification of the Excise Tax
A uniform excise tax rate would increase funds available for local communities by freeing private foundations from the administrative task of calculating the amount of additional eligible expenditure needed to qualify for the lower 1% rate. See the Forum's position and resources on this issue.

Hotel Information

Hyatt Regency Washington Exterior

Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill
400 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
Phone: 202- 737-1234

Enjoy easy access to all the attractions of our nation's capital from this ideal location in the heart of a popular downtown neighborhood. Walk to the Capitol, Smithsonian Museums and the National Mall, tour government centers, visit monuments and museums, cheer on the Nationals or the Capitals - all just minutes from the hotel.

The Forum has reserved a block of rooms for $359/ night plus tax. This discounted rate will only be available until February 27, 2017 but may sell out beforehand. We recommend making your hotel reservations as soon as possible. 


Check In: 3:00 pm*
Check Out: Noon

*All guests arriving before 3:00pm will be accommodated as rooms become available. Hyatt bell staff can arrange to check baggage for those arriving early when rooms are unavailable and for guests attending functions on their departure day.


The staff at Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill is committed to ensuring that they meet and exceed all of the requirements for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The staff at the wheelchair accessible hotel is trained to accommodate guests with special needs, so that all of guests, including those with disabilities, are able to have an enjoyable and safe stay.


Hotel valet - $56/Night


From/To Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA):

Taxi: Taxis to our hotel near the Washington DC metro are available outside the baggage claim area. Fare is approximately $14 - $18 (10-20 min)

Metro Washington, DC Subway: Take the Yellow line from the airport to the Gallery Place/Chinatown stop. Transfer to the Red line to Union Station (2nd stop). The Union Station Metro stop is located three blocks from the hotel. Fare is approximately $2.70 (20-25 min). Fares may vary based on time-of day. To check fares, visit the WMATA website.

Super Shuttle: Available 7 days a week. Shuttle vans are located at the airport, outside the baggage claim area at Ground Transportation. Look for blue vans with yellow lettering. The shuttles make multiple stops and drop off directly at the hotel. Advance reservations may be made by calling 800-BlueVan (800-258-3826) or on Super Shuttle's website. Approximate fare is $14 one way, timing is dependant upon number of stops required by passengers.

From/To Dulles International Airport (IAD):

Taxi: Taxis are available on the lower level outside baggage claim. Fare is approximately $60 - $80 (50-60 min)

Super Shuttle: Approximate fare is $26 one way ($10 for additional passengers in same party).

From/To Baltimore/Washington Airport (BWI):

Taxi: Taxis are available on the lower level outside baggage claim. Fare is approximately $63 (1 hour)

MARC TRAIN Washington, DC: This is a commuter train from BWI to Union Station, which is 3 blocks from the hotel. Approximate cost is $7 one way. The MARC train runs weekdays only. Click here for complete schedules and fares.

Super Shuttle: Approximate fare is $37 one way ($12 for additional passengers in same party).

From/To Union Station/Amtrak Washington, DC:

Walking: Hotel is located near Union Station, just 3 blocks away. Follow exit signs to get to the front of Union Station Washington, DC. Take E Street (between the semi-circle of flags) to the intersection of E Street, NW and New Jersey Avenue, NW. The hotel will be directly in front of you.

Taxis: Taxis are available outside the main entrance of Union Station. Approximate fare is $5.50, with possible surcharges.