Should We Expand Our Support Beyond Policy Positions?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015
A message from PNY President Ronna Brown, published originally in the New York PhilanthroPost Monthly April 2015 edition.
Since Philanthropy New York took its first official policy position nearly three years ago, we have engaged members and taken positions on the America Gives More Act, simplifying the Federal Excise Tax on private foundations and maintaining full deductibility of itemized charitable deductions. As a Regional Association of Grantmakers, we ask ourselves, “Does a particular piece of legislation represent the interests of our members, their grantees and the entire philanthropic community?” The positions we’ve taken have been immensely helpful in our conversations with legislators, even if the state of politics in Washington is such that our issues are not likely to move anytime in the near future. 
We haven’t taken positions on sector practices in several years. Recently, Independent Sector asked PNY to back its Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice. This document is specifically geared towards charitable organizations and foundations and features 33 guidelines that focus on legal compliance and public disclosure, financial oversight and responsible fundraising. The Principles were originally developed in 2007 and updated this year.
Philanthropy New York regularly supports fellow infrastructure institutions in our joint mission to support and improve the sector. PNY’s Public Policy Committee recommends that our organization officially endorse the Independent Sector’s Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice
Consistent with our established process, we are now requesting member input on whether or not we should support these principles. While this isn’t a legislative issue, the same basic question applies: Does this set of principles represent the interest of our members, their grantees and the entire philanthropic community?
Please let us know if you have any thoughts or opinions on this matter.
Best Regards,
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