President's Perspective Blog

Mike’s Monday Message Takeover: AFP Positioned as Leader in Washington, DC on Charitable Giving

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AFP Advocacy

Today, the 21st annual Foundations on the Hill kicks off with 270 philanthropic leaders coming to Washington, DC to speak to their Members of Congress on the tradition of philanthropy in America and how that is deeply intertwined in the American story. Currently, 88 percent of charitable giving is provided by 13 percent of donors. 

That is why, in 2023, AFP leaned in to prioritize the bipartisan Charitable Act. By bringing back the universal charitable deduction, Congress would encourage more giving from middle-income and lower-income families that are not incentivized to give through the charitable deduction since they do not itemize. 

While the AFP U.S. Government Relations (USGR) Committee provided advocacy support all year for this legislation, members across the U.S. joined in by participating in AFP’s Lobby Week in October. This was carefully coordinated with the national Charitable Giving Coalition made up of nearly 200 large national charities and faith-based organizations. We worked together again around #GivingTuesday to deliver a strong message to Congress in support of the Charitable Act by delivering a letter signed by more than 1,000 charities from all 50 states. Many AFP chapters signed on and circulated to their members. 

All of this energy has led to momentum building in Congress across the aisle. As one of the few bipartisan bright spots in the past year, right now 41 House Members and 20 Senators are official supporters of the Charitable Act. It is evenly split between the two political parties. Our Senate champions are currently pushing to include the Charitable Act in the tax package going forward through Congress that may pass as early as March: 

https://www.lankford.senate.gov/news/press-releases/lankford-coons-continue-to-push-for-non-itemized-charitable-deduction-in-tax-agreement/ 

https://www.lankford.senate.gov/news/press-releases/lankford-shares-support-from-nonprofit-community-for-his-non-itemized-charitable-deduction/. 

Also, working closely together with AFP’s USGR Committee, AFP’s PAC Board decided for the first time to contribute to Members of Congress in a non-election year. In 2023, AFP’s PAC directly contributed to the campaigns of seven Members of Congress who are champions of the Charitable Act. Our decision-making criteria included reviewing the candidates’ leadership positions, support of AFP’s advocacy priorities, and commitment to the values and principles of AFP and philanthropy, such as upholding democratic values, election integrity and voting rights, and equality and inclusion, including but not limited to social justice, racial and gender equality, human rights, and LGBTQIA+ rights. These criteria helped us determine whether to contribute to specific candidates and how much to contribute.

AFP is positioned as a leader in Washington, DC on enhancing charitable giving because of the professional expertise of our 27,000 members, our research, the data we collect to support our policy agenda, the USGR committee’s advocacy, and the AFP PAC and the contributions we make to Members of Congress with your support. The policy advocacy by AFP, the relationships built through contributions by the AFP PAC, and the work of our registered lobbyist has led to AFP serving on the steering committee of the national Charitable Giving Coalition focused on passing the Charitable Act. And, AFP’s CEO, Mike Geiger, was also invited to the White House last fall to share giving data trends with other sector leaders.

As a recap of last year, we focused on promoting monthly giving at PAC receptions, and we are proud to report we ended the year with 20 monthly donors. (See the full list of PAC donors at https://afpglobal.org/afp-pac-donors. Monthly donors are recognized by a star.)  

In planning for 2024, we want to continue the progress and greater awareness of AFP’s mission by increasing contributions to the AFP PAC and continuing to align candidate contributions with our policy priorities. Please join us by contributing to the PAC.

And save the date now for AFP Chapter Lobby Week 2024 which will be August 5-9, 2024. We are asking all U.S. chapters to visit at least one Member of Congress and/or their staff that week, either virtually or in person as they are back home. Reach out to your local chapter to coordinate involvement. To help you prepare, AFP has created a comprehensive toolkit that covers everything from scheduling meetings to post-Lobby Week follow-up. More information will be posted at https://afpglobal.org/lobbyweek2024.

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