News and Insights

Raising Philanthropy's Voice in an Election Year

03/01/2016

Remy Trupin, Advocacy Catalyst Fellow | Election years are a tantalizing time, and with proper counsel and support, philanthropic organizations can be powerful advocates. When and how can your foundation speak out on a particular issue? Can foundations fund lobbying activities by grantees? Is it OK to provide candidates with talking points? What about funding voter guides and voter registration drives? Eager to learn more and share their experiences, Ballmer Group Philanthropy, Campion Foundation, Raikes Foundation and other funders recently participated in our Advocacy in an Election Year workshop. more »

Reflecting on Racial Equity and Civic Engagement

02/11/2016

Gloris Estrella, Program Associate | When the opportunity to join First Alaskans Institute's “Partners for the Next 10,000 Years … A Racial Equity Summit” arose earlier this month, I literally jumped out of my swivel chair with excitement! After gathering 200 people together in a room, all of us passionate about empowering communities and dismantling hundreds of years of oppression, we were bound to walk away with something like a solution, right? Well, not quite. We need to think more about restructuring the current system that is failing so many. More philanthropists should get their hands on the ground, side by side with the communities they so deeply care about. Join the marches, attend town hall meetings, convene your grantees and local businesses around racial tensions they face, write to your local representatives, audit internal policies and ensure they are equitable and inclusive. In an election year, it's even more imperative that philanthropists be at the forefront of the issues we care about. more »

Nine Predictions for Philanthropy in 2016

01/12/2016

Jeff Clarke, CEO | Welcome to 2016! Philanthropy’s core DNA is love for humanity and community. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we celebrate a unique philanthropic culture marked by optimism, generosity, civic engagement and stewardship. It rests upon our nation’s unique commitment to philanthropic freedom and donor intent. But above all, our big, diverse place defines us, from Alaska’s North Slope to southern Oregon, and the Pacific coast to eastern Montana and Wyoming. In other words, as American farmer and writer Wendell Berry observed, “If you don’t know where you are, you don’t know who you are.” Looking ahead to what is sure to be a dynamic year, philanthropy, with its ability to gather people around the public good, is more important than ever. more »

Paying for Success in the Northwest

12/21/2015

Jeff Clarke, CEO | The Pacific Northwest has a unique and globally influential culture marked by innovation, entrepreneurship, civic engagement, generosity and stewardship. Our region’s commitment to innovation drives our growing leadership in impact investing — leveraging private capital for social good. Impact investors seek opportunities to earn a financial return while also doing something good for society. Their aspirations are changing the way we think about solutions to big social problems like homelessness, poverty and unemployment. more »

Update: Permanent Charitable Tax Incentives Signed Into Law

12/18/2015

Ann Saxton, Vice President | The U.S. Senate has followed the House of Representatives and made permanent three charitable giving tax incentives. We are thrilled to share that moments ago, President Obama signed this bill into law. This is a big win for communities. We hope this success is tangible proof that when philanthropy uses its influence capital — in this case, raising its voice — it can effect even broader benefit to our communities. This is a reminder that together we can do great things. more »

Action Alert: IRS Reporting Proposal Threatens Donor, Nonprofit Security

12/10/2015

Ann Saxton, Vice President | When should donors provide their Social Security number to a nonprofit? Common wisdom and universal advice says "never." But a dangerous new proposal from the IRS would change the answer to "it depends," confusing the public, stifling donations for charitable works and opening the floodgates to fraudsters. The IRS is seeking your comments on this proposal before December 16. The proposed regulations would give nonprofits the option of filing a separate new information return with the IRS and individual donors by February 28 every year to substantiate contributions of more than $250 in value. A similar mandatory proposal was considered and rejected in the past based on numerous legal, policy and confidentiality problems it raised.  more »

Five Minutes for Philanthropy: Take Action on Charitable Tax Extenders

12/02/2015

Ann Saxton, Vice President | The year-end federal tax bill currently under negotiation is expected to be completed by December 15. In addition to the reauthorizing the currently expired tax extenders which include three important philanthropic provisions — the IRA charitable rollover, enhanced deduction for contributions of food inventory, and enhanced deduction for contributions of conservation easements – the sector is working to include two additional provisions aimed at promoting charitable giving: more »

A River Between Us: Bridging Generations of Conflict on the Klamath

09/01/2015

Jason A. Atkinson, Filmmaker and Former Oregon State Senator | Nearly 300 miles long, flowing from southern Oregon to northern California, the Klamath River has been a source of conflict between conservationists, tribes, farmers, fishermen, and state and federal agencies for generations. My new film, with support from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust and other Pacific Northwest funders, examines this complicated history and documents the largest river restoration project in U.S. history. This unique case of collaboration, in a place most Americans can't find on a map, is a prime example for the rest of the country to follow. more »

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