On the Chronicle of Philanthropy: Understanding Philanthropy is Key to Better Policy Decisions

John Tyler, Kauffman general counsel, says that foundations are well-positioned to talk with policymakers about their experiences with what works or doesn't work in their program areas. Tyler and his co-author further suggest that more foundations need to engage with elected officials to help them better understand the implications of new laws and regulations. That influence can lead to better policies for philanthropy generally and for the missions served.  

Read an excerpt of the piece below.

Lawmakers Must Understand Philanthropy to Make Better Policy Choices

There's an old saying in politics: "If you're not at the table, you're on the menu."

As policy makers in D.C. and elsewhere debate public-policy changes that directly affect philanthropy, this idiom will become reality unless more foundations recognize their place in enhancing understanding of what philanthropy does and the constructive impact it has.

The issues on the menu are broad-ranging and varied, including changes to the private- foundation excise tax, the charitable deduction, and possibly new rules for donor-advised funds.

What's more, Congress might debate whether the definition of what qualifies as "charitable" should be narrowed and whether we need new regulations on nonprofit governance and what constitutes wise decision making. 

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