What’s on Nina Stack’s Desk This Summer?

August 12, 2014

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer

You’ll wish that summer could always be here

When that Nat King Cole song was a hit it was hard to image there would ever be a time that we would only know the crazy and never the lazy. This isn’t the first summer when I’ve pined for the July and August when you could shift down, offering a chance to catch up a little and maybe even play hooky.

Here are three examples of what has been coming across my desk, where the “gone fishing” sign seems to have disappeared:

America Gives More Act

The United States House of Representatives passed the bipartisan “American Gives More Act of 2014,” a legislative package that makes the IRA charitable rollover permanent and simplifies the excise tax on private foundations, both positions supported by many regional associations like my organization, the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers, and by our colleagues at the Center for Non-Profits here in New Jersey.

Two key components of the bill:

  • Establish a permanent IRA charitable rollover, which will increase funds available for charitable causes and communities, and
  • Simplify the two-tier excise tax on private foundations to a single rate of 1 percent, so more money is put directly into our communities.

In addition, the bill includes language to make permanent the current “tax extender” provisions, which enhance deductions for land conservation easements and food inventory. The bill also extends the deadline for claiming charitable contributions from Dec. 31 to April 15, tax day, of the following year.

I think it goes without saying why nonprofit leaders should want to support this bill as it should make more funds available for charitable purposes. But here is what we need to make this a reality…

As our U.S. Senators travel throughout their home states it’s time to engage them with an important message: Support the America Gives More Act by urging Senate Leadership to bring the bill to a vote on the Senate floor in September!

New Mayor Baraka meets with Philanthropic Sector

Newark’s 40th Mayor Ras J. Baraka (second from right) invited the Newark Funders Group of the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers to hear his vision for the city at special meeting in August. Just 30 days into his term, the Mayor called on the Newark Philanthropic Liaison Jeremy Johnson (left) to organize a convening with the Newark group, co-chaired by Etta Denk of Bank America (second from left) and Barbara Reisman of the Schumann Fund for New Jersey (third from left). Irene Cooper Basch (far right), Chair of the Council and Executive Officer at the Victoria Foundation, introduced the Mayor to more than 50 grantmakers who attended the session at the PSEG headquarters in downtown Newark.  Rick Thigpen (not pictured), ‎Vice President of State Government Affairs at PSEG, welcomed the Mayor and Grantmakers to the company’s conference center. Read More

The Playbook – Documenting Philanthropic Strategies Post Disaster

CNJG is partnering with the Center for Disaster Philanthropy to produce The Playbook: Strategies for the Philanthropic Sector in Response to Disasters and Tragedies. And we’ve just launched a nationwide survey aimed at funders to gather their stories, response, relief and recovery strategies, as well as best thinking to include in The Playbook.

While several excellent reports and guides on disaster philanthropy exist, they primarily focus on single disasters. Our national philanthropic sector does not have a comprehensive repository of the innovative strategies, effective best practices, lessons learned, and successful collaborations that funders and their grantees nationwide have supported and/or developed in response to natural  and manmade disasters.

Here is what I think will make this resource the most valuable for funders and nonprofits alike. The Playbook will be organized around issues, not specific disasters or geographic locales. It will include examples of response tactics around housing, mental health and wellness, immediate relief and mass care, advocacy and legal aid, education, communication, hunger and poverty, environmental issues, mitigation and preparedness, among others. The Playbook will document effective funder collaboratives, tactics for partnering with FEMA, HUD, state and local governments, as well as strategies for grantmakers to effectively collaborate with their regional associations and other nonprofit partners in times of disasters. Learn more, including its innovative design as an evergreen “ezine”, here.

My calendar tells me there are three weeks until Labor Day so I’m determined to find a little time to slow down and catch a lazy day on the beach in Belmar.  I hope you will too.

Nina Stack is President of the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers, the statewide association of more than 120 funding organizations working in New Jersey. She also serves as a Board Member of the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, a 34-member network serving more than 4,000 foundations, corporations and other donors across the country.

Above photo is courtesy of Jack Says Relax/Creative Commons