The beginning of a new year brings excitement, fresh energy and renewed resolve to move forward issues of consequence. It is also a time to reflect on the previous year’s accomplishments, reassess unfinished work, and redefine priorities. This “look forward – look back” dynamic is both exhilarating and daunting.
The 2019 CNJG Annual Meeting & Holiday Luncheon sums up this dynamic perfectly. Both the pre-meeting workshop led by our friends and colleagues Linda Czipo, Center for Non-Profits, and Tim Delaney, National Council on Nonprofits, and the luncheon keynote from Phil Buchanan, Center for Effective Philanthropy, pushed us to rethink how we engage with grantees, partners and communities, and encouraged our optimism for the new year. I left the gathering feeling rejuvenated and inspired. That’s exactly how the old year should end, and the new year should begin.
The last days of 2019 brought major wins for the philanthropic community. For the last several years, CNJG joined with colleagues from throughout our sector to advocate for simplification of the private foundation excise tax on net investment income to a flat rate. As part of the comprehensive budget bill signed into law on December 20, the new rate is a flat 1.39%. The previous system had a complicated, two-tier rate that often penalized foundations for making larger grants in any one year. This has been a headline issue for us at our Foundations on the Hill meetings over the last several years.
Another major victory for the overall charitable sector as part of the budget bill was repeal of the 21% tax imposed by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on nonprofits providing transportation benefits to employees. We, like most other regional associations in the United Philanthropy Forum network, took the opportunity to educate Congress about this issue during our annual FOTH visit last year.
Once again, we’ll gather in Washington D.C. for Foundations on the Hill on March 9 – 11, along with 300+ foundation representatives from around the country to speak with our elected officials about the policies that matter most to philanthropy. In one collective voice, this annual two-day event provides grantmakers the opportunity to inform and educate Congress about philanthropy; advocate on issues affecting foundations; build relationships with lawmakers and their staff; and encourage Congress to view foundations as resources on key public policy issues. The annual trek helps raise lawmakers’ awareness of the vital work you do and inform them about the issues CNJG members care about. If you are interested in attending, please contact Deputy Director Theresa Jacks to learn more.
I hope you were able to enjoy a nice winter break, just as the CNJG team did. With our batteries recharged, together we’re ready and energized to jump into 2020! I look forward to seeing you at an upcoming event.
Maria Vizcarrondo, President and CEO
Council of New Jersey Grantmakers