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‘Donald Trump zou The Giving Pledge moeten tekenen...'

23 november 2016, 14:00
‘Donald Trump zou The Giving Pledge moeten tekenen...'
‘Donald Trump zou The Giving Pledge moeten tekenen...'
Terwijl non-profits in de Verenigde Staten proberen uit te vinden wat de verkiezing van Trump tot president precies betekent, schieten veel leiders nu al in de verdediging. Ze proberen het grootste deel van hun aftrekbare giften te beschermen tegen de komst van de nieuwe ultraconservatieve regering. Tom Watson, directeur van consultancybureau Caused Wired, biedt in The Chronicle of Philanthropy een alternatief advies: ga in de aanval. Lees hieronder de reden van zijn advies.
 
Even as we look nervously to the transition of an unprecedented kind of president and a potentially difficult administration, let us start a national discussion on nonprofit policy and lead a resurgence in respect, engagement, and resources toward the causes that Americans support with billions of charitable dollars each year. No American president has ever treated U.S. nonprofits as a single major sphere. But it’s time for that to change, so let’s challenge President Trump to do so. And if he fails to work with nonprofits fairly, let’s use everything we have (within the boundaries of the tax code) to resist.
 
The stakes are so high. The nonprofit world is huge. It has been growing and taking on ever more of the burden of providing an American social safety net, especially in areas where government has either pulled back or proven ineffective. Nonprofits took in more than $938 billion and contributed more than 5 percent of GDP, the Urban Institute reports.
 
Nonprofits are also a major source of U.S. employment. They account for 11.4 million jobs nationally (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics), and 10.3 percent of all private employment nationwide. So that means 1 in 10 people who don’t work for government agencies work for a nonprofit. And that number has been growing: In 2007, nonprofit employment was 9.2 percent, up almost 900,000 jobs. Supporting nonprofits means supporting job growth.
 
Nonprofits’ Roles
Among the steps nonprofits, the administration, and the public should take:
 
Define what we want nonprofits to be and how they should operate. While government is happy to collaborate with nonprofits, including those working in human services, education, and health care, there is little national cheerleading for the hundreds of millions of donors who give every year.
Mr. Trump will take office at a time when nonprofits find themselves under attack, especially in the context of our hyperpartisan national politics. From Planned Parenthood to Black Lives Matter, we’ve seen the effects of these attacks on organizations both large and small. We are also challenged by the effects of dark-money alliances that use lax nonprofit regulation and enforcement to skirt legal intent. This demands a national discussion about what being a nonprofit means, including the distinctions among charities, religious groups, and nonprofits engaged in lobbying and political action.
So, too, does the rise of donor-advised funds, which may democratize and broaden charitable giving recognized by the tax code while at the same time tying up vast quantities of philanthropic capital. I’m sure no policy maker ever consciously envisioned the day when Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund — essentially a financial vehicle — would be the nation’s largest charity.

Build trust and transparency. We must also recognize the looming crisis of trust between the public and American nonprofits over the issue of transparency and accountability. The election season that just passed and the political haggling over what constitutes legitimate philanthropy put the idea of transparency — and the clear contrast between the charitable work of the two candidates — squarely in the spotlight. The IRS lacks real review and enforcement ability, and while beefing up that oversight would not be popular with most nonprofits, it may well be needed.
The privilege of leading and working at a private enterprise in America that doesn’t pay taxes cannot be taken lightly. However, it’s also true that nonprofits are not required to report as much data as some transparency experts advocate. Given the combination, it’s time for a review of how tax-exempt organizations report expenses, income, and social impact.
 
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