ON-Lion Letter

In late May, The New York Times published an op-ed by David Callahan, founder and editor of the Inside Philanthropy website, which recommends new regulations for foundations and charities that would significantly restrict philanthropic freedom.  Joanne Florino, senior vice president for public policy at the Philanthropy Roundtable in Washington, D.C., has prepared a response to Callahan, "High Noon for Charity?," which will be published in the Summer 2015 issue of Philanthropy magazine.

"Callahan argues that the laws governing charities are flawed and that those responsible for monitoring the sector are not doing their jobs very well," according to Florino.  "'Philanthropy ...,' he writes, 'is a world with too much secrecy and too little oversight.'  While acknowledging Alexis de Tocqueville's recognition that an independent civil society is a hallmark of American democracy, he ignores Tocqueville's warnings about the dangers of an overreaching government.  Instead, Callahan labels the private donations of generous Americans (totaling over $358 billion in 2014) as 'public money,' refers to tax exemption and the charitable deduction as 'subsidies,' and proposes restrictive laws and a greatly expanded role for government -- all of which threaten the right of Americans to choose how and where to spend their charitable assets."

The Philanthropy Roundtable's public-policy project, the Alliance for Charitable Reform, educates policymakers and the public about threats to philanthropic freedom and the critical role of private giving in America.

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee substantially supports the Philanthropy Roundtable.

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