Public Policy Positions and Process

When and How We Decide to Take a Position

Philanthropy New York follows a process (see details below) laid out by our Board of Directors to determine whether or how to take an official stand on public policy issues. We anticipate taking positions only on issues directly affecting the philanthropic sector or the broadest array of nonprofit organizations, as opposed to issue-specific policy matters on topics like education, health, etc. We will take our cues from our members on what issues we should consider.

PNY's OFFICIAL POLICY POSITIONS

These are the official positions approved by our Public Policy Committee, Members and Board of Directors to date:

March 28, 2018
Philanthropy New York urges Congress and the Administration to devote sufficient resources to the 2020 Census now, to put planning and preparations back on track and resist calls for untested, unnecessary new questions that would decrease participation and increase the inaccuracy of the count.

November 15, 2017
Philanthropy New York opposes the elimination of the estate tax, and opposes any future increases in the exemption level beyond the current inflation-indexed rate.

November 15, 2017
Philanthropy New York supports efforts to revise the tax code in ways that will further incentivize charitable giving and opposes efforts that would reduce charitable giving. 

March 15, 2017
Philanthropy New York opposes the repeal of the Johnson Amendment.

August 3, 2016
Philanthropy New York urges New York State and New York City to immediately act in compliance with OMB Guidance on Indirect Costs. 

August 3, 2016
Philanthropy New York encourages New York State and New York City to integrate contracting procedures that will consistently reimburse nonprofits for their full federally-negotiated indirect cost rate or, for nonprofits that don’t have one, a negotiated rate in accordance with federal cost principles or a minimum rate of 10 percent of total direct costs.

June 11, 2015 
Philanthropy New York endorses Independent Sector's Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice

August 7, 2014
Philanthropy New York supports the passage of the America Gives More Act.

September 17, 2013
Philanthropy New York supports maintaining full deductibility of itemized charitable deductions.

September 21, 2012
Philanthropy New York supports simplifying the federal excise tax on private foundations.

 

PNY's 2018 PUBLIC POLICY SLATE

Philanthropy New York's Public Policy Slate elaborates why we engage in policy work, our organization's core principles for our policy work and our advocacy agenda for the year. 

It includes these federal issues:

  • Tax Reform that Sustains and Grows Charitable Giving
  • Estate Tax
  • Johnson Amendment
  • Private Foundation Excise Tax
  • IRS Charitable Rollover
  • Donor Advised Funds
  • IRS Rules on Political Advocacy
  • Private Foundation Distribution Requirements
  • April 15 Charitable Deduction Extension
  • Effects of Lower Federal Revenues on Nonprofits
  • Full Funding for 2020 Census

It includes these New York State concerns:

  • Government's Responsibility to Reimburse Indrect Costs
  • "Real Costs" Budgeting
  • Protecting Nonprofit Advocacy
  • Protecting Charitable Giving Incentives
  • Nonprofit Tax Exemption
  • Census Count in New York State
  • Nonprofits and the Cost of the Rising Minimum Wage
  • Nonprofit Infrastructure Capital Improvement Program
  • Value-Based Payments Commission Recommendations

It includes these New York City and Regional Concerns:

  • Government's Responsibility to Reimburse Indirect Costs
  • Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOTs)

Read PNY's full 2018 Public Policy Slate here or the printable version here.

 

OFFICIAL PROCEDURES FOR PUBLIC POLICY ACTIVITIES:

For organizational statements and taking action, these are Philanthropy New York's official procedures for public policy activities (revised and approved by PNY's Board in December 2016).

Background, Approach and Parameters:

Philanthropy New York is committed to forging working relationships with public policymakers to deepen their appreciation of the role of philanthropy, to allow the two sectors to understand each other’s priorities and to advance the common good.

Philanthropy New York’s Board of Directors has determined that, in some instances, Philanthropy New York’s membership would be best served by taking a public position on a policy matter, including a particular legislative item and/or a regulation promulgated at the City, State or Federal level. Philanthropy New York’s officially adopted mission, vision and values statements will guide the public policy decision-making process, with additional guidance provided in this document and in regularly-revised organizational strategic plans.

Philanthropy New York staff, Policy Committee or a member may initiate the process for taking an official position.  The overriding factors to be considered are:  

  1. The relevance and importance of the issue to the philanthropic sector and Philanthropy New York members
  2. The potential impact taking a stand might have on the issue itself, on Philanthropy New York’s members, on our organization and/or the nonprofits our members support.
  3. The potential divisiveness of the issue within the membership.

Philanthropy New York will at all times act in compliance with the laws on nonprofit lobbying activities established by the IRS and both the State and City of New York.

Standard Process:

1. Public Policy Committee Advises and Recommends

Philanthropy New York’s Public Policy Committee—comprising board members, senior-level representatives of Philanthropy New York’s members, and non-foundation professionals with the appropriate level of expertise—will guide the initial process for taking a public position.   The staff, guided by the Public Policy Committee, will gather data and information and conduct any necessary analysis suggested by the Committee in order to provide critical information for its decision making process. The Public Policy Committee will shape and approve formal statements by a majority vote. The Public Policy Committee’s formal written recommendation to the Board will include a clear explanation of the issue, the rationale for the recommendation, and the general steps or activities that the Committee proposes Philanthropy New York take as a result of, and in line with, this policy position.

2. Board Consents to Member Open Comment Period

In the period before the Public Policy Committee recommends a position statement – whether that period be days, weeks or months – the Board will be alerted in monthly reports (or by email if the issue is moving quickly) that the Committee is considering an issue. Once the Public Policy Committee makes a recommendation to take a position, staff will inform the Board by email that the recommendation has been made. Board members will be asked to raise any significant concerns about taking the position to the member open comment period.  The Board will be given five days to raise any such concerns. If any Board member raises concerns about moving to the next step, staff will hold the process until the Board discussion resolves itself through email conversation, conference call or in-person meeting. This stage of the process will be considered resolved when the majority of the board is on record favoring taking the statement to the member open comment period.

3. Staff Disseminates Draft Statements and Solicits Member Input

Position statements will be presented to the membership by email or other appropriate electronic means. Members will be invited to comment on the PNY website or in direct, private emails.  The comment period will be two to three weeks if practical and at a minimum, at least five days.

4. Staff Shares Comments with Board

Staff will assemble and summarize comments from members. 

5. Board Approves or Rejects Statements and Plan of Action

The Board of Directors will review and vote on the Committee’s recommendations. Depending on the timeliness of the issue at hand, the decision will be made at a regularly scheduled Board meeting, via conference call or by email. A majority vote of the Board is required to approve the statement and the proposed action.

Expedited Process:

Sometimes public policy issues move very fast and it is appropriate for Philanthropy New York to move a statement and plan of action more quickly than the standard process allows.

If a majority of the Public Policy Committee votes that taking a position is time-sensitive, it may forward its proposed statement and plan of action directly to the Executive Committee of Philanthropy New York’s Board of Directors, which will vote on behalf of the Board.

Board members will be afforded an opportunity to comment on the Committee’s proposed position statement in advance of the Executive Committee’s vote. The Board, or the Executive Committee, may convene in person, by phone, or through email, in order to consider and/or vote on the recommendation.  In this expedited process, a majority vote of the Executive Committee will be required in order for Philanthropy New York to move ahead with the statement and plan of action. 

In all instances the Board will inform the members of the position that it plans to take, or did take.