Foundations and charities face a pivotal moment.

In July, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the America Gives More Act (H.R. 4719) with a bipartisan vote of 277 to 130. Now it needs to pass the Senate. I signed 100 letters to the members of the U.S. Senate urging them to act quickly and pass the America Gives More Act, because it will give individuals and private foundations the certainty that allows for more charitable giving.


The America Gives More Act makes permanent three important provisions that have been part of the “extenders package” for a number of years. Though they are proven to increase giving and have broad bipartisan support, it’s become the norm for Congress to allow these provisions to expire, then retroactively reinstate them. This inconsistency from Congress leaves donors uncertain of how much they can contribute.

The bill addresses this uncertainty in three key areas:

  • Gifts from IRA distributions (referred to as the “IRA charitable rollover”) where generous donors are directing their mandatory distributions directly to charity.
  • Gifts of property, specifically conservation easements, which are complicated transactions that can take more than a year to plan and execute.
  • Gifts of food inventory, which are often perishable and so demand quick action.

The bill also simplifies the convoluted tax on private foundation net investment income.  In its current, two-tier form, the tax actually discourages private foundations from making extraordinary gifts, especially late in the fiscal year. End-of-year contributions for unplanned needs, such as natural disasters or drastic economic decline, can throw off future year tax calculations. It’s an unnecessary administrative burden. Simplifying this tax structure frees foundations from complicated calculations so that they can address real, urgent needs in their communities.

What’s more, the bill extends the deadline for claiming charitable contributions from December 31 to April 15 of the following year. Supporters of this provision cite that this timing shift would increase charitable giving.

The permanent IRA charitable rollover and simplified private foundation excise tax are long standing policy priorities for the Council on Foundations. We have worked for more than a decade alongside our colleagues in the field to advance these measures, and now we are closer than ever to seeing them become law. Along with others in the field – from national colleagues and regional associations to networks of charities and individual foundations – we remain committed to seeing this through.

The strong bipartisan alignment around this bill is rare these days in Washington. The vote in the House showed that both Democrats and Republicans understand the importance of supporting charitable giving. Still, this uncommon consensus is at risk of being undermined by Washington gridlock.

It is time for the Senate to act. I strongly encourage Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidGraham signals support for confirming a Supreme Court nominee this year Trump signals he will move to replace Ginsburg 'without delay' Senate Republicans signal openness to working with Biden MORE, Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMomentum growing among Republicans for Supreme Court vote before Election Day Trump expects to nominate woman to replace Ginsburg next week Video of Lindsey Graham arguing against nominating a Supreme Court justice in an election year goes viral MORE and their colleagues to bring H.R. 4719 to a floor vote in September.

The America Gives More Act ensures that nonprofits are supported by Washington and not constrained by outdated policies. I am speaking out with my colleagues in the field, to urge the Senate to act as soon as possible to support philanthropy in America.

Spruill is president and CEO of the Council on Foundations.