November 2021 Public Policy Roundup

November 2021 Public Policy Roundup

Publication date: 
November, 2021

By Hillary Evans, Vice President of Professional Learning & Public Policy, Philanthropy Southwest

Public Policy Roundup 11.16.21 (November Issue) 

President Biden Signs Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill; Passage of Build Back Better Proposal Up Next
On November 15th, President Biden signed into law the $1 trillion dollar infrastructure legislation during a bipartisan ceremony on the White House South Lawn. This plan will put $550 billion in new money into transportation, broadband and utilities. To read more about what is in this infrastructure bill, click here.  

Meanwhile, the House is poised to pass the President’s Build Back Better (“BBB”) plan this week. This $1.75 trillion dollar legislation (H.R. 5376)  would include social spending and a climate policy plan. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is expected to release a complete cost estimate for the Build Back Better Act by November 19th. Even though only a simple majority is needed to pass this BBB legislation in the Senate, all 50 votes will be needed given that this bill has not garnered any Republican support. This CBO fiscal analysis will be important for moderate Democrats who are still on the fence about how to pay for this plan amid the nation’s rising inflation. Lawmakers also face approaching deadlines on funding the federal government through December 3rd and the U.S. debt limit. 

ACE Act Update and Sign On Letter to Support Expansion of the Universal Charitable Deduction 
Philanthropy Southwest is continuing to monitor legislative developments around the Accelerating Charitable Efforts (ACE) Act. As previously reported, the ACE Act introduced in June by Senators Grassley (R-IA and King (I-ME), has not gained much traction but could have a broader impact for community and private foundations. There has been recent interest by some lawmakers to introduce a House version of the bill; these talks have been met with pushback from constituents locally. 

The Charitable Giving Coalition has drafted a sign on letter to urge congressional leaders to support the expansion and extension of the universal charitable deduction in year-end tax legislation. This letter is open to both national and local organizations, with a particular interest in charities or organizations that receive donor-advised grants. The sign on deadline is Dec. 1, 2021. Click on the following link to sign on:  

National Philanthropic Trust 2021 DAF Study Reports One of the Highest Payout Rates on Record 
The National Philanthropic Trust recently released its 15th annual Donor-Advised (DAF) Fund Report on more than 900 DAF sponsoring charities. The report shows that Americans with DAFs are increasing and stepping up during crisis. Other key findings include: 

  • DAFs to qualified charities totaled $34.67 billion---a 27% increase compared to 2019; this increase is the highest DAF increase in a decade 
  • DAF payout rate was 23.8%, one of the highest payout rates on record exceeding 20% annually
  • Assets grew by 9.9 % 

Click here to read the full report. 

Giving USA Publishes Special DAF Report
On November 11, the Giving USA Foundation and the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy released a special report on donor-advised funds (DAFs). This study reported $74 billion in grant dollars given to 240,000 nonprofits from 87 DAF sponsors. The report highlights trends around DAFs and their role in the philanthropic landscape. It also provides data on how much is being put into DAFs and being granted from these funds, without addressing payout rates. To view some key findings, click here. To purchase the full report visit:

Watch On-Demand: Policy Sessions from the 73rd Annual Conference  
Philanthropy Southwest convened nearly 300 funders across the U.S. Southwest last month in Oklahoma City. Outside of tax policy, the conference featured several policy related sessions that can be accessed on-demand here including: 

  • General Session Criminal Justice Panel 
  • Collaborative Solutions in Supporting Latinx Mental Health in North Texas and Beyond 
  • Challenges and Opportunities for Tribal and Rural Education Post Pandemic
  • Two Rivers Named Colorado: Collective (and Urgent Responses) to Protecting the Colorado River Basin
  • A Conversation Between Two Health Philanthropy Funders 

Other policy sessions included a Washington policy update featuring Josh Dickson, a White House staffer, a civic participation session offering a perspective from Oklahoma State Senator Lonnie Paxton (R- District 23) to discuss state redistricting public engagement efforts, and a child welfare session on family support centers including the Oklahoma Secretary of Human Services & Early Childhood Initiatives Justin Brown. The conference ended with the Celebration of Philanthropy which included virtual remarks from U.S. Senator James Lankford and an in-person message from Oklahoma City’s Mayor David Holt. Both elected leaders discussed the importance of public-private partnerships and role of philanthropy in supporting communities. 

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