Ad*vo*cate: a person who speaks or writes in support or defense of a person, cause, etc.
Lob*by*ist: a person who takes part in an organized attempt to influence legislators.
The difference between the two feels quite nuanced doesn’t it? And for private foundations, where there are slightly different rules than for charities, it seems downright confusing. This is why we are so pleased to provide members with a workshop next week just before the Annual Meeting & Holiday Luncheon to help foundation leaders understand what their foundation can do – either directly or through grantees – and what it can’t. You’ll be surprised to learn how much impact your grantmaking can have when you think about your work from a policy perspective.
Of course, one of the primary roles that CNJG plays for our members is that of advocate and we’ve been doing a lot of late. The proposed changes to the Federal tax code include a number of elements that either directly impact the operations of foundations or stand to dramatically impact the work of grantees. We have done a lot of outreach to New Jersey’s Congressional delegation and Senators to let them know CNJG’s perspective on everything from the proposed repeal of the Johnson Amendment (that would allow electioneering by nonprofits) to the potential loss of$13 Billion in charitable giving by raising the standard deduction.
We are watching closely the negotiations between the Senate and House as the legislation comes through conference committee. CNJG Deputy Director Theresa Jacks, with the advice and counsel of the Council’s Policy & Leadership Committee, is in touch with Congressional staffers. For instance, as I write we learned that New Jersey Congressmen Gottheimer and Lance have proposed something related to private foundations as part of a larger package of proposals to the committee.
As this landmark tax legislation moves forward we have tried to keep you informed and provide resources for those that would like to learn more. Advocacy…government relations…policy considerations are all part of the speaking and writing in support of New Jersey’s philanthropic community as your advocate.
We hope to see you next Friday for the Annual Meeting & Holiday Luncheon….it’s our 20th Anniversary!
Nina Stack, President
Council of New Jersey Grantmakers