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.
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.