The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Chris Fleming, Red Horse Strategies, 202-631-0929,
Kindred Motes, Wallace Global Fund, 646-713-8985,
Sam Quigley, Patriotic Millionaires, 317-752-9150,
Bob Keener, Institute for Policy Studies, 617-610-6766,

Include Emergency Charity Stimulus in First 100 Days to Unlock $200 Billion for Charities at No Cost to Taxpayers, Urges Coalition Memo to Biden Transition Team

Stockpiled Charitable Funds Totaling $1.2 Trillion Would Distribute 10% for 3 Years Under the Proposal


A coalition of nonprofit groups has sent a memo to President-elect Biden's transition team, urging it to include an emergency charity stimulus in Biden's first 100 days agenda. The proposal, endorsed by over 550 philanthropists and leaders of foundations and several thousand nonprofit organizations, leaders and staff, would unlock $200 billion in charitable funds to assist charities overwhelmed by the pandemic - at no additional cost to taxpayers.

The memo from the Charity Reform Initiative of the Institute for Policy Studies, the Wallace Global Fund, and Patriotic Millionaires explains that private foundations and donor-advised funds (DAFs) would be required to release more of the estimated $1.2 trillion they currently hold, and for which tax deductions have already been taken. The proposal would increase the required distributions to 10 percent annually for three years.

The memo states, in part, "As Congress works to come to agreement on the size of a new COVID relief package, a straightforward proposal can send $200 billion over the next three years to struggling nonprofits at no cost at all to taxpayers and the Treasury. This far exceeds new donations that might be incentivized through the above-the-line charitable deductions included in the CARES Act or now proposed by Leader McConnell." It also says, "The money will come from funds stockpiled by donors who have already taken tax deductions."

The groups first proposed the idea for an Emergency Charity Stimulus in May with a letter to Congress. The letter has now been signed by more than 550 philanthropists and leaders of foundations and several thousand nonprofit organizations, leaders and staff.

The proposal contains the following measures: 1) Mandating a temporary doubling of private foundation payout from 5 percent to 10 percent for three years, and 2) Establishing a similar 10 percent payout for donor-advised funds (DAFs) that currently have no payout mandate.

Researchers at the Institute for Policy Studies estimate these policies would unleash $200 billion in additional charity funds over three years. The independent nonprofit sector is part of the front-line response to the pandemic and other natural disasters such as forest fires and hurricanes. The sector employs 12 million workers or more than 10 percent of the private workforce. A recent report predicts that as many as 38 percent of non-profit organizations may close as a result of the pandemic.

According to the memo, "While foundations and donors responded strongly to the COVID crisis, that funding is now dropping off sharply, even though the markets - and foundation assets - have rebounded to again reach record highs. Charities and nonprofits across the spectrum have suffered staggering job losses and closures, and their recovery is much, much more tenuous: a recent report found that employment in the sector remained down nearly one million jobs, one third of those in health care. As states are now forced to slash their budgets, nonprofit social service agencies dependent on public funding are seeing their own funding threatened even as demands on them rise steadily."

About the Charity Reform Initiative

The Charity Reform Initiative of the Institute for Policy Studies aims to modernize the rules governing philanthropy to increase the flow of resources to the nonprofit independent sector and protect the integrity of the tax system.

About the Patriotic Millionaires

The Patriotic Millionaires are high-net worth Americans, business leaders, and investors who are united in their concern about the destabilizing concentration of wealth and power in America. The mission of The Patriotic Millionaires organization is to build a more stable, prosperous, and inclusive nation by promoting public policies based on the "first principles" of equal political representation, a guaranteed living wage for all working citizens, and a fair tax system.

About the Wallace Global Fund

The mission of the Wallace Global Fund is to support people-powered movements to advance democracy and rights and to fight for a healthy planet.

The Patriotic Millionaires is a group of high-net worth Americans who share a profound concern about the destabilizing level of inequality in America. Our work centers on the two things that matter most in a capitalist democracy: power and money. Our goal is to ensure that the country's political economy is structured to meet the needs of regular Americans, rather than just millionaires. We focus on three "first" principles: a highly progressive tax system, a livable minimum wage, and equal political representation for all citizens.

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