Recently, I served as part of the Foundations on the Hill 2023 team in Washington, D.C. This annual event is an opportunity for Council of Michigan Foundations member philanthropists to visit Capitol Hill and share the power of philanthropy in their communities. Our legislators see the charitable sector as a key partner in serving community needs and initiatives. Community foundations in particular are viewed as neutral partners who have excellent data and work closely with grantees, community leaders, and citizens to solve problems.

During the event, teams were devised to meet with various regional representatives. For our area, we met with Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, as well as Congressmen John Moolenaar and Bill Huizenga. In addition, we met with two Treasury representatives to talk about reverse scholarships and charitable tax credit issues. Reverse scholarships can be a tool for talent attraction and retention and address student loan reduction as a means to entice young people to return to their home communities to live and work.

Foundations on the Hill 2023 promoted restoration of the charitable tax credit for donations and asked that the federal government not require “spend downs” of donor advised funds. In addition, we promoted the value of the charitable sector as a key to addressing community problems and leading initiatives. Council of Michigan Foundations had the largest delegation of foundation leaders as part of the United Philanthropy Forum.

On a personal note, between briefings and meetings, we enjoyed a visit to the Capitol, but I highly recommend anyone traveling to Washington, D.C. visit the Library of Congress. It has breathtaking architecture and history!