Public Policy Update - January 2024

Philanthropy Southeast regularly provides members with updates on the latest public policy developments in Washington and state capitols around the region, analyzing their possible impact on the charitable sector. If you would like to see an issue featured in a future Public Policy Update, contact Jaci Bertrand, Philanthropy Southeast's vice president of member engagement, at


Register Today for Foundations on the Hill!

Foundations on the Hill -- your best opportunity to be an advocate for philanthropy and discuss your foundation's priorities with policymakers – is less than a month away, but there’s still time to join the Philanthropy Southeast delegation!

This year, you can choose between two experiences for Foundations on the Hill: One for those eager to learn more about policy, advocacy and the issues philanthropy is concerned about, and another is ideal for FOTH veterans who are ready to dive right into meetings with policymakers.

Learn more about Foundations on the Hill – and sign up to attend – at


National Study on DAFs to be Released During FOTH

Foundations on the Hill attendees will be among the first to hear the results of the DAF Research Collaborative’s (DAFRC) National Study on DAFs.

Informed by data provided by community foundations and other DAF sponsors throughout the United States, including more than two dozen community foundations from the Southeast, this study is the most comprehensive research project on DAFs to date. This new work builds upon the field’s existing knowledge of DAFs and explores new areas of concern to DAF sponsors, donors, and grant recipients.

Philanthropy Southeast partnered with the DAFRC last year to encourage broad participation in the study. In addition to the national report, Philanthropy Southeast has commissioned a separate analysis of DAF providers in the Southeast region. This regional study is expected to be available in late March or early April.


Universal Charitable Deduction Update

Today, the House is expected to pass a $78 billion bipartisan tax bill that includes an expansion of the child tax credit and would restore some tax breaks for businesses.

The legislation, which faces an uncertain path in the Senate, does not currently include a universal charitable deduction, which would provide a charitable deduction for all tax filers, not just those who itemize their return.

As the bill moves through the legislative process, it could be amended to include a universal charitable deduction. However, even if this doesn’t happen, Congress is likely to consider updates to the tax code focused on individual filers in 2025, presenting another opportunity to reinstate a charitable deduction accessible to millions of Americans.

Philanthropy Southeast has joined a large coalition of others in the charitable sector in supporting the Charitable Act, which would restore the non-itemizer charitable deduction to one-third of the standard deduction.

We will keep you posted on further updates, as well as any opportunities that arise to reach out to policymakers. The universal charitable deduction will also be a priority during this year’s Foundations on the Hill.


Philanthropy Southeast Signs Letter Supporting Right to Give Based on Values

In December, Philanthropy Southeast joined dozens of foundations, philanthropy-supporting organizations and nonprofits in supporting a statement on the right of charitable organizations and individuals to exercise their views through giving.

The statement, drafted by the Council on Foundations, came in response to a lawsuit by the American Alliance for Equal Rights (AAER), the same organization whose lawsuit resulted in the ending of race-conscious admissions programs at colleges and universities. AAER has sued the Atlanta-based Fearless Foundation – led by Black women and committed to providing grants, tools, and mentorship to women of color – claiming that its program for Black female entrepreneurs is racially discriminatory. 

“We believe that philanthropic organizations, charitable nonprofits, and individual donors have the right to exercise their values and views through giving money and other resources, as protected by the First Amendment. That includes efforts to support historically marginalized groups,” the statement reads. “Philanthropic organizations, charitable nonprofits, and individual donors have the right to exercise their views through giving, as protected by the First Amendment, even when others might disagree with where a funder chooses to donate.”

The statement calls on courts to dismiss AAER’s lawsuit and “uphold the First Amendment rights of philanthropic organizations, charitable nonprofits, and individual donors to give in ways that align with their values.”

If you would like to add your foundation’s support to the statement, visit the Council on Foundations website.


Two Weeks Left to Comment on Proposed DAF Regulations

In November’s update, we reviewed regulations proposed by the IRS and Treasury Department tied to taxable distributions from donor-advised funds.

The public comment period on these proposed regulations was set to expire on January 16. However, following requests from multiple organizations, the window for comments has been extended through February 15.

You can submit comments now at the Federal Register’s website.



Connecting with Philanthropy Southeast:
The Philanthropy Southeast staff works remotely – the best way to reach us is by email or by calling (404) 524-0911.

Monday-Thursday from 9:00am–6:00pm (ET)

On Fridays, staff work on a flexible schedule. Members can reach our team via email or by calling (404) 524-0911 between 9:00am and 6:00pm (ET). We will respond to all urgent and time-sensitive matters promptly.

Mailing address:
100 Peachtree Street NW, Suite 2080
Atlanta, GA 30303

Mission: Philanthropy Southeast strengthens Southern philanthropy, welcoming our members to listen, learn and collaborate on ideas and actions to help build an equitable, prosperous South.