December 2020 Public Policy Roundup

December 2020 Public Policy Roundup

Publication date: 
December, 2020

By Hillary Evans, vice president of professional learning & public policy, Philanthropy Southwest

Congress Passes Year-end Spending Bill including COVID Relief
On December 21, Senate and House lawmakers in Washington reached a deal on a coronavirus relief aid package that includes more than $900 billion in economic relief. The bill, that overwhelming passed both Houses, provides aid for small businesses, unemployed Americans, one-time stimulus checks for individuals falling under a certain income threshold and support for critical needs such as vaccine distribution and schools. Click here to read the full bill text. The deal reached came after a temporary stopgap measure extending federal funding nearly expired, averting a government shutdown. The extension of a universal charitable deduction was not included in this relief package. Philanthropy Southwest joined 300+ organizations in a letter to Senate and House leadership encouraging Congress to expand and extend the universal charitable deduction in an end-of-year COVID relief package.

Louisa McCune, Executive Director of Kirkpatrick Foundation, Chair of the 2021 Annual Conference Committee and member of the PSW Public Policy Committee, wrote a blog post recently published on the Charitable Giving Coalition website. This piece underscores the benefits of creating universal charitable giving incentives to support altruism for all Americans regardless of income. PSW will continue to advocate for preservation of this charitable deduction and support of the nonprofit and charitable sectors as the 117th Congress convenes in January.

Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute to Research Latinx Mental Health Supports for PSW-Led Funder Learning Collaborative 
Philanthropy Southwest is excited to announce Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute as its research partner for the Latinx Mental Health project. PSW, through the generous support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, will lead a funder-focused learning collaborative around promising practices to support mental health in Latinx communities in North Texas. This project aims to increase awareness and information for funders about needs in Latinx communities that have been magnified by the current global pandemic. The work of this funder learning collaborative will be a catalyst for more targeted and coordinated funding streams to provide ongoing support for mental health services for Latinx communities. This funder collaborative model around mental health supports will be studied as a possible, scalable model for other communities throughout the Southwest. Findings will be initially presented in Summer 2021 and featured at PSW’s 73rd Annual Conference in Oklahoma City, October 19-21, 2021.

Highlights from PSW’s Policy Priorities Survey  
Philanthropy Southwest recently surveyed its members on policy priorities to inform the 2021 policy agenda. Nearly half of the survey respondents represented private foundations. While 60% percent of the survey respondents indicated that that they fund advocacy, almost half of the foundation members surveyed said that they do not engage in advocacy due to compliance and lobbying restrictions.  The foundation members that do engage in advocacy advocate mostly at the state level. The top three policy areas of interest included: COVID relief funding, preservation of the charitable deduction and equity and racial justice. Philanthropy Southwest will be hosting an advocacy compliance training on January 14, 2021 for all PSW members. This training will focus on the advocacy do’s and don’ts along with targeted engagement with the Texas legislature. Please check the PSW website for more information and registration details coming soon. 

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