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Foundations on the Hill

Foundations on the Hill

Hosted by United Philanthropy Forum, in partnership with the Council on Foundations and Independent Sector, Foundations on the Hill (FOTH) is an annual opportunity for foundation executives, staff, and board members, philanthropy-serving organizations, and other philanthropic and social sector leaders to meet with their federal lawmakers, talk about issues of interest to philanthropy, and strengthen relationships with their representatives.

The next Foundations on the Hill event will be held March 20-23, 2022, in Washington, D.C.

The overall purpose of Foundations on the Hill is to:

  • Inform and educate Congress about philanthropy
  • Advocate on issues affecting foundations
  • Build CNJG’s relationships with lawmakers and their staff
  • Create visibility for foundations and philanthropy on Capitol Hill
  • Encourage Congress to view foundations as resources on key public policy issues

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, FOTH 2021 was held virtually over 2 weeks in March. While FOTH’s main focus is to meet with members of Congress, this year’s virtual event included keynote plenaries, legislative briefings, and breakout sessions.

In 2021 our CNJG delegation included Erik Cruz Morales and Lucy Vandenberg, The Fund for New Jersey; Tanuja Dehne, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation; Gianna Durso-Finley, The Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation; William Engel, The Hyde and Watson Foundation; Andy Fraizer, Community Founation of South Jersey; Stephanie Greenwood, Victoria Foundation; Priti Mehta, Investors Foundation; Ann Ritter, The Burke Foundation; Michael Unger, Atlantic Foundation; Jeff Vega and Nelida Valentin, Princeton Area Community Foundation; and Maria Vizcarrondo and Theresa Jacks, CNJG. We were also pleased Linda Czipo, Center for Non-Profits, joined our delegation once again. Her voice helps elevate our discussions about the nonprofit sector and philanthropy’s work to support and invest in the sector.

We were able to meet with 10 of our 12 Congressional offices, including meeting directly with Congressman Andy Kim and Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill, and both our Senate offices. During our meetings we shared how NJ foundations and nonprofits stepped up to address the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic crisis in communities throughout our state. We encouraged our representatives to support the newly introduced bipartisan, bicameral Universal Giving Pandemic Response and Recovery Act, which would raise the universal charitable deduction to roughly $4,000 for individuals and $8,000 for married couples filing jointly, and extend the deduction through 2022. We also thanked our Representatives and Senators for supporting COVID-response legislation that bolstered relief for charitable organizations, including the PPP Extension Act of 2021.

Part of FOTH is to build CNJG’s relationships with the offices and to be seen as a resource. During our meeting with Congresswoman Sherrill, she talked about “community project funding.” She wants to direct them towards nonprofits, and asked us to introduce her to charitable organizations she might not be aware of that could potentially benefit from this kind of support. We told her about the work of NJ VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster). This is a clear example of serving as resource.

Post FOTH, Theresa Jacks and Linda Czipo met with Congressman Kim’s office to discuss and plan a grants workshop for nonprofits in his district. We’ve been working with Congressman Pallone’s office for the past few years to provide this kind of workshop to his nonprofit constituents. This kind activity is a great example of both building relationships with the office and serving as a resource.