We're Walking the Halls of Congress This Week

March 11, 2019

I’m excited to be writing from the annual Foundations on the Hill in Washington D.C. where we’re joining almost 250 philanthropic partners from across the country. Our Philanthropy Northwest team, made up of members and staff, is meeting with 20 congressional offices, caucuses and committees; plus sitting in on committee hearings taking place this week. We’re always excited to be here in Washington D.C., to share with congressional members and their staff the issues that matter to philanthropy, as well as to our members.

This year, we’re talking about the importance of a fair and accurate census; our opposition to family separation at the border; protection of the Johnson Amendment; supporting a tax policy that enhances charitable giving; simplifying the private foundation excise tax; and extending IRA charitable rollover to donor advised funds. In addition, our members are excited and ready to discuss the issues top of mind for their foundations, from education and homelessness to rural and economic development and healthcare.

These organized visits gain the attention of politicians and the more we can use our voice here in Washington D.C., the more effective we can be as a sector – for our grantees and for our communities. It should not only be the groups we fund who engage in advocacy, it should be all of us. It is important that congressional members appreciate the significant contributions this sector makes in local communities across the country. That is why we are armed with data about the contributions our sector makes in our region, by dollar, number, and issue, taken directly from our Trends Report (updated edition to be released later this year!).

As scrutiny or questions arise on some aspects of our sector, from donor advised funds or the value of tax incentives for nonprofits, it is even more critical for us to be engaged in policy advocacy – no matter what roles we have at our organizations. You don’t have to be a policy advocacy staffer or expert to lend your voice and perspective. That’s why we have several staff here in D.C. representing cross-disciplines in our organization. We’d love to have you join us here, too, next March. And if you’re unsure what it means to “walk the halls of Congress,” you can get a head start on preparing for next year by joining our Advocacy in Action webinar series.

Hope to see you here in Washington D.C., for Foundations on the Hill next year and until then, follow us on social media to see what we’re up to at #FOTH19!