Mary K. Rutherford, Guest Contributor | Being counted matters a lot! Just a few weeks ago, MCF participated in the first Montana 2020 Complete Census Count Committee meeting where people from across Montana gathered to discuss how best to get the word out about the importance of getting an accurate count. April 1, 2020 may seem like it's a long way off, yet it will be here before we know it. more »
News and Insights
Meredith Higashi | The philanthropic community relies on census data to guide philanthropic reach, impact and effectiveness. Philanthropic leaders use census data to understand community and demographic trends and inform fact-based decisions on long-term investments and grants. Inaccurate census data could divert federal resources from communities in need, forcing philanthropy to fill these gaps, while decreasing the effectiveness of these investments. One of the most concerning threats to a full census count is the addition of a new and untested question about citizenship status to the 2020 census form. more »
Kiran Ahuja | Earlier this year, Philanthropy Northwest committed to a journey that centers equity on the path to achieving a fairer and more just world. This journey compels both reflection and the use of our voice.
Over recent months, we have witnessed the family separation crisis at our border with sorrow and outrage. The federal government’s forcible and prolonged separation of children from their parents as these immigrant families sought refuge is an affront to the values of an equitable and just society, in which all people are treated with decency, respect and compassion.
Today, despite a court-ordered deadline having passed for the reunification of more than 2,000 families, the crisis remains ongoing. more »
In mid-March, fourteen Philanthropy Northwest members and staff convened in Washington, DC, as a delegation for Foundations on the Hill (FOTH). Organized by United Philanthropy Forum, in partnership with the Alliance for Charitable Reform and Council on Foundations, the event brought together nearly 250 philanthropic leaders from across the country to raise a collective voice to Congress about the key policy issues impacting philanthropy and the communities in which we serve. more »
Susan Weiss, Senior Policy Consultant | Philanthropy Northwest recently hosted a policy briefing on President Trump’s proposed 2018 budget and its implications for the Northwest. Michael Leachman, the Director of State Fiscal Research at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, said Northwest states will be particularly impacted by cuts to three areas: Medicaid, SNAP (also known as food stamps), and other federal aid to programs and services that help produce clean water, affordable housing, nutrition for newborns born into poor families, and infectious disease protections, among others. Trump’s budget would also eliminate the Low Income Housing Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which helps low-income seniors and others pay their home energy bills. This webinar is the first in a series as the budget process rolls out in the House and Senate, so stay tuned for future opportunities to engage. more »
Audrey Haberman, Interim CEO | Nonpartisanship is a cornerstone principle that has strengthened the public’s trust of the charitable and philanthropic community. At its March 2017 meeting, Philanthropy Northwest's board signed onto a statement urging national policymakers to protect the Johnson Amendment, the law prohibiting 501(c)(3) charitable organizations from endorsing, opposing or contributing to political candidates and engaging in partisan campaign activities. During our Foundations on the Hill meetings in Washington, D.C. last week, our delegation and other philanthropy networks from across the country urged our U.S. senators and representatives to maintain this important legal protection. Please consider adding your organization’s name to the growing list of more than 2,300 foundations and nonprofits that have signed a Community Letter in Support of Nonpartisanship. Philanthropy Northwest members that have already signed on include 501 Commons, Bullitt Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Cedarmere Foundation, The Foraker Group, Ford Foundation, Forest and Sequoia Foundatinos, Foundation for Healthy Generations, Idaho Nonprofit Center, Montana Community Foundation, Montana Nonprofit Association, Nonprofit Association of Oregon, Northwest Area Foundation, NW Children’s Fund, Orcas Island Community Foundation, Pride Foundation, Red Lodge Area Community Foundation, Satterberg Foundation, Seattle Foundation, Sherwood Trust, Skagit Community Foundation, Washington Nonprofits, Whatcom Community Foundation, Wyoming Nonprofit Network and Peg and Rick Young Foundation. more »
Nicole Neroulias Gupte, Senior Communications Manager | Perhaps because I'm a New Yorker, Greek American and recovering journalist, I'm often struck by Northwest philanthropy's tendency to avoid conflict. Sure, it's nice when we can all agree before a decision must be made, but realistically? In any large group of stakeholders with competing priorities, it's rarely going to happen. Given my quasi-misanthropic perspective and our country's toxic political climate these days, however, I found myself pleasantly surprised by some common ground in our nation's capital during Foundations on the Hill. Over the course of our three days in Washington, D.C. — walking more than 44,000 steps, according to Fitbit — our delegation of leaders from 12 Northwest foundations talked with Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-WA), Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA), Sen. John Tester (D-MT), Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and met with legislative aides to several other lawmakers and the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. more »
Mike Halligan, Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation | Philanthropy Northwest's recent delegation to Foundations on the Hill 2017 included Mike Halligan, who shared his insights with us as a nine-time participant in this annual visit with national policymakers in Washington, D.C. In contrast to my eight previous experiences as a Foundations on the Hill delegate, I detected a palpable sense of urgency by policymakers and staff this year. It was clear from my time on the Hill that dramatic policy changes are on the horizon — and that philanthropy can and should play a professional, objective role in educating our representatives and their constituents on policy issues that impact the livability and sustainability of our communities in the Northwest. Most importantly, we should use our role as a trusted convener to bring all voices to the table to facilitate the resolution of problems that seem beyond our reach at this time. more »
Gloris Estrella, Program Manager | Philanthropy Northwest members and staff travel to "the other Washington" every spring for Foundations on the Hill, three days of connecting and building relationships with federal elected officials, informing them about philanthropy’s impact in our region, encouraging them to view foundations as resources on public policy issues and connecting with other funders interested in public policy. Last year was my first time attending FOTH, and I found it to be a really transformative experience of educating our representatives and their staff about our work back home, while advocating for our sector and our communities. Staff and trustees from these Philanthropy Northwest member organizations have signed up to attend the 2017 Foundations on the Hill gathering, March 20-22 in Washington, D.C.: more »
At its March 2017 meeting, Philanthropy Northwest's board agreed to sign onto a statement urging national policymakers to protect the Johnson Amendment, the law prohibiting 501(c)(3) charitable organizations from endorsing, opposing or contributing to political candidates and engaging in partisan campaign activities. According to the Council on Foundations, if the Johnson Amendment were repealed, 501(c)(3) organizations could become entities that are given tax-deductible donations for the purpose of participating in the electoral process, and donors would be completely shielded from disclosure — hindering transparency, a core Philanthropy Northwest value. Other signatories to the letter, drafted by the Forum of Regional Association of Grantmakers, include the Arizona Grantmakers Forum, Council of Michigan Foundations, Council of New Jersey Grantmakers, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations and Minnesota Council on Foundations. This position will be discussed further among Philanthropy Northwest's participants and other Forum delegations at Foundations on the Hill, March 20-22 in Washington, D.C. more »