Our public policy work is essential to supporting our network members and strengthening and growing philanthropic and nonprofit work in Iowa. Over the past several years, the ICoF has strengthened our public policy processes and engagement, guided by the direction of the ICoF Public Policy Committee and Board of Directors, and in partnership with our policy partners at United Philanthropy Forum. We actively engage in public policy at the state and federal levels on behalf of our members. Additionally, we provide member education about advocacy and lobbying and inform our members with policy alerts if they wish to engage on any specific issues on their own. These activities and outcomes help us deliver on two of our strategic priorities:
- To increase philanthropic awareness in Iowa; and
- To increase impact through our members’ work.
Our Public Policy Goals
- Education of policymakers about the nature and importance of the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors.
- Supportive tax policy for private foundations and public charities.
- Preservation of charitable deductions and strengthened tax policy supports for nonprofit organizations.
- Effective management and governance of foundations and corporate giving programs.
- Necessity of an advocacy role for the philanthropic and nonprofit community.
Guided by our public policy goals, the ICoF Public Policy Committee and Board of Directors annually develop and approve a Public Policy Agenda to direct our work around specific priorities and emerging issues in the sector. You can review the 2023 ICoF Public Policy Agenda here. Members can find additional details about our federal policy priorities for Foundations on the Hill in our members-only FOTH resources.
As a result of our efforts, and the collaborative efforts of the entire field, the following public policy outcomes have been achieved:
- Repeal of UBIT tax on nonprofit fringe benefits
- Simplification of the Private Foundation Excise Tax to a revenue-neutral, flat 1.39%
- Inclusion of a $300 above-the-line deduction in the CARES Act and extension of that, including $600 per couple, through 2021.
- Creation of the 2020 Iowa Nonprofit Recovery Fund.
- Effective sector advocacy with Congressional offices securing second round PPP.
- Language change in Iowa SSB 1082 to add protections for the charitable sector and attorneys working in good faith with elderly clients on estate planning matters.
How to Engage
ICoF members are invited to participate in Foundations on the Hill (FOTH) each spring, which is presented by United Philanthropy Forum, the Council on Foundations and Independent Sector. During FOTH, participants engage in public policy programming and also meet with each of Iowa’s members of Congress.
As part of the Iowa Community Foundations Initiative, ICoF annually hosts a Legislative Breakfast at the State Capitol. Community foundation participants talk with legislators about the important role community foundations play in Iowa and the benefits of both the Endow Iowa tax credit and County Endowment Fund programs.
If you are interested in learning more, joining the ICoF Public Policy Committee or attending a public policy event, please contact us.
ICoF Public Policy Committee
- Nicole Brua-Behrens, Executive Director, Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation
- Kaye Englin, President & CEO, Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa
- Les Garner, President & CEO, Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation
- Suzanne Heckenlaible, Executive Director, Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation
- Beth Jones, Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation
- Matt Mendenhall, President & CEO, Regional Development Authority
- Jaimie Miller, Executive Director, Iowa Credit Union Foundation
- Carrie Rankin, Associate Director, Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council
- Charla Schafer, Executive Director, Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine
- Denise Swartz, Senior Program Officer, Mid-Iowa Health Foundation
- Karla Twedt-Ball, Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation
- Liz Zuercher, Executive Director, Story County Community Foundation