U.S. Senate: Pass the America Gives More Act

headshot of claudiaGetting more dollars to critical community issues passed a giant hurdle this summer, as the U.S. House passed the America Gives More Act that includes two key items of interest to philanthropy.

First, it makes the IRA Charitable Rollover permanent. Since 2006, when it was first passed for two years, Americans have been able to tap into their IRA assets, giving those dollars directly to the charity of their choice.

We’ve heard many stories about the impact of those dollars and what they have meant to our community foundation members here in Ohio and to thousands of other organizations working to improve the lives of area residents. But every two years, we’ve been back in Washington asking our federal policymakers to extend the provision for another two years. With the House action to make the IRA Charitable Rollover permanent, we won’t need to do that anymore: this means predictability for donors and the causes they care about and we support that.

Capitol HillSecond, the America Gives More Act simplifies the tax that private foundations pay to a flat 1 percent rate. For years, complex calculations of the two-tiered current structure have meant that private foundations spend human and financial resources figuring out what amount of tax they pay, resources that could better be used to support nonprofit organizations and issues.

brown_portmanWe applaud our Ohio members of Congress who voted for the bill and now urge Senator Brown and Senator Portman to bring the bill to the floor for a vote when they return to the Senate in September and to vote YES.

Add your voice to the call for passage. Contact our Ohio Senators while they’re in the state during August and urge them to pass the bill.

claudia herrold signature

Claudia Y.W. Herrold

August 18, 2014 at 10:51 am Leave a comment

A Victory for Charitable Giving

headshot of claudiaJust over a week ago, the U.S. House passed HR 4719, handing a major victory to those engaged in philanthropy and charitable giving – including Philanthropy Ohio and our members. The bill:

  • Makes the IRA Charitable Rollover permanent, so those aged 70 ½ and over can donate up to $100,000 a year tax-free from their IRAs to qualified charities;
  • Simplifies and reduces the tax that private foundations pay, to a flat 1 percent;
  • Extends to April 15 the deadline for making and claiming charitable deductions on a given year’s tax return;
  • Enhances the deduction for donations of food inventory; and
  • Enhances the deduction for donations of conservation easements.

The vote was 277 – 130, with 56 Democrats breaking rank to vote with Republicans. Here’s the breakdown of how Ohio’s members of the U.S. House voted:

photo of capitol hillAs I watched the House floor debate online, with Democrats and Republicans taking turns at the microphone to deliver their speeches, the main takeaway was that the congress remains deeply divided along partisan lines. The main concern of those voting against the bill was the revenue impact during a period of large deficits.

No one said anything against charitable giving – whether it’s donations of food inventory or IRA assets – but there was a lot said about how we’d pay for the loss of tax income.

Prospects for passage in the Senate appear dim, although there is some hope that the chamber will take up individual tax extender provisions (including those passed by the House) in the lame duck session after the November election. Philanthropy Ohio, as well as our colleague organizations across the country, will continue our efforts on these issues and welcome everyone’s help.

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Claudia Herrold

July 28, 2014 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

Cultivating young philanthropists

headshot of suzanne allenRecently I was invited to speak to a group of high schools students about philanthropy and after my diatribe about the many definitions of philanthropy, who gives and what they give to, I asked them to share their experiences as philanthropists.

I received a few quizzical looks and reminded them that philanthropy is more than just giving money to a charity: it is also about volunteering your time and abilities to help create a stronger community. I explained that whether you are raising money, raising awareness or helping to solve a problem, you are engaging in philanthropy. Every student then had a story to tell and each person, without exception, shone with pride in the telling.

millennial infographicAccording to an article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, nearly 75 percent of young people who responded to a survey – that led to the 2012 Millennial Impact Report – said they made a gift to a nonprofit in 2011. Another 70 percent said they have helped raise money by encouraging friends, colleagues and family members to support a cause they cared about.

While these aren’t large donations, the fact is that over half of those surveyed had volunteered at the organization where they made the gift and nearly all said they plan to volunteer at the organization that received their gift.

But this shouldn’t surprise you. Our young donors share the same motivations as older people (that’s how the high schools students labelled me) have about philanthropy. We all like to believe in the mission and vision of the nonprofit and most of us choose to support a nonprofit because we’ve developed a relationship with the organization.

how many millennials gave a financial gift in 2012However, many of us who are more seasoned (I like that term better than older) givers had a role model or a mentor who helped us understand the importance of giving and how to give our “time, talent and treasures” effectively.

I closed my talk with these thoughts. “You are already a philanthropist, but what you want to be is an experienced philanthropist. The only way to do that comes through life experiences and learning from them. You need to watch, listen, ask questions, learn as much as you can and then practice generosity. Look for a mentor and ask for help. You’ll get to think bigger and think collaboratively and really make a difference in the causes you care about. And when people ask me what I think the future of philanthropy looks like, I can honestly say that I know the answer to that question: I’ve met you.”

Share your story, I’d love to hear from you!

suzanne signed in blue ink

Suzanne T. Allen, Ph.D.

July 22, 2014 at 9:58 am Leave a comment

Here’s what you missed at the Summer Institute

headshot of suzanne allen“Take your shift at the loom.”

“Be the duct tape.”

“Chess or jigsaw puzzles?”

“Collaboration moves at the speed of trust.”

These are just few of the “Ah Ha’s” I heard from the 125 people who attended our first Summer Institute last week. I saw staff and trustees from all over the state and from very different forms of philanthropy – community and private foundations, corporate giving programs, government grantmakers and more – all engaged in deep learning through engaging authentic conversations led by national experts who pushed participants to ask hard questions about the way they work.

An active Twitter stream via #POHinstitute spread information and attendees shared insight about the Institute throughout the day. Check out our Facebook page to see all the photos. POH tweetsavner twitter

SC min pOh twitter

Peter POh Twitter

Dina Twitter POH

Feedback offered at the end of the day demonstrate the value of the new format and approach to learning; people loved the deep dive approach, where we spent two hours on each topic:IMG_0635

“The deep dive content was awesome! More than just general overview of the topic. Worth the trip.”


Participants also loved the networking:

“The networking opportunity with peers is absolutely invaluable!”


Given the positive experiences and feedback, our plan is to offer the Institute every other year, with our Philanthropy Forward three-day conference in the intervening years. We’re looking forward to being in Cincinnati for Philanthropy Forward ’15, so stay tuned for upcoming announcements about its timing.

The Summer Institute wouldn’t have been possible without the active involvement of many people and organizations. Our thanks to Philanthropy Ohio’s Member Services Committee who helped develop and deliver the Institute:

Bob Jaquay, Chair  The George Gund Foundation
Nelson Beckford  Saint Luke’s Foundation
Dawn Tyler Lee  United Way of Central Ohio
JenniRoer  Tait Foundation
LaTida Smith   Saint Luke’s Foundation
Lori Kuhn  Morgan Family Foundation
Meghan Cummings  The Greater Cincinnati Foundation
Shiloh Turner  The Greater Cincinnati Foundation

And our thanks to our sponsors:

Benefactor Group
The Cleveland Foundation
The Greater Cincinnati Foundation
Fifth Third Foundation
FirstEnergy Foundation
Greater Columbus
Arts Council
The George
Gund Foundation
Martha Holden Jennings Foundation
KeyBank Foundation
Interact for Health
The Lubrizol Foundation
Morgan Family
The Nord Family Foundation
William J. and Dorothy K. O’Neill Foundation
Saint Luke’s Foundation
SC Ministry Foundation
The Sherwin-Williams Foundation

suzanne signed in blue ink
Suzanne T. Allen, Ph. D.

July 14, 2014 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

Who Will You Nominate?

headshot of claudiaWe’ve just begun accepting nominations for our 2014 awards in three areas: lifetime achievement, innovation and leadership. Nominations are due by August 22 and we’ll announce the winners and present the awards at our Fall Forum on October 7. Here are the award categories, along with a brief description of each one.

Ohio Philanthropy Award

Nominees for our “lifetime achievement” award should have made outstanding contributions to philanthropy and can be either an individual or organization demonstrating:

  • Longstanding leadership in advancing philanthropy;
  • Creativity in responding to societal problems; and/or
  • Significant positive impact on philanthropy.

Emerging Ohio Philanthropist Award11 staff pose with glass award

This award recognizes someone who – regardless of age – has engaged in philanthropy for the first time during the last few years, either in a career path or as a private individual, and shows amazing potential by demonstrating:

  • Exemplary leadership in advancing philanthropy;
  • Engagement beyond a single community;
  • Creativity in a philanthropic endeavor or project; and/or
  • Significant accomplishment in a short period of time.

ladies hold glass awards Ohio Philanthropy Innovation Award

The Innovation Award celebrates a catalyst who has moved Ohio philanthropy forward through an innovation in the last few years, someone whose idea led to positive change in the how the philanthropic sector operates, thinks or impacts communities.

You can download more information about the awards, their criteria and the nomination forms from our website.

Who will you nominate?

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Claudia Y.W. Herrold

June 30, 2014 at 11:46 am Leave a comment

Giving USA Numbers Just Released

headshot of suzanne allenOn June 17, Giving USA published their 2014 Report and folks around the country gathered to review the data and talk about the implications. I was invited to be a part of the Cincinnati group by Jim Yunker, President & CEO of Smith Beers Yunker & Company, Inc., and after the presentation, I served on a panel with Jim Schwab from Interact for Health and Sr. Sally Duffy from Sisters of Charity. We talked about how the data impact the work we do and the trends we see ahead.

So let’s look at the data first:

From the Giving USA 2014 Report, we learn that charitable giving in the United States rose 4.4 percent to $335.17 billion last year; if the trends continue, pre-recession giving levels could be seen as early as 2015. The “Giving Pie” – the pie chart we all use to show categories of givers – is growing.giving usa2

But as the data were broken down, it was clear who was responsible for last year’s increase in giving: the single largest contributors are still individuals. Charitable giving in this large section of the “Giving Pie” is an estimated $240.6 billion, and it rose 4.2 percent in 2013, an increase of $9.69 billion from 2012.

In addition to individuals, the parts of the “Giving Pie” also increased for bequests and foundations. Only giving by corporations declined slightly in 2013, the result of the slow rate of growth in pre-tax corporate profits in 2013, at 3.4 percent.

Taking a deeper look at the individual gifts, several very large gifts made by individuals, couples and estates in 2013 helped make this slice of “Pie” a bit larger. Large donations – gifts of $80 million or more – represented 1.3 percent of total giving. Interestingly, the majority of these large gifts were made from living Americans ($3 billion) and $1.3 billion came from bequests.

Giving USA ReportHighlights imageOne of the fastest-growing beneficiaries of individual gifts was donor-advised funds. The Giving USA 2014 Report categorizes these types of funds as part of the public-society benefit classification, and as a category, it grew by 7 percent. This classification also includes advocacy groups, Jewish federations and United Ways.

However, individual gifts to private foundations dropped by 16.7 percent. This decline can be explained in a couple of ways: one way is that this does not connote a lack of interest, but that there is an inherent volatility in how affluent people form and fund their own foundations.

If you want a complete view of the Giving USA numbers, we’ll be posting to our website or you can purchase the full report by going to Giving USA’s website.

In our next blog, we’ll talk about how this data impacts you!

suzanne signed in blue ink

Suzanne T. Allen, Ph.D.

June 24, 2014 at 11:57 am Leave a comment

New on the Job

headshot of lindsayThis week Philanthropy Ohio welcomes Lindsay Wiseman, president of the Community Foundation of West Chester/Liberty.

Lindsay Wiseman

Title & Organization:
President of the Community Foundation of West Chester/Liberty

Previous job:
Account Manager, Staples

Why did you make the move?
I have a passion for philanthropy and for my community.

What do you hope to accomplish?
I want to be the first place our community members turn to when they think of charitable giving—to be that connector for our donors to the causes that matter most to them. I hope to see our Forever Fund endowment and Community Grants endowment grow to sustain us for future generations.

What’s surprised you so far?
I already knew this about our community, but this role with the community foundation has reaffirmed how charitable our community is, not only with their money but with their time and individualized skills.

What is it about your job that makes you excited to go to work?
I am excited to make connections and to talk with our community members about the needs and how we can work together to improve the quality of life in West Chester/Liberty.

What’s on your MP3 player?
I mostly listen to the radio; any of today’s country music and Q102.

What’s the last book you read?
The Hunger Games series.

June 16, 2014 at 9:53 am Leave a comment

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